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Florida pursues home schoolers by offering money in exchange for government oversight

Florida pursues home schoolers by offering money in exchange for government oversight

More Hispanics in California are homeschooling their children. History here.

Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Florida lawmakers have introduced a new bill that could become a nationwide plan for how states deal with parents who choose to homeschool their children, opting out of the system.

As many families struggle financially to have a spouse stay out of the workforce to educate their children, Florida is introducing a bill that will provide funding to these families.

But that opens the door to letting the Government into your home and have a say in how you raise your children.

As Alex Newman, who lives in Florida, reports, this is NOT a good idea, and homeschool families and organizations should absolutely oppose this bill and any others that appear in other states.

FL Bill offers government cash to families who give up educational freedom

for Alex Newman
The Newman Report

Florida lawmakers are considering a major bill that would offer government funding to home schoolers and families with children in private school, but with a major catch that has critics alarmed. The controversy: Once parents accept public money, they will give up much of their educational freedom and independence. A battle is already being fought.

The legislation, known as House Bill 1, requires parents who receive public funding to take government-approved tests each year. Because the tests drive the curriculum and many (if not all) of the tests are aligned with the politically toxic Common Core, critics warn the bill would force many homeschoolers and private school students back into the system government from which they fled.

Another major concern with the bill among education freedom advocates is a mandate requiring families receiving the funding to meet annually with a so-called “Choice Navigator.” While the precise nature of the job remains unclear, the “navigators” will determine each child’s alleged “educational needs” and then work with parents to ensure those “needs” are met.

State and national homeschool leaders have already sounded the alarm about the problems in emails to their members. Right now they are working mostly behind the scenes to address concerns and potentially remove homeschooling families from the legislation entirely. For now, families who do not take the money would not be affected.

“FPEA believes that homeschooling programs should remain privately funded and free,” Florida Parent Educator Association President Suzanne Nunn said in an email alert. “While we understand the need for oversight of government money, House Bill 1 will significantly involve homeschooling programs in that oversight.”

Among other suggestions, the FPEA, which represents Florida’s homeschooling families, is calling for parents who take government money and homeschool to be considered an entirely separate category under the law. The group works with the Home School Legal Defense Association, a national powerhouse that represents hundreds of thousands of families. He has also expressed great concerns.

Aside from the taxpayer-funded option known as the Family Empowerment Grant (FES) that would be expanded, the bill also provides for grants through nonprofit groups funded by tax credits. Legal experts have warned that government money will almost inevitably come with “strings”, while private funding facilitated by tax credits would be more conducive to preserving educational freedom.

Several Tallahassee sources who spoke to The Newman Report acknowledged the concerns. But so far, none of the concerns have been addressed with amendments. Some changes are being planned for the coming weeks. Lawmakers generally expect the bill to pass, though several forces are working to change it.

Republicans have a supermajority in the Florida legislature, where teachers unions have relatively limited influence compared to more liberal states and districts. Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed support for measures to help families transition out of public schools, but so far has not swayed HB1.

Efforts by lawmakers, churches and others to help families escape increasingly out-of-control government schools are to be commended. As The Newman Report has documented for years, stupidity, sexualization, and indoctrination are an existential threat to America. However, efforts must never come at the expense of educational freedom.

An exodus is already underway. Millions of families have fled in recent years, and millions more will leave in the coming years. Lawmakers in Florida and across the country must avoid anything that would undermine the educational freedom and independence of the state’s private schools and the highly successful homeschooling community.

Read the full article at The Newman Report.

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Posted on February 17, 2023

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