Federal Relations

National Update
March 20, 2002

In this issue:

HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris Addresses Congressional Values Summit

Home School Community Works To Gain Access To Scholastic.Com

House Passes Two Strong Pro-Life Bills

Military Academies Strong Option For Home School Families

HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris Addresses Congressional Values Summit

Mike Farris, co-founder and chairman of Home School Legal Defense Association, represented the organization at a high-level summit meeting on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Farris was representing HSLDA as part of the Values Summit, sponsored by The Values Action Team, a group of Congressmen and Senators dedicated to preserving and advancing traditional family values via Congressional action. Farris addressed the meeting, which was attended by such Congressional luminaries as Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (R-OK), House Deputy Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Senators Sam Brownback (R-KA) and Rick Santorum (R-PA). The Congressional Values Action Team is chaired by U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA).

On behalf of HSLDA's more-than-70,000 member families, Farris urged Congress to end discrimination of home school students in several areas, including the Federal Financial Aid program, veterans benefits, education savings accounts and the administration of the Individuals with Disability Education Act. Additionally he encouraged members to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to protect law-abiding parents from overzealous social workers.

"I think Mike did a great job expressing to the members present some of the legislative challenges which home education faces in Washington D.C." said Tom Washburne, director of the National Center for Home Education, who also was present at the meeting.

Also attending the meeting were noted conservative leaders such as Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of Toward Tradition, Phyllis Schlaffly, founder of Eagle Forum, and Janet Parshall, host of Janet Parshall's America.

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Home School Community Works To Gain Access To Scholastic.Com

Through the patient efforts of a number of home school parents around the country, Scholastic Inc., the largest publisher of children's books in the world, has begun treating home school teachers like other teachers, in terms of access to web resources and discounts to merchandise.

The Scholastic Online Teacher Store was previously only available for "educators with school affiliation" (the company's term). An online book club was similarly exclusive. Following a number of inquiries from around the country, the teacher store and book clubs are now open to home educators, and a new Home School Book Club has been formed.

Victor Aluise, director of Scholastic.com's Teacher area, said the move is logical.

"Home schoolers are an important part of the educational landscape and Scholastic is happy to serve their needs online via the store and our free teaching resources on www.scholastic.com" Aluise said.

Aluise explained that potential customers will need to register with the site.

"Since the Teacher Store offers special discounts to educators, shoppers must first register with us. Our registration system has been specially designed to accommodate home schoolers," he said. "During registration, home schoolers are asked to enter their home school information and check the "I am a home schooler" box.

"Scholastic customer service verifies their information and grants them access to the store," he added. "The process takes about 3-5 business days to complete. We are currently working on streamlining the process to reduce the turnaround time."

One home school mom who worked hard to help Scholastic see the light was Cheryl Forsythe from Eden Prairie Minnesota. Cheryl made a number of phone calls and sent a letter to Scholastic explaining to company management that home schooling is legal in 50 states and an increasingly popular educational option. She was pleased to see the company decide to include the burgeoning pool of home school parents in its program.

"It does appear that Scholastic is very willing and anxious to serve home schoolers now," Forsythe said. "As more home schoolers enter the book clubs and Teacher's Store, I'm sure the system will become even more user friendly.

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House Passes Two Strong Pro-Life Bills

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed two pieces of pro-life legislation, H.R. 2175, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002, and H.R. 2146, the Two Strikes and You're Out Child Protection Act.

The Born Alive Protection Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). H.R. 2146 was introduced by Rep. Mark Green (R-WI).

For more information on either bill, go to the site linked below and enter the bill number in the search engine.


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Military Academies Strong Option For Home School Families

The House of Representatives and Senate recently passed SJ Resolution 32, a measure congratulating the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY on its 200th anniversary. While most home school families likely join in this appreciation of the work done to train our country's future military leaders, they may not realize some of the opportunities that the service academies hold for home school families. With high-level academic programs, a strong sense of family values and a fully-funded educational experience, the service academies are worth considering when it comes to choices in higher education. Click on the provided links to learn more about how citizens can apply for admission to the service academies.

U.S. Military Academy (Army): http://www.usma.edu/admissions/

United States Naval Academy: http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/

United States Air Force Academy: http://www.academyadmissions.com/admissions/

United States Coast Guard Academy: http://www.cga.edu/admiss/default.htm

United States Merchant Marine Academy: http://www.usmma.edu/admissions/default.htm