By Brittany Jones, an attorney and Policy Manager for Family Policy Alliance
Parents, not faceless government officials, have the fundamental right and solemn duty to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Clear and simple. This is not only a guiding legal principle in our country, it is a reality lived out by parents every day—because only parents can truly know their children and make decisions in their children’s best interest that will set them up for the best future possible.
Directing a child’s education about the world, academics, and faith is the most important duty of a parent. Because children typically spend 7-8 hours of their day in an education setting, the influence of that environment fundamentally influences children culturally, socially, and spiritually.
This means that parents must be free to choose a method of education that best aligns with their faith and and their child’s learning style. When parents are free to do this, they are creating the best foundation for their children to grow into a wide-open future and providing them the fuel to explore God’s unique calling in their lives.
Thankfully, there’s a growing variety of educational choices for parents, though some states are more friendly when it comes to meeting families’ education needs than others. The education method this article focuses on is homeschooling.
As you may know, Tim Tebow—the Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion quarterback—was homeschooled. But thankfully for him, he lived in Florida, where home schoolers are allowed to play sports on public school teams. Had he lived just a bit further over on the Georgia side of the state line, for example, he wouldn’t have had this opportunity.
Family Policy Alliance supports a policy that’s become known as a “Tebow Law,” a law in the majority of states that ensures children who are homeschooled have the same opportunity to access public school extracurricular activities as other children. We believe that a child’s learning style and academic needs should never prevent her from participating in skill-building extracurricular activities. States like Georgia, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Kansas still deny homeschoolers this access. Unfortunately, “Tebow Bills” in both Georgia and Kansas this year never even made it out of committee. There is still a chance in West Virginia and Hawaii for their bills to be passed.
Tebow Laws create a small opportunity for children now that can lead to a big future.
In addition to supporting good laws that expand opportunities and choices for children who are homeschooled, Family Policy Alliance and our state-based family policy council allies fight against bad bills that would limit those choices.
Recently in Hawaii, homeschoolers rallied to defeat a bill that would have allowed a school superintendent to deny parents the ability to homeschool their children. Hundreds of homeschoolers turned out to testify in opposition to the bill. Eva Andrade, President of Hawaii Family Forum, our allied group in Hawaii, shared how families came together to defeat this bad bill:
“Something powerful happens when faith-based homeschoolers come together and raise their voices. Not only were the legislators amazed at the turnout, they could not silence the articulate and passionate voices of families in the trenches that do this important work every day. It was an honor to stand in their shadow.”
God calls and equips parents to raise up their children according to His Word. And we also know that God has a unique calling in every child’s life. Our heart at Family Policy Alliance is to partner with godly parents to help them see good bills passed in their state that will increase opportunities for children and protect the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
If you agree that giving children have a wide-open future and the fuel to explore God’s calling in their life is best for every child in your state, and every state, we hope you’ll consider partnering with us.