Homeschool group lobbies to avoid oversight—of abuse, not just educational practices

Homeschool group lobbies to avoid oversight—of abuse, not just educational practices

If it’s horrifying and involves education, you can bet Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education secretary, will be interested in it:

In May, [the Home School Legal Defense Association] met with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to urge her not to let federal dollars go to home-schoolers. The conservative evangelical Christian group, which has 85,000 dues-paying members and was founded in 1983, also has influenced draft legislation on homeschooling created by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive business lobbying group, of which it’s a member.

Wait … HSLDA doesn’t want federal money? Right: because added money might bring oversight, and HSLDA is all about avoiding oversight at all costs. Not just oversight of educational practices in homeschool families. Oversight of abuse. Check out some of the parents it’s been involved in defending in one way or another:

In 1995, HSLDA represented two home-schooling parents who had been ordered by a judge to send their two children to public schools after four of the couple’s other children had died in their care. The couple were ultimately allowed to continue to home-school the children.
In 2005, HSLDA lawyer Scott Somerville called Michael Gravelle, a home-school father who had been accused of keeping 11 of his adopted children in cages, “a hero.” (Somerville did not represent Gravelle in court). Gravelle and his wife were later convicted of child endangerment and abuse.
In 2013, a lawyer affiliated with HSLDA represented Carolyn and John Jackson, a couple who were indicted on 17 counts of child endangerment and assault, including allegedly keeping their children dehydrated and having their siblings police them to make sure they did not drink from the toilet in desperation. The couple were convicted on multiple counts.

HSLDA pretty much doesn’t care what your parenting practices are, as long as they include homeschooling, in short. If you’re a homeschooler, they will advocate for your right to abuse your kids.

DeVos, by the way, is a longtime homeschooling advocate

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