From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


12/23/2002 12:29:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Weekly Update--A Christmas Message From Michael Smith

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

Editor's Note: Due to the Christmas holidays, our next Weekly Update
will go out January 7, 2003.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

As we wind down the year 2002, I want to thank each one of you for
your encouragement and support of Home School Legal Defense
Association. By joining HSLDA, you're allowing us to continue our
mission to expand and protect the freedom of parents who choose home

This year, we have grown to our largest membership base ever. This
means we can do more to help families across the United States. Our
staff has helped thousands of families with legal contacts and other
home education related issues throughout this year. We will continue
to defend each legal contact with all the knowledge and zeal we have
acquired over the last 20 years. Without your support, however, we
would be unable to provide this service.

As we look ahead to 2003, we look forward to another great year in
advancing freedoms. In states like Pennsylvania and New York where
homeschoolers face strict regulations, we will continue to push for
more freedom in the legislature and courts. We will continue to
oppose efforts in the various state legislatures where attempt are
made to reel back homschool freedoms. We will continue to fight
legislation making kindergarten mandatory, like in the District of
Columbia where the DC Council attempted to make public school
attendance mandatory for children as young as three.

In addition to issues on the state level, unintentionally
discriminate against students who are being homeschooled. We are
currently preparing legislation to address these programs in one
piece of legislation. These issues include the Higher Education Act
(HEA), discrimination against homeschoolers seeking financial aid for
college; Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA), which
protects the privacy of records of public school students but not the
records of homeschoolers held by the school; Education Savings
Accounts (ESA), which are only available for homeschoolers who happen
to live in one of the 14 states where homeschoolers are considered
private schools under state law. HSLDA will also be engaging in the
reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act
(CAPTA), where we will further advocate protecting the rights of
parents subjected to social services investigations.

At HSLDA we are constantly looking for ways to better demonstrate the
positive aspects of home education and refute the often negative
rhetoric about homeschoolers. Toward that end, we have commissioned a
research project with the National Home Education Research Institute
(NHERI) for 2003. HSLDA will be working with Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI
to conduct a major study of adults who were home educated, examining
their civic, social, and educational success. This will be the first
study of its kind of homeschoolers in America.

On behalf of the Board and staff at HSLDA, I want to extend to you
and your family best wishes for a blessed Christmas season We look
forward to serving you again next year, and for many years to come If
you ever fail to receive excellent service from us, I want to
encourage you to contact me directly so that I can address the
problem. All of you are part of our family at HSLDA and we strive to
treat you that way.

May you have a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Very truly yours,

J. Michael Smith
President of HSLDA

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Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733

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