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August 3, 2011

Springfield Task Force: “Diversity” Education for Homeschoolers

Whenever an agency makes plans to bring government-style education to the homeschool community, it’s time to pay attention.

In March, 2010, a group called The Task Force for the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations published a strategic plan to promote “diversity,” including sexual orientation and gender identity. One of their many ambitious goals for Springfield was to create programs to teach “diversity” to students, specifically including homeschoolers. (See Page 22 of the Commmission’s 2010 Strategic Plan.)

They envisioned creating partnerships with homeschool organizations to increase homeschooled children’s “sensitivity” to the values and concerns of “diverse” groups. They believed this would help keep children from becoming “stagnant” to new ideas. The group’s plans were similar for public and private school students.

The task force disbanded shortly after the city council gave the strategic plan its nod of approval. The sponsor of the task force, the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations (MCHRCR), continues to operate.

The MCHCR is currently well in check because its staff and budget are approximately nil. But families should pay close attention since the future might bring more money and staff, which could allow them to implement the strategic plan.

The MCHCR has no authority to force you to teach anything. However, they could promote the task force’s goals through free activities, books, programs, etc.—without telling parents the true agenda.

We encourage families to keep track of what is going on in city government. Volunteering to be on one of the city’s many citizen task forces, for example, could help you stay informed about any efforts to implement the strategic plan.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff has written a letter to the chairman of the MCHRCR asking him to remove any references to homeschooling from the strategic plan.