January 17, 2003

Idaho Homeschoolers Under Fire

Last year homeschoolers weathered a media attack against homeschooling and cries for restrictive legislation. The Idaho homeschoolers contacted their elected officials in droves preventing legislation from being even introduced that would harm homeschooling.

This year it is apparent that the attack is beginning all over again. On January 9, 2003, Representative Wendy Jaquet indicated publicly in the Idaho Mountain Express that she plans to "introduce bills to ensure testing and registration for children who are homeschooled."

A few weeks earlier, the Lewiston Tribune had a lengthy article on homeschooling that began by saying, "Senator Gary Schroeder of Moscow remembers a couple of years ago when a young man who had recently enrolled at Lewis-Clark State College stopped by his Moscow office. He said, 'Senator Schroeder, don't let other parents do to their kids what my parents did to me.' The young man had been homeschooled most of his life and he realized when he got to college that he was not adequately prepared, recalls the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee." The article continues by stating: "Nearly every school superintendent in the region could relay a similar story."

On January 7, the Lewiston Tribune published an editorial by Jim Fisher which stated: "How many uneducated Idaho kids-who knows?" He states in his article, "Some children who are supposedly being homeschooled are receiving inadequate or nonexistent schooling. Not only isn't Idaho doing anything about that, it doesn't even know who those children are."

Last year, Maxine Riggers, a teacher in Nez-Perce, began pressuring the Education Committee to get a bill passed to restrict homeschooling. No doubt her efforts, joined with both the mounting pressure in the press and the concerns of the Senate Schroeder, threaten homeschool freedom once again in Idaho.

Home School Legal Defense Association is prepared once again to "head it off at the pass." Last year, HSLDA did a number of e-lerts to Idaho member urging them to contact the Education Committee and to write letters to local newspapers. Presently, HSLDA is conferring with Barry Peters of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators for the best strategy. Peters has contacted Representative Jaquet to see if she is willing to abandon her plans to introduce a bill that would restrict homeschooling.

For more information on this issue as it develops be watching for future e-lerts from HSLDA. Urge your friends to subscribe to HSLDA's E-lert Service (http://www.hslda.org/elert/) and the email service of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators (http://www.iche-idaho.org).