Monday, June 20, 2005

With friends like these...

Let me preface this by saying that I understand that a lot of people in my neck of the woods think HSLDA is wonderful. I happen to disagree. Always have. Here is yet another example as to why:

Help PW County VA Protect Homeschool Freedom!

Dear Fellow Homeschoolers,

Homeschoolers in Prince William County, Virginia, need your help to protect homeschool freedom! For more than a year and a half, a grassroots coalition of local homeschoolers in PW County has been working with the school board to improve the division's regulations--including elimination of the onerous "approval before removal" clause that imposes a 3-day waiting period on parents who wish to remove a child from school to begin homeschooling. But now that our efforts have resulted in a peace accord, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is trying to charge in and revert us back to the awful regulation!

The new regulation is on the consent agenda for the June 22, 2005 Prince William County Schools (PWCS) board meeting. This means that the school board will unanimously accept the better regulation, along with other pre-approved items, through a single vote. [See County relaxing home-school restriction]

Elimination of the approval before removal (3-day waiting period) clause is a major accomplishment that one longtime Virginia homeschool activist called "a smashing victory" in this historically punitive county. HSLDA's counterproductive actions threaten to ruin a year's worth of work and goodwill building.

At the 11th hour, HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff is -without conferring with the homeschoolers who live in the county-insisting that the new regulation be removed from the consent agenda, preserving the current regulation, with its 3-day waiting period! If this occurs, the bad regulation will remain on the books for an undetermined period of time, putting us back to square one. Months of additional policy committee meetings and board meetings would pass before this issue could come to resolution again. Meanwhile PWCS staff would continue to use the bad regulation to harass parents who are trying to exercise their legal right to homeschool.

Many people on both sides have worked to create a better relationship between homeschoolers and PWCS, and at the height of its success, HSLDA's actions threaten to subvert honest effort and bridge-building, leaving a mess for the local homeschooling community to clean up.

If you object to Home School Legal Defense Association's running roughshod over local homeschoolers' cooperative efforts and you would like to take a few minutes to let HSLDA know, you can call HSLDA's main switchboard, e-mail their main address or the president, send them a FAX, call the central office, and/or e-mail Scott Woodruff directly. Here is the contact information:

Home School Legal Defense Association
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733
President Mike Smith:
Attorney Scott Woodruff:

Thanks for caring!

Shay Seaborne
Founder/Facilitator, FOLC Eclectic Homeschoolers of PW County

I don't wish to distract from this important issue by editorializing further. However, I will say this. In the state of Mississippi, HSLDA is revered as the be-all-end-all of homeschool legislative knowledge. Folks, they are not. Often they do more harm than good. Save yourself $120.

Now, excuse me. I have a phone call to make...

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