Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shiny thing alert! Shiny thing alert!


No! Don't click it! Wait! Come baaaaaaaaack!

Well, I tried. To those of you who have no idea what the hell I am talking about, welcome to the insider politics of homeschooling. For the rest of you, I think we know what we're up against.

It seems that while Scott was busy defisking HoNDA at CODs place, Section 522 was getting settled into its new digs in the hopper as part of HR 1815, courtesy of HSLDA. I hear it's enjoying the view of the Oval Office from the President's desk right about now.

Newbie translation: HSLDA wrote a bill that was homeschool specific alleging that it would help eliminate discrimination in universities and the military against homeschoolers. While it was in committee, we regulatory opponents thought we'd successfully killed it (again. First time was in 2003). In the meantime, HSLDA had slipped the military section of HoNDA into a 700+page long defense bill. We were distracted and didn't pick up on it until it was too late. Now that bill will pass with a section granting homeschoolers special status (click here to see why that's a bad thing).

As a result, several homeschoolers who firmly believe that ANY federal regulation regarding home education is a threat to that freedom in this country have decided to band together. The goal is to help streamline communication and align our resources so that this kind of thing doesn't sneak up on us again. Similarly, homeschoolers in Mississippi who realize that we are the only people who can truly protect our rights are organizing on a statewide level.

I think it is very important to note that neither of these is an anti-HSLDA effort. Our common goal is to secure and safeguard our freedom to homeschool by opposing state and federal legislation that will directly or indirectly place limits those rights. Since HSLDA writes federal legislation that puts homeschoolers in the crosshairs of the federal government, we are--by the very nature of our actions--working against each other. That's an irrefutable, undeniable fact of reality.

Because homeschoolers tend to be opinionated cusses, we argue a lot amongst ourselves. We push each others' buttons and get personal. However, when it counts--just like family--we come together and we get it done.

Unless we get distracted.

And there's the rub. Some people are very crafty at orchestrating distractions (shiny things, as someone recently called them). Others wear their personal causes on their sleeves and dare their allies to insult them, resulting in a feud that diverts attention, energy and resources from an already precarious attempt to this effort aiming to provide solutions to issues that plague us all.

I'm not into issuing ultimatums, but I will say this. If you're not part of the solution, you're contributing to the problem. Suck it up, people. Get over yourselves and think about what's at stake. Choose your friends and allies carefully, because--to continue the analogy that got this most recent mess started--the fox is in the hen house. And he's not looking for eggs.

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