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Deborah G. Stevenson
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Articles & Editorials




We are here to help you defend your legal right to educate your own child.


This is a right we always have had, but there are many ways today that the right is being threatened.


Our goal is to bring to you news about current events that may affect your right, and to assist you in determining how you can protect that right. 


Our motto is:  Knowledge through Freedom and Freedom through Knowledge.    What does that mean?


Knowledge through Freedom - our children are best able to learn according

                                                   to their needs when they have the freedom to

                                                   do so. 


Freedom through Knowledge - we can remain free only through knowledge

                                                  about how we obtained our freedom in the

                                                  first place, and knowledge about how we can

                                                  keep our freedom today.


Therefore, you will see articles and posts about home education, but also about current events, which, at first glance, do not directly affect home education, but which may have some potential to affect it in the long term.


We urge you, as always, to have an open mind about all information, and conduct your own research into each topic, article, post, entity, and individual involved. 


Some things may appear, at first glance, to be wonderful, but upon deeper review, may be extremely detrimental, now, or in the future.


Be on guard, be aware, share information appropriately, and together we will prevail. 













By Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson

April 7, 2020


     I am an attorney and a Mom.  I homeschooled two daughters, who are successful, intelligent, and socially thriving adults.  I have been advocating for freedom in educational choice, and the rights of parents, for more than thirty years.  I know what “homeschooling” is, and what parents all across the nation have been forced to do during this pandemic after public and private schools were shuttered, definitely is not “homeschooling”.  It is public school at home, or private school at home, under emergency quarantine-like conditions.  Please call it what it is.


     Why is it important to call it what it is?  It is important because the media, government officials, and the public need to understand that there is a clear distinction between public or private school at home, and true “homeschooling”.


     What is happening today is forced isolated public or private school at home.  This type of education means that the children remain “enrolled” in a public or private school, and the government, or the school, determines, and continues to control, the curricula, time, place, manner, and method of instruction of the children. What we traditionally have called “homeschooling” means that the children are not “enrolled” in any public or private school, and the parents determine, and continue to control, the curricula, time, place, manner, and method of instruction of their own children.  Those distinctions are extremely important and must not be blurred.  Otherwise, parents who are truly “homeschooling” may lose the ability to do so by the blurring of the labels, and may be mistakenly caught up in erroneous new laws, regulations, policies, or executive orders that may come about as we progress into the not so distant future, simply due to the mislabeling or misnomer.


     It is easy for parents, who have never experienced “homeschooling” to think of themselves, now, as “homeschoolers”, because they are home, and their children are doing school work.  Those parents may never have experienced the freedom to choose and implement a truly individualized education designed specifically to meet their own child’s needs, within the parameters of the subjects set by statute that are required to be instructed. The flexibility of curricula, materials, method, and time of instruction are what make true “homeschooling” unique, and what leads to the successful education of the child. True “homeschooling” is the choice, and responsibility, of parents for the education of their own children. True “homeschooling” means following the interests and abilities of the child. It means freedom and flexibility of time to search out materials, resources, and people in the community to assist in developing the interests and skill of the child, and to socialize and learn from community members of all backgrounds, ages, and skills, rather than socializing mainly with the same children, of the same age, for twelve years. True “homeschooling” means the freedom and time to learn by following and developing a child’s own interests and skills, rather than being told each day that they must learn, at a set time and place, the same materials, at the same time as all of the other children in the class.


     Many public and private school teachers strive incredibly hard to meet the individual needs of the children they teach, but they often are hampered by the “one size fits all” single curriculum, manner, method, time, and place of instruction per grade or class that they must implement.  That public or private school single curriculum, manner, method, time, and place of instruction may serve many students well, and it remains in place now during this pandemic. The only true difference during this pandemic is that the public or private school single curriculum is being implemented at the home of the children, by remote instruction of public or private school teachers, with parents remaining responsible for having the child to do as the public or private school tells them to do.  The public or private school remains in charge, and continues to provide mandates, continues to grade the work completed, and continues to have full authority to determine whether a child will pass or fail the course, or will graduate to the next level of public or private school.


    Looking at this system of remote public or private school at home, objectively, there is no realistic way this can be called “homeschooling”.  


    Please stop calling what parents of public and private school children are being forced to do at home in this emergency situation “homeschooling”.


     Please understand the differences between the two types of education, and stop confusing them.


     Parents need many options to educate their children.  


     Parents always must remain free to choose which option is right for them.  That choice, however, is increasingly more difficult when people intentionally, or not, confuse “homeschooling” with what is happening for public and private school students at home now.


     Please stop confusing the issue.


     Please don’t call what is happening for those children, “homeschooling”.


     Only through true facts and knowledge can we hope to remain free, and hope to make accurate free choices.


Attorney Stevenson is the founder of National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC.  For more information you can go here:
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Biometric and Personal Data Collection of Students Through Google G Suite For Education -

Why Does a Nationwide So-Called Homeschool Defense Organization Promote It’s Use by Homeschoolers?


By Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson
April 4, 2020


     Google G Suite has been around for a while.  Google gives public school districts free Chromebooks so that they can use Google G Suite for its students.  This is a nationwide marketing plan.  What happens when children use Google G Suite?  Yes, it may be an educational tool, but, it also is a huge data mining tool for Google. What exactly Google does with all of the data collected is not fully known.  Does it share any of it with the government, for example?  Possibly.  We simply don’t know if they do, or to what extent, if they do.  

    The fact that Google, through Google G Suite, collects data on children using it has been known for a while, but the latest example can be found in a recent article. That article, published by CNet, indicates that, finally, Google is being sued by some public school students for its secret data mining operation through Google G Suite.  The article says that two Illinois students filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly collecting students’ biometric data, including face templates and voice prints of children, through Google G Suite and its apps. The article quotes the lawsuit as saying,


"Google has complete control over the data collection, use, and retention practices of the 'G Suite for Education' service, including the biometric data and other personally identifying information collected through the use of the service, and uses this control not only to secretly and unlawfully monitor and profile children, but to do so without the knowledge or consent of those children's parents.”  


    We shall see if the lawsuit gets approval as a class action lawsuit, and if it succeeds in curtailing the data mining operation by Google.


     But this article, and the lawsuit, begs the question:  Why does HSLDA support Google G Suite, and actively promote its use by homeschoolers, when the data mining operation has been well known for years?  


     HSLDA, or Homeschool Legal Defense Association, founded by Michael Farris, has known about the issue of data collecting by Google G Suite for a long time, and simply dismisses the issue.  How do we know this?  We know that the issue was brought to the attention of attorneys for HSLDA, yet they continue to support it. Not only does HSLDA support it, but they actively worked with Google to get it into the homeschool community, and they promote and advertise it use on their website.  The website says, for example,


HSLDA worked with Google to open up its G Suite for Education to homeschool organizations. Your co-op can now take advantage of the wealth of productivity tools offered in the Suite. . . . it's voluntary, and best of all, it's FREE!…..
If you are a state or regional homeschool organization that wants to participate, please contact HSLDA to set up an account…..
We're happy to help your co-op's productivity needs. . . . it's just another way we're making homeschooling possible.”


     Knowing that Google is collecting massive quantities of data on students, for unknown purposes, still, HSLDA actively promotes its use?  


     Tell me why? Why did HSLDA seemingly partner with Google?


      Ask yourselves why?  


      Why would HSLDA want homeschoolers to use Google G Suite, knowing that by using it, the personal data of homeschoolers would be collected by Google, as well?  


     How is that “another way of making homeschooling possible”?  


     Could it be that it would make it easier, not only for Google, but also for others, including the government, to mine the data of homeschoolers as well?


     How is facilitating the data collection of homeschoolers, by anyone, especially by the government, helping homeschoolers to retain their freedom?


     NHELD does not think it does, at all.  What do you think?

Attorney Stevenson is the founder of National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC.  For more information you can go here:
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The Harvard “Summit” - A Continuation of Erosion of Parental Rights -
Same Sheep, Different Clothing.


By: Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson
March 29, 2020


So, by now, word has spread that there will be a “summit” at Harvard soon to discuss ways to regulate homeschooling.  Let’s take a look at some of the people behind this so-called “summit”.


The two people who are organizing it are James Dwyer, a law professor at the College of William and Mary, and Elizabeth Bartholet, a law professor at Harvard. Both advocate that the State has the right to determine not only the authority of parents, but, more importantly, who should be designated as parents.  This is truly a disturbing philosophy.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of the papers Dwyer has written, and the titles of some  symposia in which he has participated. The same theme prevails - parents should not have authority over their own children.


In one law journal article entitled, “A Child-Centered Approach to Parentage Law”, Dwyer says two prior conferences were “devoted to the topic of state control over children’s family relationships”, and “the state’s selection of a child’s legal family [and] who will be legally guaranteed an opportunity for a social relationship with a child”.  


Then there are the articles he wrote.  Here are some of Dwyer’s quotes:


“The most serious incursions on religious liberty in America today are being inflicted on children by parents and private school operators through power the State has given them.”

Also, in his article entitled, ”Religious Schooling and Homeschooling Before and After Hobby Lobby”, Dwyer discusses that sort of decision as being “irrelevant to addressing the incursions on liberty experienced by children subject to religious and home schooling”.


Then there is the other promoter of the “summit”, Elizabeth Bartholet.  She has written several books and articles.  One of her books is entitled, “Nobody’s Children”.  In the Penguin Random House description of that book, it says that she “challenges the accepted orthodoxy that treats children as belonging to their kinship and their racial groups and that locks them into inadequate biological and foster homes”, and she “question[s] why family preservation ideology still reigns supreme”.  Apparently, in that book she also advocates that every family with a young child should be required to undergo mandatory and frequent home visits by government officials.


Bartholet also has been a speaker at other events. At Duke Law School in 2017, she was a member of a panel that explored “the evolution of the concept of the right to a family, from the Declaration of Human Rights, through the Convention on the Rights of Children, to the European Human Rights Convention” and considered “the nexus between adoption and a child’s right to a family.”  She also sat on a panel discussing the “interrelationship between the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the Intercountry Adoption Act, and proposed changes to the statutory and regulatory structure”. In another recent article, she also recommended a ban on homeschooling, or a requirement for parents to seek government permission to homeschool.


This gives you just a taste of who is in charge of setting up this latest Harvard“summit” on the regulation of homeschooling.


Unfortunately, there are those who have been advocating for elimination of parental rights, or at least the strict regulation of them, for many years.  This is nothing new.  The philosophy has morphed through time, however.  There was the effort to have a global doctrine extolling the virtues of “human rights” over national or constitutional rights, and uplifting the rights of the child over the rights of the parent.  Hence, the adoption by many countries, except the United States, of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Here, the Constitution, and individual rights, still prevail. When the global philosophy failed here, then we saw it morph into an effort to change laws, and even the Constitution, on the federal level.  Hence, the emergence of federal agencies purporting to protect the rights of children, and the advocacy of a change to the Constitution by way of the Parental Rights Amendment, which purports to “protect” the rights of parents by giving authority to the federal government that it never had before over the rights of parents and children. That having been stalled, now we are seeing the philosophy morph, again, this time into an effort to indoctrinate lawmakers at the State level into changing State laws to accomplish the goal of weakening, or eliminating parental rights. This seems to be the focus of the Harvard “summit”.


Make no mistake, the people above, the others who will be speaking at the “summit”, and their followers who are advocating for the elimination or destruction of parental rights, are zealous, radical, and committed to this philosophy.  They do not intend to give up. Clearly, they will adapt and continue with their agenda.  


Keep in mind, however, that there are many who will take a full frontal attack on the rights of parents, such as those mentioned above, and there are those who will take a softer, more compromising approach.  They are both equally dangerous to freedom.


Note that one of the speakers at the Harvard “summit”, Samantha Field, will be addressing the Home School Legal Defense Association, (HSLDA), in a talk entitled, “Meet HSLDA, the Most Powerful Religious-Right Lobby You’ve Never Heard Of”.  While HSLDA has helped many parents through the years, an objective look at their work necessarily includes the fact that HSLDA also has advocated for causes that reduce or infringe on the rights of parents.  HSLDA’s founder, Michael Farris, for example, initiated the effort to adopt the Parental Rights Amendment, which would allow the federal government to regulate homeschooling.  Although retired from HSLDA, Farris also has written articles for HSLDA, including one that says,


“I think it is now evident that…parental rights should not be absolute…In light of the fact that parental rights cannot and should not be considered an absolute right, the question remains:  Have we chosen the correct method of limitation on this right? We certainly do not want to return to the language of the Massachusetts Bill of Rights of 1780: “Parents should have the right to make all decisions for their children provided that they are ‘demeaning themselves peaceably and [are] good subjects of the commonwealth’.”   (  


Perhaps this is why, throughout the years, HSLDA has resolved problems for parents through compromise, as well as through the adoption of state and federal regulations, albeit regulations that may not be as blatant or as draconian as the regulations being proposed by the promoters and speakers at the Harvard “summit”.


Whether you personally favor, or disfavor, the individuals or organizations cited above, the facts are out there for anyone to see as to how their advocacy has, and will, infringe on the rights of parents. Don’t take my word for it. Conduct your own research, and objective analysis of those facts, and come to your own conclusions. Let’s at least have a discussion about what is happening.


If you agree that, whether or not the attack is blatant or cryptic, it must not succeed, then join us in our longstanding effort to retain our inalienable right to freedom to educate our own children in the manner we choose to do so, without government interference.


We will win this, and every other battle as well.


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Contrary to What You May Have Heard, There is No Imminent Threat Looming Due to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child



By: Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson


It has come to NHELD’s attention that, once again, there is a well known “homeschool” organization that has issued a “warning” of sorts that, because of a new proposal, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child “Threatens U.S. Protection for Children”.


Don’t believe the hype, keep your emotions under control, and check out what, in reality, is happening. 


Here are the facts:


Contrary to what the “warning” distributed by that other organization says, there is no “Bill” that has been introduced about the treaty. 

That organization is simply wrong about that.  


There is no “Bill” that has been introduced.

There is only a “Resolution” that has been introduced.


A Resolution is very different from a Bill.  

A Bill becomes a law, and everyone is compelled to abide by that law.

A Resolution is only a statement about how one of the chambers of Congress “feels” about a topic. 

That organization did not tell you about that.  


In this instance, we are talking about a Resolution that only one member of the House of Representatives has introduced.


On February 12, 2000, Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced in the House that Resolution.

It is called HR 854.  

It is entitled, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should become a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”.  

The title of the Resolution should give you a clue about its purpose and weight, in and of itself.


You can find the text of the Resolution here:  



In addition, this type of Resolution affects only the House of Representatives.  It does not affect the Senate. It is not voted on by the Senate, and it does not have the full force of law.  

It simply is a “sense” or “opinion” of the House, if the House votes on it and adopts it.  

It is nothing more than that. 


In addition, this Resolution, simply has been introduced.  It has no other co-sponsors.  It is sitting in a House Committee waiting for action.  It could wait there for the entire session and die there.  Right now, it has no other official support.  It simply was introduced.  We do know that there is no indication, at all, that there is any groundswell of support for it. If there were, others would be co-sponsoring it.


Even if there were a groundswell of support, and even if the committee voted it out to the floor of the House, and even if the full House adopted it, that’s where it would sit.  At that point, the House would be saying, essentially, “Yes, we all agree, that U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child is a good thing and the United States should sign on and abide by it.”  

That’s all that would happen in the House.  It would have absolutely no effect in law.


That’s because there is a Constitutional provision that says that all treaties must be “ratified”, that is, voted on and approved, by the Senate.  The House of Representatives has no vote, whatsoever, on treaties. 


Don’t be duped into thinking this Resolution is some sort of imminent threat to your parental rights right now.  It is not.  The Resolution, at the moment, is a political ploy by one member of Congress.  That’s it.


As for the U.N. Convention on the rights of the child, itself, yes, that is not a good treaty.  It would affect parental rights.  NHELD wrote about this topic years ago, presented the facts about it, and would become active in opposing it, were it to become necessary. 

See that article here:  <>


You must keep in mind, however, that the treaty has been around for years.  The Senate has never adopted it. We hope it never does.


Even if the Senate were to take the treaty seriously and consider it for a vote, it must be ratified by a full two-thirds of the 100 Senators in order to be adopted.  


Is that possible, at some point, yes.  Is it about to happen now?  Absolutely not. Again, at this point, only a simple Resolution, promoted politically by a single member of the House, has been proposed.


It is, however, one of many, many reasons why elections are important.  


Be ever watchful that your freedom is not taken away, but, get the facts first about whether your rights actually are being threatened.  Then, you can act accordingly, if, and when, necessary.


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Tax Credits for Homeschoolers: An Old Idea Wrapped In a New Package  

                                 Still Can’t Take Away the Stink


                                            January 20, 2020
                                  By Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson


     Some people are offended by that title, and they probably will be offended by the content of what’s below.  Sometimes it takes harsh language to learn the harsh reality.


      During all of its existence, NHELD has stood for freedom - individual freedom for individual parents, families, children.  The reason it has stood for freedom is because our entire American existence is built on that one almost sacred concept.  It is a concept that was entirely new to the world.  No other country was established on that concept.  We declared our independence from a prior concept - that our rights, small, large, or in between - all of them were given to us by the king, by our rulers.  Only in this country did we declare, for the first time in history, that we would be governed by kings and rulers.  No, we declared we, the people, were given rights by our Creator.  We had them when we were born, and no one, not even the king, could take them away.  In order to protect our individual freedom, however, we knew we had to set up some rules, so that no one could take our freedom away. We protected that concept, the concept of we have freedom and our rulers cannot take that away, by adopting the Constitution to limit the powers of our rulers.

     We at NHELD, like many others, still believe in that concept, and cherish it.  We do not take it lightly, and we will not give it away without a fight.

     That’s why we take the time to look at everything, every new law that is proposed through that same lens.  That’s because there are many people among us that don’t share our view.  There are those who, for whatever reason, believe that we, the people, should not be free, that we should be controlled by “rulers”, by the government.

     There is nothing new in this.  It is a constant struggle. Sometimes those who want to rule us are very open about it, sometimes they are not.  Sometimes, there are those who think they are “helping” us remain free, but what they propose, or are convinced to propose, actually makes us less free.

     Such is the case with the “new” proposal to give parents tax credits for homeschoolers.  That proposal is called, H.R. 1434, or the Education Freedom Scholarship and Opportunity Act.  It is a bill to amend the IRS Code to to give tax credits to those who contribute to scholarships for students, including those who homeschool. Why, you say, “that sounds like a great idea”.  Yes, it certainly does.  Like anything, however, the devil is in the details.

     You have to look at the language in the bill to find the details. You can find the language here:  <>.  Now, there is a section in the bill that says, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage or authorize any Federal control over any aspect of any private, religious, or home education provider, whether or not a home education provider is treated as a private school or home school under State law”, and “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize an entity submitting a list of eligible scholarship-granting organizations on behalf of a State to mandate, direct, or control any aspect of a private or home education provider, regardless of whether or not a home education provider is treated as a private school under State law”, and “No participating State or entity acting on behalf of a State shall exclude, discriminate against, or otherwise disadvantage any education provider with respect to programs or services under this Act based in whole or in part on the provider’s religious character or affiliation, including religiously or mission-based policies or practices.”   Sounds good so far, right?

    Then, again, there are other provisions to examine.  For example, the bill provides that the “Secretary of the Treasury” shall prescribe such “regulations or other guidance” to ensure the bill’s provisions will be enforced. That means more federal regulations to come, perhaps?

      The bill also creates a web portal and administration for the contributions and tax credits.  It works this way:  The Secretary of Education and the Secretary of the Treasury will “establish, host, and maintain a Web portal” that lists all scholarship-granting organizations that are eligible under the IRS Code. The Web portal they maintain will enable a taxpayer to make a “qualifying” contribution to one or more of these eligible scholarship-granting organizations and to immediately obtain a “pre-approval” of a tax credit for the contribution, and a receipt to use when filing tax returns. It also, and here’s a key provision to watch, “enables a State to submit and update information about its programs. and its eligible scholarship-granting organizations, for informational purposes only, including information on (A) student eligibility; (B) allowable educational expenses; (C)  the types of allowable education providers; (D) the percent of funds an organization may use for program administration; and (E) the percentage of total contributions the organization awards in a calendar year.”

     Translation:  The head of two federal agencies will operate a website where “eligible” organizations will be listed so that taxpayers can contribute cash donations to them, and get “pre-approval” for a tax credit in return for that donation.  That same website enables “the State” to “submit and update” information, on how a student is “eligible” for scholarships, on “allowable educational expenses”, and on “the types of allowable education providers”.

     Hmm.  The State submits and updates information to whom? To the Federal government, which “maintains” it. The information submitted is what?  Information on student “eligibility”, “allowable educational expenses”, and the “types of allowable education providers”.  “Allowable education providers” - that’s parents, if we are talking about those who homeschool.  So, let’s think about this.  If a homeschool parent wants a tax credit, or a scholarship for the child, the parent goes to the website where information will be provided to the federal government about the “eligibility” of the child, and on what “type” of “allowable education provider” the parent is.  In return, you get a tax credit for your donation to a non-profit organization.  So, for your generous contribution to a non-profit organization, your benefit is a piece of paper saying you have an immediate “pre-approval” for a tax credit that year, and the chance for a “scholarship” for your child. Isn’t it true that any parent, right now, can donate to any non-profit and get a tax credit for that donation?  Isn’t that the benefit of any 501(c)(3) donation?  Isn’t it true that your child could have a chance for a scholarship from any non-profit right now to which a parent may make a donation, if it offers scholarships?  So, you get this “immediate pre-approval” of your tax credit in exchange for what again?  Oh, you provide information to the two Federal agencies for them to “maintain”. I don’t know, but that sounds like a pretty good deal - for the federal data collectors, that is.

    Reading on through the bill some more, however, it does say that you can make contributions without restoring to doing it through the web portal, but there are conditions to that, too.  You can do so, “provided that the taxpayer, or the eligible scholarship-granting organization on behalf of the taxpayer, applies for, and receives pre-approval for a tax credit from the Secretary of Education in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury.”  So, you need to get “pre-approval” from the federal agencies before you can donate your cash and get the tax credit.  You don’t need to get “pre-approval” from anyone right now to donate to a non-profit and get a tax credit, do you?  

    I see, this is a special tax credit for your educational expenses while you homeschool.  You didn’t have that before, but you would under this bill.  All you have to do to get that special tax credit is either get “pre-approval” from the federal agencies, if you qualify as the right “type” of “allowable” homeschool provider, and your educational expenses are “allowable”, and you provide information about your family to the federal agencies.  Whether or not you, or your expenses, are “allowable” depends on what rules the Secretaries of those two agencies adopt, sometime, you know, down the road.

     Of course, the State will like this bill, because the Federal agencies will “first reserve, for each State, an amount equal to the sum of the qualifying contributions made in the State in the previous year”, and allocate more in the following years proportionate to the number of children in the State.  Here’s the hook, though:  a State that does not provide the Secretary with the “information” the bill requires, is not eligible to receive the federal funds. What do you think your State will do?

    This is why NHELD advocates for freedom, and against accepting any government benefit, no matter how good it seems on the surface.  

     This is nothing new.  This proposal, in one packaging or another, has been around for years.  In fact, NHELD wrote about it, for example, when this idea, in different packaging, was being proposed in 2011.  You can find that article in the NHELD archives, here: <>.  Note, also, that some of the same people who proposed the idea back then, are the same people who are behind proposing the idea now.  (Can we say HSLDA, Ted Cruz, etc.?) Nothing has changed, except the packaging.  It’s always the same:  people who want, or don’t mind, government control - regulation, information sharing, approval, call it what you will - dangle benefits, in exchange for strings attached.  Once attached, the strings are extremely difficult to cut.  Yes, some people will want, or need, the benefit they see.  Just don’t be fooled.  The packaging may cover the stink of loss of freedom, but the stink still remains.  NHELD doesn’t want it.  We want freedom.  Do you?


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January 20, 2020



In a word, yes, quite possibly. 


It is reported in the Military Times that in the newly approved National Defense Authorization Act a provision was added allowing homeschoolers membership in Junior ROTC programs.


You can find the article here: 




While, on its face, this appears to be a very good thing, but, sometimes good things come with unintended consequences. 


First, it is always better to go directly to the actual source to read the entire bill, rather than relying on any internet source for a synopsis. 


In this case, the actual source lies at <>.

Federal bills tend to be very lengthy, and this one is extremely so.  The provision about homeschool membership in Junior ROTC is one small part of it. It is Section 513 of Part B of the bill.  You can find it here:  




Of course, that Section is to be added to the existing law, which is 10 U.S.C. §2031.  That law can be found under the United States Code, which can be found here: 




Section 513 of the National Defense Authorization Act, when signed by the President, will be added onto the end of 10 U.S.C. §2031 as Section (g).  


Putting all of that together for your ease of reference, you can find it below this article. 

Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. 

Consider the highlighted portions in particular. 


Two things are important to remember:  (1) anytime the term, “homeschooler”, appears in a federal statute, unintended consequences could follow; and (2) the language in the statute, itself, could lead to unintended consequences. 


“Homeschooling” is a term coined recently to describe the unalienable right of parents to the upbringing and education of their own children.  Right now, each State determines whether, or not, to “regulate” that right.


The Constitution provides for the military, and Congress, can adopt laws affecting the military.  Anyone enrolled in a military program, undoubtedly, must follow those laws.


Placing the term, “homeschooling” into a federal law of any kind, however, can have unintended consequences because, now, rather than the State, and the people in that State, having control over whether “homeschooling” is “regulated”, the federal government has interposed itself into that arena, even if intending to “help” homeschoolers.


As we all know, it is far easier to influence local legislators, than it is to influence legislators in Washington, D.C.   


Will there come a time when legislators in Washington, D.C. will adopt more laws affecting homeschoolers?  It is possible.

Will those additional laws all be for the benefit of homeschoolers to remain free to homeschool as they and their children need?  It is possible, but how many laws does Congress adopt each year that are all for the benefit of anyone to remain free to do as they need?


Even though this law may benefit many children, look at the language in the law again.


In plain English, the new amendment says that public schools shall permit membership of homeschoolers into the Junior ROTC program at that public school.


The original federal statute says the Secretary of each military department shall establish Junior ROTC  units at public schools, and the public school agrees to limit the membership in the unit to students “whom attain acceptable standards of academic achievement and conduct, as prescribed by the Secretary of the military department…”  In other words, the public school will still limit the membership to students who “attain acceptable standards of academic achievement” developed by the federal government.  


That raises several questions.


What are those “acceptable standards of academic achievement” for homeschoolers? 

We don’t know yet.

We do know that the Secretary of each military department will establish those “acceptable standards of academic achievement”.

The Secretary is in Washington, D.C.

Do you have a lot of influence on what those acceptable standards for homeschoolers will be?


How will those standards for homeschoolers be deemed “acceptable”?

Who will deem them “acceptable”?

Will the public school hosting the program be in charge of that?

Will whoever is in charge need to review your homeschool program and approve it?

How will that be done?  In your home?  At the public school?

Will they review what the homeschooling program that you did before the child entered the program and determine the child is not eligible for the program, unless you do as they say?

Will you have to re-do your child’s homeschool program in order to enter Junior ROTC?

Did the legislators, or other supporters, of this new law ask those questions before adopting the law?

If they did, what are the answers to those questions? 


If either the military, or the public school, is now allowed to review your homeschool program and “approve” it, how will that affect homeschoolers long term?


Certainly, those involved in the program will be entering the program voluntarily and agree to these terms. If that is something that an individual family wants, that is their choice.  Understand, however, that homeschooling for that family will no longer be under the control of the parent. That means loss of freedom. Understand that full well, before making your choice.


Understand, also, that the unintended consequences may be that freedom for other homeschoolers, who do not join the program, may be affected long term, as well.


It is possible that this could be a first step to making it easier for public schools, or any government officials, to have a say in how they homeschool. One thing is for sure: the more laws that are put in place, the harder it is to roll them back. After all, remember, also, that historically, incrementalism has worked to chip away at other freedoms.  


Is it possible this will make it easier for government officials to do the same with homeschooling freedoms?  Maybe.

Time will tell.


This is only one example.  There are many well-meaning people in government trying to help people with all kinds of issues.  One thing that they must consider, however, regarding any law they propose to adopt, each time they propose to adopt it, is whether the law will have unintended consequences in the long term that will make it easier to lose our freedom.


We must all be vigilant against losing our freedom, every day.  Just ask Thomas Jefferson.  He warned us to do just that.


If you value your freedom, regardless of whether you are a lawmaker or an individual, always think before you support what seems to be a good idea. 


Think of the long term unintended consequences, and choose wisely.



The full statute is below:


§ 2031. Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps


(a) (1) The Secretary of each military department shall establish and maintain a Junior

Reserve Officers' Training Corps, organized into units, at public and private

secondary educational institutions which apply for a unit and meet the standards

and criteria prescribed pursuant to this section. The President shall promulgate

regulations prescribing the standards and criteria to be followed by the military

departments in selecting the institutions at which units are to be established and

maintained and shall provide for the fair and equitable distribution of such units

throughout the Nation, except that more than one such unit may be established

and maintained at any military institute.

(2) It is a purpose of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps to instill in students in

United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service

to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.


(b) No unit may be established or maintained at an institution unless-

(1) the number of physically fit students in such unit who are in a grade above the 8th

grade and are citizens or nationals of the United States, or aliens lawfully admitted

to the United States for permanent residence, is not less than (A) 10 percent of the

number of students enrolled in the institution who are in a grade above the 8th

grade, or (B) 100, whichever is less;

(2) the institution has adequate facilities for classroom instruction, storage of arms and

other equipment which may be furnished in support of the unit, and adequate drill

areas at or in the immediate vicinity of the institution, as determined by the

Secretary of the military department concerned;

(3) the institution provides a course of military instruction of not less than three

academic years' duration, as prescribed by the Secretary of the military department


(4) the institution agrees to limit membership in the unit to students who maintain

acceptable standards of academic achievement and conduct, as prescribed by the

Secretary of the military department concerned; and

(5) the unit meets such other requirements as may be established by the Secretary of

the military department concerned.


(c) The Secretary of the military department concerned shall, to support the Junior Reserve

Officers' Training Corps program-

(1) detail officers and noncommissioned officers of an armed force under his

jurisdiction to institutions having units of the Corps as administrators and


(2) provide necessary text materials, equipment, and uniforms and, to the extent

considered appropriate by the Secretary concerned, such additional resources

(including transportation and billeting) as may be available to support activities of

the program; and

(3) establish minimum acceptable standards for performance and achievement for

qualified units.


(d) Instead of, or in addition to, detailing officers and noncommissioned officers on active duty

under subsection (c)(1), the Secretary of the military department concerned may authorize

qualified institutions to employ, as administrators and instructors in the program, retired

officers and noncommissioned officers who are in receipt of retired pay, and members of

the Fleet Reserve and Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, whose qualifications are approved by

the Secretary and the institution concerned and who request such employment, subject to

the following:

(1) A retired member so employed is entitled to receive the member's retired or

retainer pay without reduction by reason of any additional amount paid to the

member by the institution concerned. In the case of payment of any such additional

amount by the institution concerned, the Secretary of the military department

concerned shall pay to that institution the amount equal to one-half of the amount

paid to the retired member by the institution for any period, up to a maximum of

one-half of the difference between the member's retired or retainer pay for that

period and the active duty pay and allowances which the member would have

received for that period if on active duty. Notwithstanding the limitation in the

preceding sentence, the Secretary concerned may pay to the institution more than

one-half of the additional amount paid to the retired member by the institution if (as

determined by the Secretary) the institution is in an educationally and economically

deprived area and the Secretary determines that such action is in the national

interest. Payments by the Secretary concerned under this paragraph shall be

made from funds appropriated for that purpose.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, such a retired member is not, while so

employed, considered to be on active duty or inactive duty training for any



(e) Instead of, or in addition to, detailing officers and noncommissioned officers on active duty

under subsection (c)(1) and authorizing the employment of retired officers and

noncommissioned officers who are in receipt of retired pay and members of the Fleet

Reserve and Fleet Marine Corps Reserve under subsection (d), the Secretary of the

military department concerned may authorize qualified institutions to employ as

administrators and instructors in the program officers and noncommissioned officers who

are under 60 years of age and who, but for age, would be eligible for retired pay for nonregular

service under section 12731 of this title and whose qualifications are approved by

the Secretary and the institution concerned and who request such employment, subject to

the following:

(1) The Secretary concerned shall pay to the institution an amount equal to one-half of

the amount paid to the member by the institution for any period, up to a maximum

of one-half of the difference between-

(A) the retired or retainer pay for an active duty officer or noncommissioned

officer of the same grade and years of service for such period; and

(B) the active duty pay and allowances which the member would have received

for that period if on active duty.

(2) Notwithstanding the limitation in paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned may pay

to the institution more than one-half of the amount paid to the member by the

institution if (as determined by the Secretary)-

(A) the institution is in an educationally and economically deprived area; and

(B) the Secretary determines that such action is in the national interest.

(3) Payments by the Secretary concerned under this subsection shall be made from

funds appropriated for that purpose.

(4) Amounts may be paid under this subsection with respect to a member after the

member reaches the age of 60.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a member employed by a qualified

institution pursuant to an authorization under this subsection is not, while so

employed, considered to be on active duty or inactive duty training for any



(f) (1) When determined by the Secretary of the military department concerned to be in

the national interest and agreed upon by the institution concerned, the institution

may reimburse a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps instructor for moving

expenses incurred by the instructor to accept employment at the institution in a

position that the Secretary concerned determines is hard-to-fill for geographic or

economic reasons.

(2) As a condition on providing reimbursement under paragraph (1), the institution

shall require the instructor to execute a written agreement to serve a minimum of

two years of employment at the institution in the hard-to-fill position.

(3) Any reimbursement provided to an instructor under paragraph (1) is in addition to

the minimum instructor pay otherwise payable to the instructor.

(4) The Secretary concerned shall reimburse an institution providing reimbursement to

an instructor under paragraph (1) in an amount equal to the amount of the

reimbursement paid by the institution under that paragraph. Any reimbursement

provided by the Secretary concerned shall be provided from funds appropriated for

that purpose.

(5) The provision of reimbursement under paragraph (1) or (4) shall be subject to

regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for purposes of this subsection.



Section 2031 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘‘(g)(1) Each public secondary educational institution that maintains a unit under this section shall permit membership in the unit to homeschooled students residing in the area served by the institution who are qualified for membership in the unit (but for lack of enrollment in the institution).

‘‘(2) A student who is a member of a unit pursuant to this subsection shall count toward the satisfaction by the institution concerned of the requirement in subsection (b)(1) relating to the minimum number of student members in the unit necessary for the continuing maintenance of the unit.’’.





                                                            January 11, 2020



There is an article about the very tragic case of a child’s death at the hands of an abusive father in the news.  


You can read the article here:


NHELD (National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC), hopes you take the time to read the article, and also to think critically about it.

So many things are wrong with this article, that I hardly know where to begin.  
First of all, this has nothing to do with homeschooling.
How do I know that?
If we can take the “facts” reported in the article at face value, the article says two things:


“Collins died on Dec. 13, 2019, a year and a half after relatives pulled him out of Dayton Public Schools to for home-schooling.”




“Police say Collins suffered from years of extreme abuse by his father, and that the boy showed signs of being severely beaten.”


If both “facts” are true, obviously this is not about homeschooling.  

The child was “pulled” from public school for homeschooling only “a year and a half” ago. But “police say” the child “suffered from years of extreme abuse by his father”.  

Logic dictates, then, that the abuse was occurring well before any homeschooling.
In fact, it was occurring while the child was enrolled in the public school.


Apparently, enrollment in the public school, under the so-called watchful eyes of all the folks in that school, including possibly the school social worker and guidance counselor, did not prevent the child from undergoing “years” of abuse.


How do I know that?  I know that because the article says,

“Teachers at Collins’ school had repeatedly called authorities about the matter in 2018, but authorities closed the investigation after their house calls went unanswered.”


Assuming those “facts” are accurate, the teachers in the public school knew about the abuse, apparently for years.  They, rightfully, reported the abuse to the proper “authorities”.  Nonetheless, the child continued to be abused.

The public school teachers could not prevent it.


This is a story about abuse.  It is not a story about the type of education the child was receiving while he was being abused.


Obviously, the type of education the child was receiving had absolutely nothing to do with the child being abused.  


What the heading of this story should be is this:  
Despite having sufficient laws on the books to prevent abuse of children, and despite having established a plethora of “authorities” to investigate reports of child abuse, and to ensure the safety of a child alleged to be abused, the “authorities” failed to do their job again, and another child is dead because of it.


Each state has laws against child abuse. 

Each state has “authorities” dedicated to investigating child abuse and preventing harm to the child. 

Those laws are designed to investigate child abuse wherever it occurs, regardless of the type of education a child receives.


The problem lies not with the laws.  In addition, of course to the abuser, the problem lies with those charged with enforcing and implementing those laws.


Read the most crucial phrase in the story again.  It is this:  “but authorities closed the investigation after their house calls went unanswered”.  


If that “fact” is accurate, the “authorities” seemed to have knocked on the door of the house where the child lived, and when no one opened the door, they went away.  
They “closed” the case.  

That’s dereliction of duty.  

Those “authorities” who just went away and “closed” the case when the abuser failed to open the door should be fired.


As an attorney, I know that there are many things those “authorities” could have, and should have, done to prevent that child’s further harm.

One very simple thing that they could have done is this: 

Assuming they had more than enough probable cause to believe the child was being abused, since the public school teachers “repeatedly” called them and told them he was being abused because “the boy showed signs of being severely beaten”, the “authorities” could have gone to a judge and asked for a court order to enter the home to view the child, or to take temporary custody of the child for a physical examination.  At the very least, at any point, those “authorities” had sufficient probable cause to ask the police to do a “welfare check” on the child.  

If the “facts” in the article are accurate, apparently the “authorities” did not even do that.


Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and time will tell whether the father was the abuser.  If he was, then he should be punished to the full extent of the law.  

However, the abuser is not the only one to be blamed here.  


The “authorities” also share the blame. 

They knew about the abuse. 

They failed to take the steps they could have. 

A child is dead as a result.


This is not about homeschooling.  It’s not about public school.  This is about the evil of child abuse.  But it’s also about properly implementing the laws against child abuse that already exist.  


We trust our “authorities” to do their job.  Once again, they have failed to do so.  A child is dead because of it. 

His name was Takoda Collins.  Never forget that name.  He didn’t deserve to die.


Unfortunately, this same thing happened in Connecticut not long ago.  That child’s name was Matthew Tirado.  Never forget his name either.  He also didn’t deserve to die.
His abuser was punished.  


The “authorities” in Connecticut, who also failed to do a “welfare check” on the child, and walked away when the abuser did not open the door, have not been punished.
They have not even been fired.


Will those “authorities” in Ohio be punished for not doing their job?
Will they even be fired?

Will the people of Ohio stand up and demand the “authorities” come to terms with their failures?


 Or, will they be duped by headlines highlighting the type of education the child received, and allow the “authorities”, once again, to go unpunished for their failures and their part in the death of yet another child?


Time will tell. 








ALEC stands for American Legislative Exchange Council.


   You can find it here:


It purports to be a non-profit organization providing a forum for state legislators from all across the country to discuss business and economic interests facing the states and to exchange ideas for solutions. Alec also claims to “value” “public-private partnerships” in policy discussions. 


Legislators attend meetings and events set up by ALEC, which are held in private.  No one from the public is allowed inside such meetings.


ALEC then assists the legislators by providing them with “model bills” that the legislators can take back home and introduce them into their own House and Senate. In effect, ALEC  drafts legislation for the legislators, doing the research and leg work for them, making the legislators’ lives easier.  The legislators, in turn, after having been pitched the ideas in these “model bills”, accept them as valuable, and promote them for acceptance in their States. 


This is one reason why you see the same idea for legislation, virtually the same bills, appear in State after State.  

This is no accident.  This is the goal.


Sometimes, you may approve of the content of such bills, other times, you may not.  The point is, you need to know who is promoting the bills, and why they are doing so.


Understand that hatever the bill is, it may not be an original idea of your local State Senator or Representative.  Your local State Senator or Representative may have attended an Alec meeting sometime prior to proposing the bill.  Although he thought he was engaging in a free exchange of ideas, in reality, he may have been manipulated, unknowingly, into buying into an idea that was part of the larger agenda of ALEC, and the folks who pay for the existence of ALEC.  In other words, your local State Senator or Representative may have been targeted by well funded lobbyists working in the guise of a great sounding “non-profit” organization.


There are pros and cons to everything, of course, but you need to know what those pros and cons are before you act.  Check out the ALEC website, but also check out the websites of ALEC critics, such as   The more you are informed about both sides, the better decisions you can make.  Keep in mind, this is not just a right wing or a left wing tactic employed by these well funded organizations..  Both sides engage in this sort of lobbying..  This is about the same things most things are about: money, power, and control. This is about you, as an individual, recognizing what is happening, taking appropriate action to hold your elected officials accountable, and retaining your authority as free people.


Remember, ALEC is not the only such organization that may have an ulterior motive or agenda, that sounds like a great organization doing great work, but may not be so great after all.   Anytime you see one State after another proposing similar or identical bills, especially on critically important issues, you should think about organizations such as ALEC, do your research, and ask your legislators where they came up with their idea, and why.  Ask who is lobbying your legislators, and who actually is writing the legislation?  ,


Remember also, according to the U.S. Constitution, and most State Constitutions, only elected legislators have the constitutional authority to write legislation.  They do not have the authority to delegate that duty to anyone else, not even to staff lawyers, let alone powerful corporations or non-profit entities.  Tell your legislators that when they do delegate that authority, they do so unlawfully.  Tell them to do their own work and to accept their own responsibility.  After all, that is what they were elected to do, and that is what they swore under oath to do.  Hold them accountable to their word. 




                                            BUT DON’T BE DUPED

A while ago, NHELD warned about a group called ALEC.  American Legislative Exchange Council.  Basically, it’s a national lobbying group that writes bills on a variety of topics and persuades legislators in each state to adopt the bills as their own.  That way, ALEC promotes its own agenda across the country.  


It seems that ALEC now has written a bill regarding homeschooling.  Do not be duped by this.  


You can see the summary of what they are calling the “Homeschool Credential Recognition Act” at their website.


This is what they call a “Model Policy”.  This one was drafted on November 5, 2019, and is quoted below.


“Section 1.
Issuance of a diploma or other appropriate credential
(a)  A diploma or credential issued by a person who administers a program of secondary education in a home school setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the recipient meets the requirement of having a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(b)   No state or local agency or institution of higher learning in this state may reject or otherwise treat a person differently based solely on the source of such a diploma or credential.
Section 2.
Verification of enrollment
The parent or guardian shall have the authority to execute any document required by law, rule, regulation, or policy to evidence the enrollment of a child in an educational program provided in a home school setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements, the student’s full-time or part-time status, the student’s grades, or any other required educational information.”

On first reading, it sounds kind of innocuous, right?  Even helpful?  But let’s think about it more closely, and consider possible consequences.  

When a legislature proposes this as its own bill, how will they define a “program of secondary education”?  How will they define a “home school setting”?  Could the legislature define these terms in such a way as to eliminate the freedom parents have now to instruct their own children?  

More importantly, is homeschooling considered “an exemption from compulsory attendance” in your state, or, is homeschooling simply a modern day term we call what parents always have had a fundamental right, and freedom, to do?  There are states where it has been the right and duty of parents to instruct their own children since the days of the colonies.  Public school was a much later development, and compulsory attendance in a public school was developed later still.  Yet, the language in this Model Policy, if adopted, would place in statutory law that homeschooling is only an “exemption” to compulsory education, in essence, making public school the norm, rather than the rights of parents the norm.  

In addition, what will be the definition of “Verification of enrollment”?  in fact, “enrollment” traditionally is a term used by public and private schools.  No child is “enrolled” in a family or homeschool.  Could “enrollment” come to mean “registration” with the state?  Could “verification of enrollment” come to mean that?

How will the phrase, “qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements” be defined?  What if a homeschool doesn’t “qualify”?  Who will determine “qualification”?  Who will determine “verification of enrollment”?  
If a legislature proposes such a bill, seemingly the government would be granting to itself the power to “give” to parents “the authority to execute any document” required to evidence enrollment in a qualified home school program.  Parents already have that power.  It’s called being a parent, and having a fundamental Constitutionally protected right to the upbringing and education of children. Do you really want the government to tell you that you only have the right to issue a document about the education of your children when the government tells you that you can?

Basically, government would be inserting itself in yet another way into the education of your children in your home.  

The only difference is that they would be doing it in a way that makes you think that they are doing you a favor and “protecting” you from discrimination.  
NHELD opposes this kind of legislation. 


NHELD supports the freedom that parents already have to the upbringing and education of their children.  Be careful when you read about government “helping” you.  Research before you draw conclusions. Think before you act.





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