August 7, 2003

Congress Asks for Equitable Treatment of Homeschoolers in the State Department

Along with signatures from seven other United States Representatives, Congressman Mike Pence (R-6-IN) sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday, August 6, urging Mr. Powell to consider the needs of State Department employees who homeschool abroad. This letter is timely given that the State Department is in the mist of redrafting many of their internal policies and regulations. The letter follows a meeting earlier this year between HSLDA and the State Department.

Under the current regulations, State Department employees usually have several methods of education to choose from for their children-state school, private school or homeschool. Most choose private schools, but a growing number of these public servants are choosing to homeschool their children. Unfortunately, State Department allowances for educational expenses have not kept up with current education trends. If an employee chooses to send their child to private school, there are more items and expenses that they are reimbursed for compared to homeschool expenses.

In order to help eliminate this inequality between allowable homeschool and private school expenses, Congressman Pence, a member of the House International Relations Committee, sent a letter urging the State Department to consider the equitable treatment of homeschool employees while redrafting their education regulation. Other Congressmen who signed the letter were Todd Akin (MO-2nd), John Hostettler (IN-8th), Jim Ryun (KS-2nd), Mark Souder (IN-3rd), Don Manzullo (IL-16th), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4th), and Joe Pitts (PA-16th).

"By changing their policies toward homeschooling employees, the State Department will catch up with an educational trend that is here to stay," said Caleb Kershner, the National Center for Home Education's Manager of Federal Policy and Research. "The legitimacy of the homeschooling movement has already been acknowledged by Congress, the White House, and the Department of Education."

HSLDA thanks Representative Pence and his staff for their hard work on behalf of homeschoolers.