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8/24/2006 3:28:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Mexico--Distance Education Academy Bad Deal for Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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August 24, 2006

New Mexico--Distance Education Academy Bad Deal for Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

New Mexico homeschoolers were surprised to receive an announcement
from "IDEA of New Mexico," (www.idea-nm.org). IDEA-NM offers a "fresh
approach of mutual trust among parents and schools in New Mexico"
along with a computer, Internet access, free testing, online
curriculum, and up a $1,000 to be used on "non-doctrinal" educational
materials. HSLDA recommends against enrolling your children in this
program for the following reasons:

1. If you enroll in this program, you will no longer be considered a
private homeschooler, and you will not be eligible for membership in
the Home School Legal Defense Association. Our goal at HSLDA is to
protect the right of parents to privately homeschool free from
government controls and restrictions. Online charter schools are
tax-funded, government programs with legitimate government controls
and limitations.

2. IDEA-NM is a public school. If you enroll your children in IDEA-NM
to receive your free curriculum and computer, your children will no
longer be considered private homeschool students, but rather public
school students. This means you waive certain parental rights and
agree to homeschool according to the public school's rules. In other
states with similar "virtual" charter school programs, HSLDA has
observed that more and more regulations are gradually placed on the
enrolled homeschooling family each year. If the family does not comply
with the regulations, the "virtual" school will demand return of the
computer, curriculum, etc. Some families who have dis-enrolled have
even been turned into the local child welfare agency. Homeschoolers
who become dependent on the "free" government equipment and funds find
that their freedom is gradually exchanged for these "freebies."

3. HSLDA is opposed to IDEA-NM (and similar "virtual charter schools"
appearing around the country) because when parents who enroll in such
programs they waive the rights that many people in the state, in this
case including CAPE-NM and Home School Legal Defense Association, have
fought hard to preserve. The government does not offer "free goodies"
without obligation. A look at the IDEA-NM website proves this point.
Participants trade in homeschool freedom for state and national
curriculum standards, certified teachers, standardized testing, etc.

4. Despite the rhetoric, IDEA-NM is a secular program under the
"exclusive control of the state." The New Mexico Constitution says,
"The schools, colleges, universities and other educational
institutions provided for by this constitution shall forever remain
under the exclusive control of the state...." N.M. Const. art. XII,
sec. 3. IDEA-NM lists hundreds of vendors on their website, but we
only recognize six that carry any religious materials.

IDEA-NM enrollment is not the free, private homeschooling that has
been so successful for many years. It is simply an attempt by the
government to create small public schools in our homes.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON CHARTER SCHOOLS

For more information on similar programs, please read the articles on
charter schools that have appeared in HSLDA's Home School Court Report
and on our website, including "Charter Schools: The Price is Too High"
by Christopher J. Klicka at
http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V18N1/V18N101.asp .

We encourage all HSLDA members to preserve the blessings of liberty,
not trade it in for limited secular benefits under the exclusive
control of the State.

Sincerely,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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-> How long are you in for?

Some families are facing what seems like a lifelong commitment to
homeschooling, with children at both ends of the spectrum -- some
graduating and some just reaching school age. If you're going to
be "in" for a while, consider a lifetime membership with HSLDA.
It's a good deal for families with more than 10 years of
homeschooling ahead.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1936

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