By Roy Hanson, Jr.
Homeschooling has come a long way in the past quarter of a century.
In 1980, home schooling was illegal in 30 states. In 1983, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) was founded by attorneys Michael Farris and J. Michael Smith to help the growing number of homeschoolers who were facing legal challenges throughout the Nation.
In 1985, the Dejonges, a homeschooling family in Michigan, had truancy charges filed against them because they were not certified teachers, as was required at that time by Michigan law. HSLDA defended the Dejonge family all the way through the Michigan courts until HSLDA obtained a successful ruling from the state Supreme Court in 1993. That was when the Michigan Supreme Court finally overturned the last remaining state law that required parents to be certified teachers in order to home school their children. This was a tremendous success for the Dejonges and for every homeschooling family in Michigan and throughout America.
Because of HSLDA’s relentless work in this and other battles, homeschooling has been legal in all 50 states since 1993.
In 1994, an amendment to federal legislation (H.R. 6) would have required all homeschooling parents in America to be certified in order to teach their own children. As soon as HSLDA was warned by a Congressman of this dangerous amendment in Congress, HSLDA alerted all of their members throughout the country. As a result, the Capitol switchboards were completely shut down by telephone calls, and subsequently the teacher certification requirement was removed from the bill.
Members of HSLDA, and non-members alike, continue to benefit from HSLDA’s in-depth experience in working with and protecting private homeschoolers. For over a quarter of a century of work concentrated in the legal sphere of private home education, HSLDA has developed unequaled resources, and invaluable connections within and beyond the homeschooling community. These resources and lines of communication have helped to give HSLDA a long-term proven track record of successes in protecting private homeschooling freedoms and associated parental rights.
More recently, in 2008 here in California, private homeschooling came precariously close to being declared illegal by a California Appellate Court in Los Angeles. HSLDA had the experience, resources, knowledge, and expertise to immediately step up to the plate and successfully coordinate a complex legal strategy, which resulted in victory in the Jonathan L. court case. In August of 2008, after considering the written and oral arguments coordinated by HSLDA, this Appellate Court unanimously declared that California’s parents can homeschool legally as private schools.
God has blessed HSLDA with huge successes in California and across the Nation. No other organization comes close to providing the specialized and successful help for homeschoolers provided by HSLDA. They are the only legal defense association we can recommend to homeschooling parents desiring to protect their families and freedoms in homeschooling. We recommend them very highly.