Home About WPA Contact WPA

WPA Resolutions Adopted at Annual Meetings

  1. WPA and Choice in Education
  2. Wisconsin's Home Schooling Law
  3. State-Mandated Standardized Testing
  4. Home Schooling, Private Education, and the DPI
  5. State Review and Approval of a Home-Based Private Educational Program's Calendar and Curriculum
  6. Teacher Certification of Home Schooling Parents
  7. Entry and Re-entry Into Public Schools
  8. Home Schoolers Taking Courses in Public Schools
  9. Unity Among Home Schoolers
  10. The Primary Role of Parents in Education
  11. Opposition to State Control of Education and the Family
  12. State goals in education
  13. America 2000 and Wisconsin 2000
  14. Education Vouchers
  15. Outcome-Based Education
  16. Government Collaboration
  17. Maintain the Distinction Between Public and Private Schools
  18. Screening, Evaluating, and Labeling Children
  19. The Federal Government and Homeschooling
  20. Privacy and Homeschooling
  21. The Independence of the Homeschooling Movement
  22. Families First
  23. Homeschooling, Educational Reform, Freedoms, and Money
  24. Maintaining Wisconsin's Homeschooling Law
  25. Maintaining the Fundamental Foundation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
  26. Attempts by the State to Determine Eligibility to Homeschool
  27. School-To-Work Programs
  28. Day-Time Curfews, Truancy Sweeps, and ID Cards for Homeschoolers
  29. The Real Cost of Tax Credits for Homeschoolers' Educational Expenses
  30. Impact on Homeschooling Freedoms of Homeschoolers' Qualifying for Public School Sports Teams
  31. High Schools' Mock Trial Involving a Homeschooler
  32. Graduation Test
  33. Legislation That Undermines Homeschooling Freedoms
  34. Laws Designed to Prevent Certain Families from Homeschooling
  35. Survey Research on Homeschooling
  36. Standardized Testing Required by the Federal or State Government
  37. Homeschools Defined by Law as One Family Unit
  38. Public E-Schools
  39. Government Imposed Immunizations
  40. Education Vouchers, Educational Investment Accounts, and Tax Credits and Deductions for Education
  41. Maintaining the Distinction Between Public Schools and Homeschools (and Other Private Schools)
  42. The Media and Homeschooling
  43. Student Identification Database Systems
  44. Mental Health Screening
  45. No Child Left Behind
  46. History of Homeschooling in Wisconsin
  47. Institutionalizing Young Children
  48. Maintaining the Basic Principles of Homeschooling
  49. Importance of Parents to Children’s Development and Learning and a Family’s Well Being
  50. Prevent Further Erosion of the Role of Parents in Children’s Early Years
  51. New Kindergarten Statute and Homeschooling
  52. Encouraging Homeschoolers to File Form PI-1206 Online in Accordance With the Law
  53. Common Core State Standards in Education
  54. Maintain the Distinction Between Homeschooling and Public Virtual Charter Schools

1. WPA and Choice in Education

Whereas the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) is a state-wide association that watches, promotes, and defends the rights of parents, families, and children; and

Whereas WPA recognizes that there is no one best way to educate children since their talents and abilities are so varied; and

Whereas home schoolers are a very diverse group with widely varying income levels, approaches to education, religious and philosophical beliefs; and

Whereas the one thing home schoolers have in common is their commitment to establishing and maintaining their parental rights to educate their children according to their beliefs and principles;

Be it resolved that WPA and its members will support parents in their choice in education. 4/88

2. Wisconsin's Home Schooling Law

Whereas the current law (1983 Act 512) regarding Home-Based Private Educational Programs (HBPEP) provides for (a) protecting the state's interest in education by requiring that HBPEPs meet basic educational requirements and comply with the compulsory school attendance law; (b) protecting the parents' rights by requiring that the information reported to the state and attested to by parents, while sufficient to protect the state's interest, is not too burdensome or intrusive; does not violate constitutional, parental, and religious rights; and does not violate the principle of innocent until proven guilty; and (c) protecting the rights of children by allowing HBPEPs enough choice and flexibility so that they can be true alternatives and thereby meet the educational needs of the children enrolled in them; and

Whereas certain recommendations to further regulate HBPEPs (a) have not been supported by documented need; (b) would most probably be unconstitutional; (c) have not worked historically in Wisconsin; and (d) would probably do more harm than good; and

Whereas the current law is working well;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA supports the current law (1983 Act 512) and opposes changing the law. 4/88

3. State-Mandated Standardized Testing

Whereas standardized tests are only one way of measuring the mastery of a specific set of facts; and

Whereas standardized tests can become a means of determining and controlling the curriculum, teaching methods, and structure of a school or program; and

Whereas there is increasing evidence that standardized tests do not measure what they claim to measure; and

Whereas standardized tests can be used to label children, to justify additional testing, and to require child placement out of the home; and

Whereas state-mandated standardized testing provides that the state rather than the parent would decide when children are ready for tests, what tests will be used, how and where tests will be administered, and what to do about the results;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA is opposed to state-mandated standardized testing and will work to prevent it from being mandated for Home-Based Private Educational Programs. 4/88

4. Home Schooling, Private Education, and the DPI

Whereas the United States by its constitution, tradition, and custom has long recognized, practiced, and provided for the parent to have the primary right in and responsibility for a child's education; and

Whereas the distinction between public and private education, including home-based private education, is established by custom, tradition, and statute and is fundamental to the exercise of choice in education and to the avoidance of a state monopoly in education; and

Whereas Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution grants the State Superintendent of Public Instruction authority over public, not private, education; and

Whereas the Wisconsin legislature has passed a law (1983 Act 512) that requires Home-Based Private Educational Programs to meet educational requirements and be in compliance with the compulsory school attendance law, a law that balances the state's, parent's, and children's rights and responsibilities in education;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA views the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to have no authority to regulate private education, including Home-Based Private Educational Programs.

Be it further resolved that the WPA will not initiate or propose matters to the DPI that would recognize, foster, or grant such regulatory authority by the DPI over private education. 4/88

5. State Review and Approval of a Home-Based Private Educational Program's Calendar and Curriculum

Whereas there is no general agreement as to the one best way to educate children, and no set calendar or curriculum has been shown to be consistently superior; and

Whereas the tutorial approach to education is recognized to be very effective in meeting the individual educational needs of a student; and

Whereas the standardized approach to calendars and curriculums used in the public schools for classes of 10 to 30 students is inappropriate for home-based private educational programs; and

Whereas one of the major strengths of a home school is that the small number of students makes it possible for curriculum to be individually designed for each student to take advantage of his/her talents, abilities, and learning style, and requiring state review and approval of curriculum would seriously threaten this strength; and

Whereas the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that the state may not have a monopoly in education; and

Whereas state review and approval of calendars and curriculums could lead to a standardization that could result in a monopoly in education; and

Whereas the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that parents have the right to chose an education for their child that is consistent with their beliefs and principles; and

Whereas the U. S. Constitution and Wisconsin Constitution and statutes provide for the separation of church and state, including parental choice in what subjects and curriculums a child is taught; and

Whereas prior to 1984 the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in Wisconsin abused even its limited authority to review and approve home schoolers' calendars and curriculums by arbitrary and unfair treatment of them, leading the Wisconsin legislature to deny DPI's request for a statute granting DPI such authority; and

Whereas hundreds of studies have shown parental participation in a child's education to be the single variable that consistently correlates positively with student achievement; and

Whereas the current law provides for prosecution of parents and students under existing statutes for failure to meet the required standards set forth for home-based private educational programs; and

Whereas the current law is working well;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA is opposed to state review and approval of a home-based private educational program's calendar and curriculum and will work to prevent such actions being mandated for home-based private educational programs. 4/89

6. Teacher Certification of Home Schooling Parents

Whereas numerous studies from the past 25 years fail to show that teacher training, certification, or advanced degrees for teachers result in student achievement; and

Whereas the wisdom of certifying public school teachers is being questioned (the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy has recommended abolishing undergraduate departments and schools of teacher education) and several states have waived or are considering waiving public school teacher certification requirements; and

Whereas private schools in Wisconsin are not required to employ certified teachers; and

Whereas the number of states requiring certification of home schooling parents has been reduced through court cases and legislation to, in effect, only one state; and

Whereas the single variable that consistently correlates positively with student achievement is family background and parental participation in education;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA opposes requiring certification of home-based private educational program parents as teachers and will work to prevent it from being mandated. 4/89

7. Entry and Re-entry Into Public Schools

Whereas home schooled students have consistently been shown to perform very well academically and socially; and

Whereas entry/re-entry policies have been established without a demonstrated need or basis in fact by local public school districts in Wisconsin in response to or anticipation of Home-Based Private Educational Program students entering public schools; and

Whereas approximately 4,000 former Home-Based Private Educational Program students have successfully entered conventional schools over the past five years without such policies being in effect; and

Whereas such policies often discriminate against Home-Based Private Educational Program (HBPEP) students by applying different standards, criteria, and tests against HBPEP students than against other private or public school students entering a public school in the areas of test scores, social development, trial periods for grade placement, time requirements for graduation, acceptance of courses and grades for courses, and eligibility for awards; and

Whereas such policies can have serious lasting negative effects on a HBPEP student's grade placement, school performance, and personal career; and

Whereas such policies are often in violation of a parent's and student's protection under the 1st, 4th, 9th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Wisconsin equal protection, fair treatment, and anti-discrimination statutes; and

Whereas such policies can arbitrarily affect a parent's and student's free choice of public education, detour citizens from choosing a HBPEP, and punish a family for choosing a HBPEP for one or more of its members;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA opposes such discriminatory policies, encourages its members to oppose the development and enactment of such discriminatory policies by local school boards, and encourages its members to work toward rescinding such discriminatory policies where they have been adopted. 4/90

8. Home Schoolers Taking Courses in Public Schools

Whereas some home schoolers want to take one or more courses in a public school; and

Whereas the Wisconsin Constitution provides for free public education to all persons ages four through 20 years of age; and

Whereas the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has given advice to local school boards that has led to policies denying home schoolers access to public school courses; and

Whereas some formal policies adopted by local school boards prevent (in highly discriminatory ways) home schoolers from taking public school courses; and

Whereas such policies are often in violation of a parent's and student's rights under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and under Wisconsin's statutes covering equal protection, fair treatment, and anti-discrimination; and

Whereas such policies can deny students equal educational opportunity and have long-term effects on a person's educational and career goals and accomplishments;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA opposes such discriminatory policies, encourages its members to oppose the development and enactment of such discriminatory policies by local school boards, and encourages its members to work toward rescinding such discriminatory policies where they have been adopted. 4/90

9. Unity Among Home Schoolers

Whereas home schoolers come from all walks of life; they home school for a number of different reasons; and they use a variety of curriculums and approaches to education; however, they all have one thing in common, namely, their determination to preserve the right to choose for their children an education consistent with their beliefs and principles; and

Whereas the Wisconsin statutes defining private schools (including home schools) resulted from the hard work of the full range of home schoolers and people involved in other small private schools in this state; and

Whereas home schoolers have organized themselves as Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) to watch and protect their parental rights in education, especially home schooling rights and responsibilities; and

Whereas WPA has steadfastly refused to take any position on approaches to education, religion, moral values, and has fought for the rights of its members and others to make their own decisions in these matters; and

Whereas it is not necessary for home schoolers to agree on educational approaches or religious and moral beliefs and principles in order to work together to secure and preserve the rights and freedoms all home schoolers need in order to make choices; and

Whereas home schoolers are a small minority and are opposed by powerful political interest groups and organizations; and

Whereas Wisconsin has a reasonable home schooling law; and

Whereas the unity of home schoolers on home schooling legislative issues has earned home schoolers respect in the Wisconsin Legislature and has worked to prevent unnecessary regulation of home schoolers; and

Whereas WPA is a grassroots organization which relies on the strength of its own local members rather than "experts," especially out-of-state experts who become involved in state legislative matters;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA affirms its goal of assuring reasonable home schooling laws by working together as a united group that is open to all home schoolers; and

Be it further resolved that WPA opposes any state or national efforts that would split home schoolers into factions and thus weaken the ability of home schoolers to ensure reasonable home schooling laws. 4/90

10. The Primary Role of Parents in Education

Whereas parents are the primary educators of their children; and

Whereas the family has consistently been shown to provide the best environment for a child's growth and development; and

Whereas the family provides continuity of significant human relationships that provide academic, social, emotional, and moral support for a child's learning; and

Whereas a child's interaction with people of many different backgrounds and ages (rather than isolation with age-mates) provides him or her with adult role models and lessens stress and problems of peer pressure and dependence; and

Whereas children are individuals who vary in talents, abilities, and needs and in how and when they learn best; and

Whereas parents understand their children and their styles of learning and their special abilities better than persons who interact with them on a much more limited basis and parents have a stronger bond and commitment to their children; and

Whereas the one-on-one tutorial approach to education available to a home schooled child supports learning without undue pressure or labeling; and

Whereas parents rather than the state are responsible for their children, including their educations, and the state cannot be held accountable for the education of children (as shown through court cases where parents have consistently lost suits against school districts for failing to educate their children);

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members will inform the general public and policy makers of the primary and central role of the parent in education; and

Be it further resolved that WPA and its members will work to ensure that parents retain their freedoms in education. 4/91

11. Opposition to State Control of Education and the Family

Whereas parents are responsible for their children, including their educations; and

Whereas the state has no constitutional, statutory, or common law authority to demand, require, or invoke any specific educational program for a child; and

Whereas the state has no legal authority in education except that available under the federal constitution's policing provision and only within the past 50 years has the citizenry used this authority to extend compulsory attendance laws through the high school years; and

Whereas schools derive their authority from parents and other citizens rather than from federal or state constitutions or authorities but this unfortunately is no longer commonly understood by many citizens; and

Whereas the state is assuming an increasingly large role in education by requiring standardized curriculum and standardized tests, extending the ages covered by compulsory school attendance laws, etc.; and

Whereas the state is tending to reduce parental freedoms by enlisting voluntary participation in publicly supported day care, preschool, four-year-old kindergarten, pre-school screening, parenting classes and home visits by publicly employed school district and/or social service workers to evaluate the development of preschool children and the adequacy of their parents' nurturing and the education they are providing; and

Whereas some parents, caught by the economic and social pressures of our society, are perhaps unknowingly surrendering their rights and responsibilities and allowing the state to take over some of the functions of the family; and

Whereas an increasing number of parents are working hard to regain their freedoms and responsibilities for their families, particularly in the area of education, but are needing to overcome the recently promoted notion that professional specialists in large institutions are authorities in the area of education and child rearing practices and should have a larger say in these basic family activities; and

Whereas home schooling parents recognize that they have a special opportunity and responsibility to demonstrate and defend the right and ability of parents to assume the primary role in their children's education;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members will inform the general public and policy makers of the risks associated with the state's becoming involved in the basic responsibilities of parents and the family; and

Be it further resolved that WPA and its members will work through personal example and actions, their legislators, and other available means to counter encroachments of the state into such family responsibilities. 4/91

12. State goals in education

Whereas in this country, educational goals are now chosen by students and parents, generally assisted by teachers; and

Whereas the compulsory school attendance law requires attendance but does not and cannot dictate the outcome of that education (or there would be no freedom of thought or learning); and

Whereas public schools provide a service for those who choose to use them; and

Whereas the establishment of state goals in education would mean that the law would be requiring "education" rather than attendance; and

Whereas this country was founded in large part on the basis of freedom of thought and belief and with a determination to protect its citizens from the tyranny of state controls over thought and belief; and

Whereas there is no U. S. or Wisconsin constitutional authority for establishing state education goals or for limiting freedom of thought and freedom of education; and

Whereas a free society cannot exist if its citizens are required to have a state education;

Be it resolved by the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members are opposed to the establishment of state goals in education and will work to inform its members and the general public of the problems and risks associated with the establishment of such goals. 4/92

13. America 2000 and Wisconsin 2000

Whereas there now exist national and state education plans and goals known as America 2000 and Wisconsin 2000 which are virtually identical in content and purpose and which would create national and state goals in education; extend the federal and state governments' role in education and family life by merging social services and educational services and extending them into the prenatal period; institute skills clinics; and require state-mandated tests and assessments and/or a national series of assessments and a national curriculum; and

Whereas these plans call for policies and legislation that would have professionals and institutions pass judgment on very young children and their parents and make determinations about people's knowledge, skills, and minds; and

Whereas these plans would change the fundamental role of education from that of providing a service to those who choose to attend a public school, to that of determining the way in which children are raised and the kind of adults they should become; and

Whereas these plans will draw private schools into serving the federal and state governments because in order for private school students to meet the state's skill and career certification requirements for jobs and colleges, private schools will have to administer the state's tests, follow its curriculum, and adopt its values; and

Whereas under these plans the state and schools rather than parents will choose and enforce requirements for what children should know and believe and how they should behave; and

Whereas these plans would further weaken local control of schools and school-based manage-ment and further restrict the decision making authority of teachers and administrators; and

Whereas these plans and their goals are based on using education and schools as the primary if not the sole basis for solving much larger problems in our society such as unemployment, poverty, and inadequate health care and nutrition; and when these are labeled "education goals," education and schools are identified as the problem, education and schools can become even more repressive in their role as agents of social control; and larger underlying problems that do not relate directly to education are neither articulated nor addressed; and

Whereas these plans provide very tempting opportunities for social service and school "experts" to identify (and sometimes even create) problems throughout families (including babies, children, and parents); the more alleged problems are found, the more jobs there will be for the "experts" while the taxpayers have to cover the increasing costs; and

Whereas Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) has taken strong positions through previous resolutions against: a. state control of education and the family; b. the claim that the state has authority over private schools including home-based private educational programs (as distinct from attendance); and c. state-mandated standardized tests; and is committed both to informing and reminding parents that parents have the primary role and responsibility in education and also to ensuring that parents retain their freedoms in education;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members are opposed to American 2000 and Wisconsin 2000 and will work to inform WPA members and the general public of the problems and risks associated with these plans and their goals. 4/92

14. Education Vouchers

Whereas education vouchers being proposed at the federal and state levels of government would allow the government to define education and impose its values, judgments, and often its testing on people; and

Whereas such education vouchers would not be available to the family but only to the institutions that the family selects and which the state certifies as eligible to receive voucher moneys from the state; and

Whereas such education vouchers can easily lead to state control of education similar to a state religion and further control of families; and

Whereas there are better and more direct ways for the state and federal governments to assist families in funding private education, including home schooling, such as reducing taxes to families, increasing tax deductions for dependents, and providing tax credits;

Be it resolved by the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members oppose education vouchers that would require the surrender of educational freedom, and, instead, WPA supports measures that would strengthen families by decreasing their tax burdens and thus leaving them money to use for private education or by returning money directly to the family, thus allowing the family true choice in how moneys are spent for education. 4/92

15. Outcome-Based Education

Whereas under Outcome-Based Education (OBE) the state would set the goals for a child's intellectual, social, emotional, and moral development and then determined whether the child's development in each of these areas was satisfactory; and

Whereas under OBE the government would decide which specific employment skills, living, skills, and attitudes a child should have; and

Whereas the government would enforce its decision by granting or denying a child the certificate or diploma required for further education or a job; and

Whereas OBE represents a basic change in the role of the government in education from that of providing a service to that of requiring specific outcomes; and

Whereas this change would mean that the government's claim of authority would move dramatically beyond compulsory attendance laws to compulsory education laws; and

Whereas compulsory education is inconsistent with freedom of thought and belief and the basic tenets of a free society; and

Whereas OBE blames the problem with our schools, economy, and society on the individual and family rather than the powerful interest groups and bureaucratic organizations; and

Whereas OBE would affect home schoolers because they would be expected to meet the government's goals in education in order to be certified for college or many jobs;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members are opposed to Outcome-Based Education (OBE) and will work to inform WPA members and the general public of the problems and risks associated with OBE. 4/93

16. Government Collaboration

Whereas legislative proposals are being made to combine the budgets, rule making authorities, and exchange of information about individuals and families among the state government departments of education, social services, labor and employment, the judicial system (including law enforcement officials, the courts, and corrections), and the University of Wisconsin-Extension service; and

Whereas such collaboration would greatly expand the authority of the state in the lives of individuals and families, ranging from prenatal care and counseling to day care to mental health assessments and employment services; and

Whereas collaboration would change the role of the government from that of providing a service to those who requested and/or needed it to that of determining which people need help and deciding who is fit for what kind of education and work; and

Whereas such a role combined with the authority of a super-governmental agency would further displace the role and responsibility of the family in raising children, nurturing self-confidence and independence, and supporting a wide range of principles, beliefs, and acceptable ways of learning; and

Whereas there is a growing trend of government using its authority to extract specific behavior in exchange for services and/or money; and

Whereas a government with this kind of authority over the individual would threaten civil liberties, minorities such as home schoolers, and basic freedoms;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members are opposed to legislating such government collaboration and will work to inform WPA members and the general public of the problems and risks associated with such proposals. 4/93

17. Maintain the Distinction Between Public and Private Schools

Whereas in the United States the distinction between public and private schools has always been maintained; and

Whereas this distinction ensures freedom of choice in education including the freedom not to be subject to any doctrinaire ideology, state religion, or monopoly in education; and

Whereas the United States constitution does not grant to the state any authority in education and the states have only quite recently passed compulsory school attendance laws which are based only on the U. S. constitution's policing powers granted to the states; and

Whereas the Wisconsin Department Public of Instruction has authority over public and not private education; and

Whereas recent legislative proposals such as those requiring testing of students in private education (the expansion of the Milwaukee choice program); creating charter schools that are private but subject to the same state testing requirements as public schools and subject to the DPI's approval and audits; and establishing state goals in education including Outcome Based Education goals would place the state and the DPI in authority over private education and would in effect eliminate the distinction between public and private schools; and

Whereas these legislative proposals would destroy three vital distinctions that grant choice and freedom in education to families in this country, namely, the distinctions between public and private education, the distinction between attendance and education, and the DPI having authority over public, not private schools;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members are opposed to proposals that weaken or destroy these distinctions and thereby allow the state to move from requiring attendance to requiring education and from regulating public schools to regulating private schools and that WPA will work to inform WPA members and the general public of the problems and risks associated with such proposals. 4/93

18. Screening, Evaluating, and Labeling Children

Whereas a growing number of government programs screen, evaluate, and label children at earlier and earlier ages; and

Whereas the power of these programs is growing and spreading because they often involve a number of different public and private agencies, organizations, and professionals now working together through new programs to promote collaboration among government agencies; and

Whereas the definition of "children with special needs" has been broadened so that many children who are following their own unique timetables but are well within the range of normal development are now being labeled as "developmentally delayed," or "learning disabled," or some such label; and

Whereas these labels are very destructive because they undermine the confidence of children and parents and become self-fulfilling prophecies; and

Whereas these programs are technically voluntary and require parental permission for children to participate and be evaluated, BUT increasingly parents who allow their children to be evaluated and placed in such programs are unable to get their children out of the programs unless they enroll in a private program or a private school (including homeschools); and

Whereas pressure is being put on parents and the general public to believe that institutions and so-called experts know how to evaluate, label, and train very young children; and

Whereas requiring children to participate in programs and/or schools at early ages is not generally good for children or their families; in fact, there is growing evidence that these programs are detrimental to children and their families; and

Whereas requiring young children to participate in such programs could lead to including younger children in the compulsory school attendance law; and

Whereas requiring participation in such programs could expand the authority of these programs, of the schools in general, and of "professional experts" and further reduce the role and respect given to parents and the family;

Be it resolved by the members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members will work to inform parents about their rights and responsibilities in education; to inform parents about the problems associated with screening, evaluating, and labeling of children, including very young children; and inform parents about how they can get their children out of such programs. 4/94

19. The Federal Government and Homeschooling

Whereas the U. S. Constitution gives no authority to the federal or state governments in the area of education; and

Whereas rights and powers not granted to the state are reserved for the people; and

Whereas section 432 of the federal statute General Education Provisions Act of 1970 states that the federal government may not control education; and

Whereas the states have the authority to control schooling through compulsory school attendance laws based on the policing powers granted to the states by the U. S. Constitution; and

Whereas the federal government acquires its power in the area of education by providing money and services to people through public schools in exchange for their compliance with the federal government's regulations; and

Whereas if people request exemptions from federal education programs, they give authority to the federal government that it would not otherwise have, lose part of their freedom, and gain little if anything in return since the states rather than the federal government directly control public schools; and

Whereas once homeschools are named in federal education statutes there is the strong possibility that federal regulations will be written that define and establish criteria for what a homeschool needs to be in order to qualify for participation in programs and services; and

Whereas states might use such federal definitions and regulations to justify changing state homeschooling laws in order to be eligible to receive federal moneys;

Be it resolved by the members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members oppose seeking funding or participation in federal education programs for homeschooling and oppose asking the federal government to protect or exempt homeschoolers from federal education programs. 4/94

20. Privacy and Homeschooling

Whereas there are increasing efforts by government, researchers, schools, and big business interests to identify and track the behaviors, values, interests, abilities, buying habits, and risks of individuals and families in our society; and

Whereas increasing efforts are being made to screen and evaluate children's abilities and development and to assess how well families are preparing their children for school and the values of the school; and

Whereas screening, labeling, and recording of information about young children may threaten a family's freedom to homeschool; and

Whereas identification and tracking systems and practices not only invade one' privacy but also put authorities, institutions, professionals, and businesses in the position of judging and labeling children, parents, and families and thereby threatening their freedoms; and

Whereas a federal bill may soon be reintroduced to promote immunization and establish the first federal registry of all children beginning at birth; and

Whereas a bill was recently introduced in the Wisconsin legislature that would help protect people's privacy by significantly restricting the identification, tracking, and surveillance practices that can be used by government, businesses, and schools, including limiting the use of social security numbers to identify and track people;

Be it resolved by the members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members will work to inform people of practices that invade their privacy and threaten their freedom and will work to support legislation that will protect people's privacy. 4/94

21. The Independence of the Homeschooling Movement

Whereas the homeschooling movement has to do with choosing an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs; and

Whereas maintaining this freedom requires the commitment of a diverse group of people; and

Whereas basic freedoms, including freedom of choice in one's principles and beliefs, are central to our democratic society; and

Whereas the homeschooling movement has succeeded by recognizing and working for the freedom of choice for all families rather than for just those people associated with a particular political party, religious belief, ideology, educational philosophy, or approach to homeschooling; and

Whereas there is a tendency by the media and by the general public and sometimes within the homeschooling movement to characterize and label homeschoolers in political and religious terms; and

Whereas understanding and tolerating the differences of people in a free society has been one of the by-words of American society as expressed in the words: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.";

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA recognizes that the homeschooling movement is first and foremost a movement of freedom of choice in one's principles and beliefs; that it includes and relies on people from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs to maintain its freedoms; and that it works to maintain those freedoms for all families.

Be it further resolved that WPA will work to inform the general public that the homeschooling movement is primarily a movement to maintain freedom of choice in one's principles and beliefs and is not a partisan political or religious or ideological movement. 4/95

22. Families First

Whereas social service and educational professionals, corporations, the media, and public policy makers are increasingly identifying the family as the primary cause of many of our social problems; and

Whereas these same interests have tremendous political power through their professional associations, institutions, companies, and access to the media; and

Whereas addressing the complexity of social problems includes assigning significant responsibility for our problems to the very professions, institutions, corporations, and government bureaucracies that hold most of the power in our society; and

Whereas some of these interests are now advocating fundamental changes in the rights, authority, and role of the family including having professionals rather than parents decide what is in the best interests of the child, reducing the age at which a child may be jailed, requiring parents to undergo mental health treatment if their children are accused of breaking a law, removing trial by jury for parents and children in matters having to do with family life and alleged criminal behavior by children and youth, authorizing judges to making rulings and dispositions regarding children and their parents that are the "most effective" in the eyes of a judge and the state rather than the "least restrictive" of individual and family rights and responsibilities; and

Whereas the family is the basic unit of society and has been shown consistently to be the best place for resolving difficulties that arise within a family and within society at large except in the most extreme cases; and

Whereas the policies outlined above would be a severe repression of fundamental freedoms and civil liberties as they relate to the family and would also be the most basic undermining of the role and function of the family this society has witnessed; and

Whereas members of both political parties and the professional and corporate power centers of this nation support such policies; and

Whereas professional and corporate interests represent a very small percentage of the American people; and

Whereas most families do not have institutional or organizational avenues for having their opinions and concerns heard; and

Whereas families are not only the basic unit of society but the best place for carrying out the basic activities, work, and nurturing that a society needs; and

Whereas the importance of families has been weakened by policies that place professional, institutional, economic, and governmental interests ahead of the family;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to advance the principle of Families First by informing the public of the importance of the family to society, the strengths families have, the benefits of putting families first; and WPA will work to inform people of the challenges to the importance and integrity of the family, including how these challenges affect all families, not just those involved with social services or the juvenile justice system. 4/95

23. Homeschooling, Educational Reform, Freedoms, and Money

Whereas homeschoolers have regained significant freedom of thought and belief by working to establish and maintain their independence as private schools; and

Whereas many of the educational reform initiatives authorize the state to have a greater role in public education and, through choice initiatives, certain private schools; and

Whereas many of these reforms such as Goals 2000, Outcome-Based Education programs, performance-based assessment, school choice and voucher programs, charter schools, and distance learning programs are state programs and involve state goals and assessments and begin at very early ages; and

Whereas the state goals and assessments apply to a student's intellectual, social, physical, and moral development; and

Whereas the state is initiating more collaboration, including exchange of confidential information, among many government agencies including social services, schools, juvenile justice, public health agencies, police, district attorneys, and university extension services; and

Whereas certain school reform initiatives designed to "break the mold" of public or conventional schools nevertheless carry with them the state's goals, assessments, and collaboration; and

Whereas some of these new programs might in the future involve educational services that would come directly to the home through a voucher or distance learning program in conjunction with a charter school; and

Whereas there may be a desire and temptation on the part of some homeschoolers to view direct educational services to the home as "homeschools" and such programs may be called "homeschools" by others; and

Whereas such programs would inevitably be accompanied by the state's goals and testing programs and perhaps also computer and television and other electronic surveillance and accountability intrusions into the home;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members oppose any such program that would require the surrender of educational freedom or place homeschools under the authority of the state in exchange for educational services or money, and, instead WPA supports measures that would strengthen families by decreasing their tax burdens and thus leaving them money to use for private education or by returning money directly to the family, thus allowing the family true choice in how moneys are spent for education. 4/95

24. Maintaining Wisconsin's Homeschooling Law

Whereas Wisconsin has a reasonable homeschooling law that homeschoolers have worked hard to pass and maintain; and

Whereas homeschoolers are a small minority; and

Whereas there are interests that are politically and financially powerful that would like to see increased regulation of homeschools by the state; and

Whereas any change to the homeschooling law or any privilege or benefit to homeschoolers that might be proposed, such as providing legislatively that homeschoolers be counted for state aids when taking one or more courses in a public school, could easily open up the homeschooling law for debate, change, and amendment; and

Whereas legislating any privilege or benefit gives the state additional authority and power over the people that receive it;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to maintain the homeschooling law in Wisconsin as it is; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work to inform the general public and legislators that we are not asking the legislature to pass laws that would increase the privileges or benefits granted to homeschoolers by the state and that we are not asking for clarification of laws relating to homeschools. 5/96

25. Maintaining the Fundamental Foundation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Whereas the primary rights and responsibilities of people are given by God or nature and not by the state; and

Whereas parental rights and responsibilities for rearing children, especially in the areas of education, health, and welfare, are so fundamental that they cannot be realistically reduced to statutory or constitutional language; and

Whereas the state does not now have at any level of government (federal, state, or local) the authority to direct how a child should be educated, cared for, or nurtured; (For example, compulsory school attendance laws require attendance but do not require education.) and

Whereas once people ask the state for protection in areas such as education, health, and welfare, they give over authority to the state and allow the state (through laws, regulations, public and private agencies, professionals, and the courts) to direct how children are raised; and

Whereas by doing this, people would greatly increase the power and authority of the state; and

Whereas homeschoolers in Wisconsin working through Wisconsin Parents Association have shown that our freedom is best protected by the actions of families taking direct responsibility for the education of their children and informing people in their communities that homeschooling works;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to inform the general public and legislators that we are not asking federal or state legislatures to pass laws or constitutional amendments to protect the rights and responsibilities of parents or families. 5/96

26. Attempts by the State to Determine Eligibility to Homeschool

Whereas Wisconsin has a reasonable homeschooling law that is working well; and

Whereas Wisconsin's homeschooling law protects both the rights of families to homeschool and the interest of the state to see that its citizens do not grow up to be a burden on the state; and

Whereas any law that establishes eligibility requirements for homeschooling undermines the rights and responsibilities of parents to choose for their children an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas any law that gives the state the right to determine who is eligible to homeschool gives the state inappropriate authority in private education; and

Whereas attempts to solve truancy problems by passing legislation that makes habitual truants ineligible to homeschool would thereby undermine the rights and responsibilities of parents; and

Whereas truancy is a complex problem that could not be solved by such legislation; and

Whereas Wisconsin already has laws to deal with truancy, child abuse and neglect, and juvenile crime;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will continue to work to maintain Wisconsin's reasonable homeschooling law and will oppose legislation that would establish eligibility requirements for homeschooling; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work to inform parents and the general public (including other people involved in private education) and legislators of the unacceptability and risks of giving the state the right to determine who is eligible to homeschool. 4/97

27. School-To-Work Programs

Whereas school-to-work programs would greatly increase the influence that schools have over people's lives by giving the schools the authority to issue "certificates of initial mastery" and "certificates of advanced mastery" that would be required for some jobs; and

Whereas school-to-work programs aim to change the fundamental nature of schooling by requiring that students acquire certain knowledge, skills, abilities, and values in order to pass the tests that lead to the certificates; and

Whereas proposed state and national standards in education give the government the authority and ability to require that students acquire specific knowledge, skills, and abilities; and

Whereas these standards would set a dangerous precedent by allowing the state to require compulsory education (current laws require compulsory school attendance but not compulsory education); and

Whereas school-to-work programs and state and national standards in education would combine to give the government increased power and authority over people's lives; and

Whereas school-to-work programs include testing to determine the knowledge, skills, abilities, and values that are held by students; and

Whereas school-to-work programs would affect homeschoolers who are interested in jobs that require certificates of initial and advanced mastery;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will continue to oppose state and national standards in education (see WPA resolution "America 2000 and Wisconsin 2000" 4/92) and will oppose school-to-work programs; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work to inform the general public and legislators of the problems with school-to-work programs. 4/97

28. Day-Time Curfews, Truancy Sweeps, and ID Cards for Homeschoolers

Whereas state and local governments and public and private agencies are using increasingly repressive measures to try to keep young people in school, including day-time curfews and police pick-ups of young people who are not inside a school building during "school hours;" and

Whereas such repressive measures have not been shown to be effective in any case but rather have often been found to be counterproductive; and

Whereas these measures are a severe infringement of people's basic freedoms and civil liberties, including the freedom to be in public places and not be interrogated or arrested without reasonable evidence and due process, and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; and

Whereas truancy sweeps and ID cards issued to young people by the state through a school district mean that the state has claimed the authority to determine who is free and who is not, which replaces parental responsibility and authority with institutions and the police; and

Whereas the ID cards do not prevent children, including children as young as five or six (or younger if a current legislative bill AB686 passes), from being stopped and questioned by police, social workers, or others designated by public schools to enforce truancy laws; and

Whereas these measures send strong negative messages of dislike and mistrust to young people, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding citizens; and

Whereas such gross infringements on civil liberties and the basic tenants of a free society threaten the freedom of all of us, not just young people in cities where such repressive measures are practiced;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work through its members to oppose the use of ID cards for homeschoolers, day-time curfews, and truancy sweeps; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work through its members to inform parents, the general public, and legislators of the unacceptability and risk of such laws and practices. 5/98

29. The Real Cost of Tax Credits for Homeschoolers' Educational Expenses

Whereas state and federal governments are proposing tax credits for educational expenses and are trying to convince homeschoolers to support such proposals by including homeschooling expenses; and

Whereas specific expenses such as "educational" expenses qualify for tax credits only if those expenses meet the state's standards in education, schools qualify only if they are accredited or in some other way approved by the state, tutors qualify only if they are officially licensed, etc.; and

Whereas tax credits are one way for the government to get people to do things the government wants them to do whether or not these things are best for all, or even some of, the people; and

Whereas government accountability strings will affect not just homeschoolers who decide to take the tax credits but will inevitably spread to all homeschoolers as voluntary compliance turns into mandatory requirement; and

Whereas tax credits do not result in significant financial benefit to a family because they are carefully designed to limit the amount of money individuals and families can save or receive; and

Whereas either general tax credits to all families that are not tied to educational expenditures or an increase in the basic tax deduction for children would be much better ways to benefit families while allowing each family to decide where and how to spend money for education;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will continue to work through its members to maintain Wisconsin's reasonable homeschooling law and will oppose initiatives that would increase state regulation of homeschools in exchange for tax credits; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work through its members to inform parents and the general public and legislators of the unacceptability and risks of such initiatives. 5/98

30. Impact on Homeschooling Freedoms of Homeschoolers' Qualifying for Public School Sports Teams

Whereas homeschoolers have regained significant freedom of thought and belief by working to establish and maintain ourselves as private schools independent of public schools; and

Whereas Wisconsin has a reasonable homeschooling law that homeschoolers have worked hard to get passed and to maintain; and

Whereas homeschoolers are a very small minority but large and powerful interest groups are pressing for increased state regulation of homeschooling; and

Whereas, in order for Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) rules to be changed so that homeschoolers could participate on public school sports teams, homeschools would have to comply with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)'s policies and regulations, including the DPI's definition of a full-time student, standards for acceptable curriculum, determinations of scholastic standing in terms of grades and credits through testing, and other demonstrations of qualifications that are consistent with public school standards and approaches to education; and

Whereas if just a few homeschoolers convinced the WIAA to change its rules to allow homeschoolers to play on public school teams, this would result in state oversight and intrusion into homeschools; and

Whereas, once in place, such state regulation of homeschools could easily spread to other areas of homeschooling and over time to all homeschoolers; and

Whereas young people who want to play sports can either choose from among opportunities available outside public schools or can enroll in public schools, but families who want to homeschool can only do so under the laws and regulations of the state of Wisconsin (which would be less favorable to homeschoolers if WIAA rules were changed to allow homeschoolers to play on public school sports teams);

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will continue to work through its members to maintain Wisconsin's reasonable homeschooling law and will oppose initiatives that would increase state regulation of homeschooling in exchange for the opportunity for a few homeschoolers (who were interested and judged to be qualified) to play on public school sports teams; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work through its members to inform parents and the general public and legislators of the unacceptability and risks of such initiatives. 5/98

31. High Schools' Mock Trial Involving a Homeschooler

Whereas the 1998 Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament, sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin, presented an extremely negative and misleading impression of homeschoolers (see their 1998 Handbook of Case Materials); and

Whereas the case materials developed by the State Bar of Wisconsin and distributed to high schools throughout the state foster misunderstanding and unwarranted prejudice against homeschoolers; and

Whereas the materials reduce truancy to a simplistic behavior and fail to distinguish between compulsory attendance and compulsory education; and

Whereas the materials are similar to the highly prejudicial and misinformed testimony presented at a hearing in April, 1997, before the Wisconsin Senate Education Committee by a judge who was supporting SB106, the bill he had asked Senator Breske to introduce to increase state regulation of homeschooling, and this same judge served on the committee of the State Bar of Wisconsin that prepared the case materials; and

Whereas pp. 91-93 of the case materials present the testimony of a fictitious librarian, Blair Prescott, who discloses the identity and activity of a library patron (the homeschooler), thereby violating Section 43.30 (1) of the Wisconsin Statutes which prohibits such disclosure except by court order (the case materials make no mention of such an order); and

Whereas these irresponsible case materials do a serious disservice to our judicial system, librarians, high school students, teachers, parents, and homeschoolers;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work through its members to inform homeschoolers and the general public of the misinformation contained in these case materials and to encourage people to better understand homeschoolers, the very positive effect homeschoolers have in their local communities, and the strong relations that exist between librarians and homeschoolers. 5/98

32. Graduation Test

Whereas recent legislation requires that beginning in 2003, public school students must pass a state-mandated graduation test in order to receive a diploma; and

Whereas in the future this test could be required of private school students (including homeschoolers) either in exchange for vouchers or merely because the state decides such tests are a good idea for private school students; and

Whereas such standardized tests are unfair and biased against women, minorities, and people who do not have the same values and experiences as those who design the test; and

Whereas such tests do not measure important qualities such as common sense, honesty, integrity, mechanical ability, etc.; and

Whereas in order to prepare for and pass such tests, a student needs to follow a curriculum similar to those used in public schools and to adopt, at least temporarily, the values and attitudes of those who designed the test, and thereby give up the opportunity to pursue an education consistent with his/her principles and beliefs; and

Whereas the Governor's 1999 budget bill calls for eliminating the provision in current law that guarantees the right of parents to exempt their children from taking the graduation test; and

Whereas the graduation test would inevitably lead to public and private school students (including homeschoolers) using a single curriculum, thereby undermining the ability of families to choose an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas homeschools in Wisconsin have been successful in large part because, in the absence of a state-mandated test, they have been free to choose or develop a curriculum that works well for their family;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members oppose the graduation test as a state mandate and oppose the repeal of the law that guarantees the right of parents to exempt their children from the graduation test; and

Be it further resolved that we will work to inform homeschoolers, the Legislature, and the general public of problems associated with both the graduation test and the repeal of the law that guarantees the right of parents to exempt their children from it. 5/99

33. Legislation That Undermines Homeschooling Freedoms

Whereas homeschoolers are a small minority that has regained its rightful educational freedoms in Wisconsin through hard work and maintained them through constant vigilance; and

Whereas our approach to education is generally not understood or shared by the majority of people in our society; and

Whereas our elected representatives are accustomed to providing state programs in education in exchange for state regulation of schools by means of state goals, state educational standards, state-mandated tests, state audits of educational institutions, and state prescriptions of who is qualified to teach and/or receive benefits; and

Whereas most homeschoolers value their homeschooling freedoms more than they value receiving conventional state schooling benefits such as tax credits for educational expenses or educational vouchers; and

Whereas legislation supposedly designed to ensure that homeschoolers can participate in public school programs is unnecessary (because the few homeschoolers who want to participate can make the necessary arrangements with their local school districts) and would undermine our homeschooling freedoms; and

Whereas legislators may hear from a few homeschoolers who want some of the supposed benefits even though they undermine our homeschooling freedoms; and

Whereas legislators are accustomed to introducing bills when constituents ask for legislation that would give them government money; and

Whereas legislation that would undermine our homeschooling freedoms is likely to be adopted unless a significant number of homeschoolers actively communicate with their legislators both before such legislation is introduced and, if necessary, after it has been introduced;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA and its members will work to ensure that their legislators understand that homeschoolers value their freedom more than they value legislation that would cost them their freedom, including legislation that at first may seem to provide benefits. 5/99

34. Laws designed to prevent certain families from homeschooling

Whereas constant pressure for increased regulation of homeschooling comes from a number of sources; and

Whereas legislation that increases regulations for any homeschooler inevitably increases regulations for all homeschoolers and when laws are designed to prevent certain families from homeschooling, everybody loses homeschooling freedoms; and

Whereas such laws would make the state the judge of all homeschoolers in order to prevent a very few from homeschooling; and

Whereas the argument that "homeschooling families that are doing a good job should not object to requirements designed to ensure that children are getting a 'good education'" only works if families don't mind being investigated and having their privacy invaded and if families are willing to have their homeschools judged by the standards the state has chosen for education; and

Whereas legislation that unnecessarily regulates homeschooling is unconstitutional because it undermines the fundamental character of homeschools and forces them to conform to public school standards and approaches, thus interfering with families' rights to choose for their children an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas some so-called "unqualified" homeschoolers are dropouts and expelled students who have been told to homeschool by school officials, although dropouts and expelled students should not be forced into homeschooling; and

Whereas Wisconsin already has strong truancy laws and people who have been charged with truancy and then begin homeschooling can be prosecuted for having been truant; and

Whereas laws that increase state regulation of homeschooling interfere with homeschools that are working well. An old legal maxim states, "Hard cases make bad laws,"); and

Whereas the restrictive truancy laws that have been passed in Wisconsin recently have not solved truancy problems; and

Whereas laws that would allow the state to determine who is qualified to homeschool would give the state too much power over homeschoolers;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work through its members to oppose laws that would prevent some people from homeschooling and will work through its members to inform parents, the general public, and legislators of the unacceptability and risk of such laws and practices. 5/00

35. Survey Research on Homeschooling

Whereas survey research on homeschooling undermines our homeschooling freedoms in several ways, including the following:

• Survey research is generally designed to compare homeschoolers to students in conventional schools, using the standards of conventional schools, which implies that homeschools should adopt the standards, practices, and values of conventional schools and assumes that these are the only correct ones.

• People who feel homeschoolers should be required to take state-mandated tests can point to survey research that includes homeschoolers' scores on standardized tests as evidence that homeschoolers are willing to take such tests.

• Research that indicates that even a very small number of homeschoolers are not complying with their state's homeschooling law could be used by critics of homeschooling to claim that increased regulation of homeschooling is necessary.

• Research that shows that many homeschooling parents have a certain educational background, income level, etc. could be used to argue that all homeschooling parents should be required to have similar education, income level, etc.; and

Whereas it is very difficult to draw a representative sample of homeschoolers because some states do not require homeschoolers to register and states such as Wisconsin that require that parents file a form with the state fortunately are not willing to supply the names of homeschoolers to researchers. Therefore, when evaluated by the standards used by social scientists, survey research on homeschoolers is inaccurate and misleading; and

Whereas many families feel that the questions asked by researchers do not cover the most important reasons that they have chosen to homeschool; and

Whereas assurances of confidentiality of information do not mean much when the practice is that many people have access to this data in the name of research and increasingly government agencies can use and exchange data in the best interests of the state and/or child; and

Whereas more accurate information about what homeschooling is really like comes from cases studies of current and grown up homeschoolers and adequate evidence that homeschooling is working well comes from the lack of reports of homeschoolers having difficulty when they enter school, college, or the workforce, despite the fact that opponents of homeschooling look for such problems; and

Whereas researchers continue to probe deeper and deeper, claiming that each survey research report demonstrates the need for more research;

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work through its members to educate people about the problems connected with survey research, especially on homeschoolers; to encourage homeschoolers not to participate in survey research on homeschooling; and to oppose the use of the results of survey research to justify increased regulation of homeschooling. 5/00

36. Standardized Testing Required by the Federal or State Government

Whereas schools need to prepare students for tests they are required to take, which means that required tests dictate what curriculum will be used and how it will be taught; and

Whereas federal testing represents a major increase in government control of education because although states, not the federal government, have the policing authority to make laws that govern schools, the federal government is claiming it has the authority to require federal testing of students in schools that accept money from the federal government; and

Whereas federal testing is especially powerful because it applies the same requirements to the whole country, undermining local control, diversity of thought and belief, and freedom of education; and

Whereas any public or private school that accepts federal funding for any reason may be required to administer federal tests to its students, so that federal tests may be required of private schools that would be free from regulation by the government as long as they did not accept tax dollars, which means that private schools lose an important part of their long-standing independence of significant regulation by the government, and homeschoolers' claim that they should not be required to take government tests because they are private schools would be weakened; and

Whereas the Milwaukee Choice Program allows federal and state funds to go to religious schools, so that even religious schools may begin requiring their students to take federal tests (in addition to the state tests that are already required of religious schools that participate in the Choice Program); and

Whereas standardized tests can be used to label children, to justify additional testing, and to control the choices parents have in where and how their children will be educated; and

Whereas government-mandated standardized testing means that the state rather than parents would decide when children are ready for tests, what tests will be used, how and where tests will be administered, and what action will be taken based on the results; and

Whereas in order to prepare for and pass such tests, students need to follow a curriculum similar to those used in public schools and to adopt, at least temporarily, the values and attitudes of those who designed the test, and thereby give up the opportunity to pursue an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas homeschools in Wisconsin have been successful in large part because they have not been required to take tests required either by the state or by the federal government, so they have been free to choose or develop a curriculum that works well for their family; and

Whereas if homeschoolers accept money from the federal or state government in the form of vouchers, choice programs, tax credits, tax deductions, or in other ways, homeschoolers will voluntarily give the federal or state government a basis for claiming that homeschoolers should be required to take government-mandated tests; therefore,

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA is opposed to testing required by the federal government and will work to prevent its being mandated for homeschoolers; and

Be it further resolved that WPA reaffirms the commitment it has made in previous resolutions to work to oppose programs that would provide homeschoolers with money from the government and will work to inform homeschoolers and others about the risks of accepting such money. 5/01

37. Homeschools Defined by Law as One Family Unit

Whereas Wisconsin statutes state that, "'Home-based private educational program' means a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child's parent or guardian or by a person designated by the parent or guardian. An instructional program provided to more than one family unit does not constitute a home-based private educational program." (s. 115.001[3g]); and

Whereas a homeschool in Wisconsin is a private school that is limited to one family unit; and

Whereas a national homeschooling organization based outside of Wisconsin has informed some homeschoolers in Wisconsin that they can disobey this part of the statutes by using a questionable legal technicality; and

Whereas Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) is committed to informing homeschoolers about the importance of complying with Wisconsin's reasonable homeschooling law and maintaining the relationship of trust we have with the Wisconsin Legislature and therefore WPA opposes the idea of using a technicality to circumvent this statute; and

Whereas it is reasonable that small groups of homeschooling families who get together occasionally to participate in educational activities that involve a parent or guardian from all or almost all of the families are not in violation of this statute; and

Whereas homeschooling parents are unlikely to be considered in violation of this statute if they provide children from other family units with instruction (such as music lessons) that is independent of the homeschooling program they provide their own children; and

Whereas anyone who sets up a program that provides children from more than one family unit with a significant portion of the 875 hours of instruction required by Wisconsin statutes can reasonably be considered to be in violation of the law (Such programs blur the commonly understood distinction between homeschools and conventional schools that needs to be maintained to ensure that homeschools are not subject to regulations placed on public schools or on private schools that are not homeschools [even though homeschools are one type of private school]. Also, parents or guardians who are homeschooling their own children are jeopardizing their homeschooling status if they provide a significant program of instruction to children from other homeschooling family units.); and

Whereas so-called "homeschooling cooperatives" (in which children from more than one family unit are provided with a significant portion of the required 875 hours of instruction by some of the parents or guardians or by people they hire) are not legally considered to be homeschools in Wisconsin and therefore participants should not file form PI-1206 with the Department of Public Instruction (however, such families can form a small private school that is not a homeschool, which is not difficult to do in Wisconsin); and

Whereas WPA strongly opposes any attempt to change this statute because such an attempt would open the homeschooling law and allow opponents of homeschooling an easy opportunity to increase regulation of homeschooling, which many people would try to do, especially if the intent of the legislation were to make it easier for homeschoolers to organize themselves into school-like programs; therefore,

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA supports Wisconsin's homeschooling law and will work to ensure that people are informed about the provision that Wisconsin homeschools are limited to one family unit. 5/01

38. Public E-Schools

Whereas public e-schools are public schools that are located in homes by means of a computer and the requirements and oversight of federal and state governments; and

Whereas these schools are often called homeschools and the public will undoubtedly view them as homeschools; and

Whereas these public schools require state and federal testing of students; and

Whereas such schools are required to meet federal and state standards; and

Whereas such tests and standards will dictate the curriculum of the schools; and

Whereas state and federally mandated curriculums eliminate any real choice in how an actual homeschool could have an education consistent with a family's principles and beliefs because they limit the family's choice in curriculum and methods; and

Whereas over time the general public and legislatures are highly likely to regard public e-schools and actual homeschools as very similar if not the same and therefore are very likely to impose the same testing and curriculum requirements on actual homeschools as they do on public e-schools; and

Whereas parents choosing public e-schools can get a similar if not the same education through regular public schools or private e-schools; and

Whereas once actual homeschools come under regulation similar to that required of public e-schools, parents seeking an education consistent with their principles and beliefs will no longer be able to choose to homeschool in a way that is consistent with their principles and beliefs because the regulations will limit the family's choice of curriculum and methods; and

Whereas public e-schools would limit the choices available to parents rather than increasing them; and

Whereas public e-schools displace the role and authority of parents and families; and

Whereas public e-schools would funnel large amounts of tax money through school districts and turn them into profits for corporations that are promoting such schools; and

Whereas promoters of public e-schools are taking unfair advantage of laws relating to open enrollment, charter schools, and state aids for education that were not designed to deal with such schools; therefore,

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA is opposed to public e-schools and will work to inform homeschoolers and the general public of the problems with these schools and;

Be it further resolved that WPA will work to ensure that public e-schools and corporations that promote them do not become a basis for increased, unnecessary regulation of homeschools. 5/02

39. Government Imposed Immunizations

Whereas bills have been introduced in several states, including Wisconsin, authorizing the governor to require that all citizens be immunized against one or more diseases by declaring a public health emergency; and

Whereas there would in effect be no exceptions to this requirement since those objecting or refusing to be immunized for reasons of health, religion, or personal conviction would be placed in quarantine; and

Whereas giving the government this authority would override existing statutory law that recognizes and provides for exemptions from required immunizations based on health, religion, or personal conviction; and

Whereas clear evidence indicates that immunizations are sometimes unsafe, dangerous, and even fatal; and

Whereas those who believe that immunizations are effective and receive them should be protected against the diseases in question and therefore should not be harmed by those who choose not to be immunized; and

Whereas this kind of legislation is driven more by fear than reason; and

Whereas granting such authority to the government could set a precedent for the loss of other civil liberties unless people exercise reason and independence; therefore,

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA is opposed to such legislation and will work to prevent it and similar legislation from being passed. 5/02

40. Education Vouchers, Educational Investment Accounts, and Tax Credits and Deductions for Education

Whereas education vouchers, educational investment accounts, and tax credits and deductions for education that are being proposed at the federal and state levels of government would allow the government to define education and impose its values, judgments, and often its testing on people; and

Whereas such education vouchers would not be given to families but only to the institutions that families select from among those the state has certified as eligible to receive money from the state through vouchers; and

Whereas such education vouchers can easily lead to state control of education and further control of families; and

Whereas legislation providing for educational investment accounts and tax credits and deductions tied to educational expenses sets the terms of who, what, and under what conditions one qualifies for such tax breaks, including defining key terms such as teacher, educator, homeschool, private school, educational expense, etc.; and

Whereas defining, interpreting, and applying such key terms provides federal and state governments with the authority to further regulate private schooling including homeschools; and

Whereas monitoring (including auditing) the use of such tax breaks, credits, and deductions can further define and regulate homeschools; and

Whereas there are other publicly funded services that we as citizens pay taxes for (such as fire departments and prisons) but hope we will not use their services for ourselves; and

Whereas there are better and more direct ways for the state and federal governments to assist families in funding private education (including home schooling), such as reducing taxes to families and increasing tax deductions and credits for dependents;

Be it resolved that members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA opposes education vouchers, educational investment accounts, and tax credits and deductions for education that would require the surrender of educational freedom, and, instead, WPA supports measures that would strengthen families either by decreasing their tax burdens and thus leaving them money to use for private education or by returning money directly to families, thus allowing families true choice in how moneys are spent for education. 5/03

41. Maintaining the Distinction Between Public Schools and Homeschools (and Other Private Schools)

Whereas public school administrators and officials are contacting homeschoolers through surveys, invitations to public meetings, and other announcements in an effort to bring homeschoolers into the public schools; and

Whereas private companies in conjunction with public schools are marketing public e-schools to homeschoolers; and

Whereas although homeschoolers come from all walks of life, homeschool for a number of different reasons, and use a variety of curriculums and approaches to education, they all have one thing in common, namely, their determination to preserve the right to choose for their children an education consistent with their beliefs and principles; and

Whereas homeschoolers have organized themselves as Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) to watch and protect their parental rights in education, especially homeschooling rights and responsibilities; and

Whereas WPA has steadfastly refused to take any position on approaches to education, curriculum, religion, moral values, and has fought for the rights of its members and others to make their own decisions in these matters; and

Whereas homeschoolers are a small minority and are opposed by powerful political interest groups and organizations; and

Whereas the distinction between public and private schools, including homeschools, is essential to the preservation of homeschoolers' freedom to choose an education consistent with their principles and beliefs since public schools require state standards and testing that determine the curriculum and values and beliefs of students attending public schools even if they are located in students' homes; and

Whereas the distinction between public schools and homeschools is being blurred through the initiatives of public schools to bring homeschoolers into the public schools, especially into public e-schools; and

Whereas persons who choose public e-schools or similar public school programs that are considered to be homeschools by the general public often see their choice to enroll in such a public school program as equivalent to the freedom to choose homeschooling as a private school; and

Whereas the freedom to choose an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs can easily be lost unless homeschoolers explicitly and publicly make clear that choosing public school programs such as public e-schools is not just a decision to place one's children under the values and beliefs of the state but threatens the more basic freedom to choose homeschooling as a private school;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to insure that the basic right to choose an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs is maintained for homeschoolers by informing homeschoolers and the general public that public school programs including public e-schools that are marketed to homeschoolers threaten the freedom to choose an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will encourage homeschoolers to make known explicitly and publicly how such public school programs marketed to homeschoolers threatens our basic homeschooling freedoms. 5/03

42. The Media and Homeschooling

Whereas the media in the United States holds enormous power to persuade and to inform or misinform the public; and

Whereas the media is a primary source of news for most people, including those who hold it in low regard; and

Whereas the media seldom does in-depth, independent fact-finding but rather relies on experts in universities, think tanks, foundations, and large organizations for the news they report; and

Whereas the media increasingly reports at face value the views and prejudices of government officials instead of playing the media's historic role as the "fourth estate" of questioning, if not challenging, government officials on behalf of those who hold less political power; and

Whereas minority groups such as homeschoolers are especially susceptible to being misrepresented since we are not large in number, are not wealthy, and are not politically powerful; and

Whereas maintaining our homeschooling freedoms requires that the general public and elected representatives be well informed about homeschooling and the rights and responsibilities of homeschoolers; and

Whereas homeschoolers in Wisconsin have secured and maintained their homeschooling freedoms in large part through the work of thousands of homeschooling families accurately informing their elected officials, school boards, school officials, and the media and, when necessary, correcting misinformation reported in the media;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to inform its members and homeschoolers throughout the state about the importance of responding to misinformation reported in the media so that homeschoolers can maintain the positive reputation homeschoolers have worked to achieve with the general public and can maintain our homeschooling freedoms. 5/04

43. Student Identification Database Systems

Whereas federal and state governments are requiring that more and more personal information about any family that receives government education services be collected, stored, and used in government controlled databases; and

Whereas these databases include or will soon include a great deal of personal information that goes well beyond the names and addresses of families to include nicknames, disabilities, income level, occupation, test scores, etc.; and

Whereas the information collected serves the interests and values of those designing the database systems and not the interests of parents or students and more specifically not the interests of homeschoolers; and

Whereas information within such government database systems can by law be shared with other government agencies; and

Whereas knowing information about a person or family gives power over that person or family; and

Whereas school officials have sought this kind of information and power over homeschoolers for the past 20 years in Wisconsin; and

Whereas school officials knowingly or unknowingly have exceeded their authority regarding the privacy of parents and students and will undoubtedly do so with regard to these database systems; and

Whereas individual homeschoolers may not realize that their decision to seek or accept government education services or education tax benefits would easily lead to their inclusion in such government databases and would then affect all homeschoolers by setting precedents and/or establishing the idea that homeschoolers are willing to exchange their privacy and freedoms for government education services or tax benefits;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will continue to work to inform its members, homeschoolers throughout the state, and the public about problems related to student identification database systems and how homeschoolers can work to ensure that they are not included.

44. Mental Health Screening

Whereas an increasing number of federal and state mental health screening programs are being established to screen preschool and school children as well as young children, teens, and adults; and

Whereas the questions asked during the screenings are so general and ambiguous that nearly anyone could be identified as mentally ill or in need of further testing; and

Whereas doctors, workers in health clinics, school personnel, social service workers, juvenile justice authorities, etc. are all being encouraged to conduct such screenings, and people may not realize that they are being screened; and

Whereas screenings are especially targeted at groups considered marginal to the mainstream of our society because of their practices, small numbers, and/or anti-social behavior (categories in which homeschoolers could easily be included); and

Whereas certain institutions and professionals are either suspicious or critical of homeschooling or have vested interests in stopping people from homeschooling; and

Whereas mental health screenings could be used as an effective way to curtail homeschooling; and

Whereas the pharmaceutical industry is spending large sums of money to encourage professionals and legislators to promote mental health screening; and

Whereas the drugs that are being administered through these programs to people who are diagnosed as "mentally ill" through these screenings have been shown to be harmful to people;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to inform its members, homeschoolers throughout the state, and the general public about the importance of recognizing mental health screenings in whatever setting they occur, to inform them of their rights and responsibilities as parents and as patients, to question and/or refuse such screenings, and to oppose legislation that encourages or requires mental health screening that leads to highly subjective identification of mental illness and use of drugs for treatment. 5/2005

45. No Child Left Behind

Whereas the federal government has no constitutional authority over education but gains power over education by creating programs in education that give federal tax dollars to states and school districts who comply with the requirements of these programs; and

Whereas the federal government has used its grants of tax dollars to influence and control education, including in recent years the establishment of national standards for elementary and secondary education; and

Whereas a major piece of legislation known as No Child Left Behind was recently passed that requires of any school that receives federal education money to test children in grades one through eight using state-approved reading and math tests; and

Whereas public and private schools that take money under No Child Left Behind and do not meet federal standards can be taken over by the state; and

Whereas preparing students for the tests requires that schools use curriculums geared to the tests, that teachers teach to the tests, and that the values and beliefs of the government are instilled in children; and

Whereas such legislation puts increasing pressure not just on public schools but also on private schools to conform to the national standards and testing requirements; and

Whereas such testing requirements erode alternatives to conventional schools and local control of public schools; and

Whereas any school including private schools that accepts federal education money comes under the very broad authority of No Child Left Behind; and

Whereas it is shortsighted to say that since homeschoolers pay taxes, we should also receive the monetary benefits from federal and state education programs;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to inform its members and homeschoolers throughout the state about how No Child Left Behind threatens homeschooling freedoms and to ensure that homeschoolers do not request or support programs such as No Child Left Behind. 5/2005

46. History of Homeschooling in Wisconsin

Whereas the pioneers of the modern homeschooling movement in Wisconsin worked together despite their differences to ensure that the Wisconsin Legislature passed a homeschooling law that recognized the right of families to choose for their members an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas WPA has formulated essential principles and practices to ensure that our homeschooling freedoms survive-these include knowing what is required of homeschoolers in Wisconsin; doing only the minimum required by statute or regulation; not ignoring violations of our rights, even if they seem too small to matter; not seeking or accepting benefits from the government; not pushing for new homeschooling legislation; staying out of court if at all possible; understanding and applying the distinction between compulsory school attendance and compulsory education; and working with other homeschoolers; and

Whereas we cannot assume that freedoms and laws will continue in perpetuity once they are established and recognized but must be continually safeguarded; and

Whereas it is easy for people to be lulled into assuming that their freedoms will continue without any action or effort on their part; and

Whereas freedoms are often lost because people don't notice when small bits are removed gradually over time; and

Whereas maintaining an accurate understanding of how we came to have the homeschooling freedoms we have is essential to informing succeeding generations about the principles and practices essential to their continuance;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to ensure that its members and others understand the history of homeschooling in Wisconsin, the legacy they have received, and the principles and practices that have been used to ensure homeschooling freedoms in Wisconsin and will encourage its members to follow these principles and practices within their families, in their local communities, and throughout the state. 5/06

47. Institutionalizing Young Children

Whereas there is a growing movement to institutionalize children at younger and younger ages; and

Whereas this movement takes a variety of the forms including the Birth to Three year old program, Child Find programs aimed at identifying children in need of special services, preschool screening, preschool programs, and kindergarten programs for three- and four-year olds; and

Whereas professionals, corporations, and government have joined together through federal and state commissions and through studies and have identified early childhood education as a good practice and part of the answer to ensuring a strong economy; and

Whereas the National Center on Education and the Economy, the same organization that was central to bringing us national standards in education and the No Child Left Behind program, is calling for preschool for all three and four-year-olds; and

Whereas there is a growing tendency on the part of professionals and their associations to identify families as the cause of children’s problems and to claim that institutional care, education, or treatment are the solutions to children’s problems; and

Whereas homeschoolers know through personal experience the importance of parents being with their children for nurture, learning, and support; and

Whereas policy and/or legal requirements adopted for the larger society put pressure on homeschoolers to follow these practices and approaches to early childhood education;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to ensure that its members and others understand the positive role and result of parents and grandparents spending time with their young children and grandchildren, the tremendous benefits that result from this investment of nurture and support, the serious mental and emotional costs to children of institutionalizing them early, and the ways that expansion of three and four-year-old preschool can impact homeschooling families. 5/07

#48. Maintaining the Basic Principles of Homeschooling

Whereas during the past 30 years, parents and families have reestablished and confirmed the basic and traditional concept of homeschooling in the United States as a practice whereby parents take primary and direct responsibility for the education of their children with as little state regulation as possible; and

Whereas this practice in Wisconsin has been achieved primarily through the hard and continuous work of homeschooling parents working through Wisconsin Parents Association against great resistance from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, public school boards, teachers unions, school district administrators, and others in the educational establishment; and

Whereas although today there is greater acceptance of homeschooling by the general public, this acceptance is often based on an understanding of homeschooling that assumes homeschools are or should be significantly regulated by the state and that homeschools do or should include the practices of conventional public schools such as compliance with state standards in education, state curriculum, standardized testing, etc.; and

Whereas these practices would undermine a family's right to educate their children in accordance with their principles and beliefs by imposing the state's principles and beliefs through state approved standards, state approved curriculum, and testing; and

Whereas many legislators, people in the media, and members of the general public seem not to understand why homeschooling needs to be or should be free of state standards, state curriculum, and testing; and

Whereas the very success of homeschooling has resulted in public schools deciding to offer programs, computers, materials, and the services of certified teachers to families and to allow these families to remain in their homes while receiving public school education services on the condition that these children meet state standards in education, use state approved curriculum, take state standardized tests, and be directed and judged by state certified teachers; and

Whereas some families who participate in these public school programs call themselves homeschoolers or are called homeschoolers by others; and

Whereas the growing efforts on the part of public schools to enroll families into public school programs that allow families to receive this education in their homes are blurring the distinction between public schools and homeschools; and

Whereas if homeschoolers in Wisconsin are not aware of and do not take direct and clear action to maintain the basic principles of homeschooling, (namely, that parents take the primary and direct responsibility for the education of their children with as little state regulation as possible), the critical distinction between homeschools and public schools in homes will be blurred or lost which will cost homeschoolers their homeschooling freedoms;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to educate homeschoolers (including homeschooling support groups), legislators, the media, and the general public about the important principles of homeschooling and the need to maintain the distinction between homeschooling and public school programs in homes; and

Be it further resolved that WPA will work to ensure that the term homeschooling and its related usages be used only for families who take primary and direct responsibility for the education of their children with as little state regulation as possible and that the term not be used to refer to public schools in homes. 5/08

#49. Importance of Parents to Children’s Development and Learning and a Family’s Well Being

Whereas major studies over the past 40 years have consistently shown parents and families, rather than schools or teachers, to be the determining factor in whether a child succeeds academically and socially; and

Whereas day care and preschool have been shown to lead to anti-social and aggressive behavior; and

Whereas child care can have serious harmful results for the child, parents, and the family (For example, an abstract from a recent major study of universal child care includes these findings: “Finally, we uncover striking evidence that children are worse off in a variety of behavioral and health dimensions, ranging from aggression to motor-social skills to illness. Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships.”[1]); and

Whereas screening practices designed to determine a child’s need for special education and/or to assess a child’s mental health have been shown to be unscientific and flawed, resulting in many children being inappropriately labeled and treated; and

Whereas the academic gains made by children who attend kindergarten have been shown to disappear by third grade; and

Whereas universal day care or preschool as well as mandatory kindergarten are among the polices being promoted by the federal and state governments; and

Whereas such programs may become more widely accepted and practiced and, as a result, people will accept as normal certain practices that are not only harmful and expensive but over time may be required, thereby undermining parents’ rights and responsibilities in many areas of family life; and

Whereas for many years there has been a movement among a wide range of professions (such as specialists in child development, teachers, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, family and juvenile court judges, and many researchers studying areas covered by these professions) to turn more and more children and families into their clients or sources of income; and

Whereas many of these professional groups as well as individual professionals identify the family itself, especially parents, as the cause of problems in the family and with children; and

Whereas these same professional interest groups have lobbied for and secured laws and procedures that grant these professionals the authority to use “the best interests of the child” rather than “the best interests of the family” as the standard in making decisions regarding a child’s placement, education, health care, religious practice, etc.; and

Whereas the media reports on social issues involving children and parents rely almost exclusively on studies and research done by the professional interest groups with little, if any, independent investigation; and

Whereas these professions have established associations that promote their professions and practices often with large budgets and lobbyists; and

Whereas by and large parents are not organized as parents, do not have lobbyists, and do not have significant representation in the world of academic experts and researchers or in the media; and

Whereas the growing trend regarding child care and learning is to further empower professionals and institutions at the expense and undermining of parents and families; and

Whereas homeschoolers have demonstrated how effective ordinary parents can be in educating and socializing children as well as preparing them for employment and higher education;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to educate parents, legislators, the media, and the general public about the essential role parents play in their children’s learning and development and the harm that can be caused to children, parents, and families by early institutionalization of children and/or professional screening and treatment. 5/09

(1) Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being by Michael Baker – University of Toronto and National Bureau of Economic Research, Jonathan Gruber – Massachusetts Institute of Technology and National Bureau of Economic Research, and Kevin Milligan – University of British Columbia and National Bureau of Economic Research. Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper No. 11832
Issued in December 2005. Also, published by Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08. 5/09

#50. Prevent Further Erosion of the Role of Parents in Children’s Early Years

Whereas educational institutions, state and federal governments, many professionals and their associations, major corporate interests as well as the media are promoting a wide range of programs and policies such as universal childcare, home visitations by professionals, birth to three programs, preschool screening, mental health screening, and four and five year old kindergarten; and

Whereas these same institutions, professions, and organizations in their communications concerning these programs and policies convey the idea that they are in the best interests of the child, do not have harmful side effects, and even that they are required; and

Whereas there is mounting evidence that professional and institutional intervention in the lives of young children cited above does have immediate and long lasting harmful effects on the lives of children and their parents; and

Whereas it is in the narrow monetary self-interest of these powerful and wealthy institutions and professions to promote their roles in the lives of young children and their families; and

Whereas large businesses see it in their monetary self-interest to have other institutions provide childcare at taxpayer expense; and

Whereas the previously mentioned institutions, professions, governments, and the media do little to advise families of the harmful effects experienced by children and parents from such programs and policies, and they also do not let people know that these programs are voluntary; and

Whereas such programs and policies begin as voluntary but tend to become mandatory unless people become informed and aware of the harmful effects of such programs and policies and refuse to participate in them; and

Whereas if these programs and policies become mandatory, they would significantly compromise what we know as homeschooling by having professions and institutions intervening in the lives of homeschooling families;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to educate parents, legislators, the media, and the general public about the essential role parents play in their children’s learning and development and the harm that can be caused to children, parents, and families by early intervention in the lives of children and their families; and

Be it further resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to inform parents and the general public that these programs are voluntary. 5/10

#51. New Kindergarten Statute and Homeschooling

Whereas the recent five-year-old kindergarten statute will result in children being put under increased pressure socially, academically, and emotionally; and

Whereas, in part due to Wisconsin Parents Association’s (WPA) work and testimony over the years opposing such legislation, it does not directly affect homeschoolers today but is confusing to homeschoolers and a cause of concern for what might happen as conventional schooling is being required at younger and younger ages; and

Whereas the recent statute means:

  • enforcing truancy laws on five-year-olds enrolled in conventional schools
  • providing more money for public schools
  • putting pressure on teachers and schools to show academic results at earlier ages
  • labeling and drugging more children
  • holding children back in grade; and

Whereas the statute does not mean children:

  • will have learned more
  • will be better socialized
  • will not lose out on essential learning skills
  • will be able to succeed academically; and

Whereas although the statute does not change anything about a parent’s ability to homeschool children for kindergarten, does not change the age at which children are subject to the compulsory school attendance statute, and does not change the age at which parents need to file PI-1206; the statute does mean that children who were homeschooled at age five and whose parents want to enroll them in a public school in Wisconsin for first grade will have to either get an exemption from the local school board or have their child satisfactorily complete kindergarten in a conventional school; and

Whereas the statute significantly promotes an approach to educating young children that WPA has and continues to oppose;

Be it resolved by members of WPA that WPA will work to ensure that the compulsory school attendance statute is not changed to include children younger than six; and

Be it further resolved that WPA, working through its members, will provide information for parents who want to know about the harm done by institutionalizing young children and about alternatives to institutionalized preschool. 5/2011

52. Encouraging Homeschoolers to File Form PI-1206 Online in Accordance With the Law

Whereas Wisconsin has a very reasonable homeschooling law that has worked well for homeschoolers for 28 years; and

Whereas this law is something Wisconsin homeschoolers working through Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) have worked hard to achieve and maintain; and

Whereas the educational establishment continues to look for reasons to further regulate homeschooling in Wisconsin; and

Whereas when the freedom to homeschool has been tested in courts and legislatures, homeschoolers in nearly all other states have not achieved the homeschooling freedoms we currently have in Wisconsin; and

Whereas when homeschool attorneys have gone to court and argued that homeschoolers should not be unnecessarily regulated by the government, the attorneys have consistently lost their cases, resulting in court decisions stating that the government has the power and authority to require review and approval of curriculum, standardized testing, periodic reports, etc.; and

Whereas state legislatures have passed laws that include many of the regulatory requirements that the courts have said were constitutional; and

Whereas such laws significantly restrict homeschooling freedoms and would not be welcomed in Wisconsin; and

Whereas state legislatures almost never reduce the requirements for review and approval of curriculum, testing, and periodic progress reporting; and

Whereas online PI-1206 forms were introduced during the summer of 2010 and at that time, WPA was successful in getting the DPI not to use email addresses as user IDs and not to ask for homeschoolers’ telephone numbers and was therefore able to get the DPI’s online version of form PI-1206 to require the same information as the paper form that had been used since 1984; and

Whereas it is illegal to homeschool without filing form PI-1206 “on forms provided by the department [DPI]” (WI Statute 115.30 [3]); and

Whereas numerous government agencies are increasingly requiring citizens to file forms, reports, tax payments, etc. online, a practice that has been authorized by federal and state law; and

Whereas all other homeschooling organizations in Wisconsin that WPA is aware of , including many support groups and the Wisconsin Christian Home Educators Association (WICHEA), advised their members last fall to file the form online; and

Whereas a national homeschooling organization, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), has written and posted on its website that Wisconsin homeschoolers can use a different form that HSLDA makes available to its members rather than the DPI form PI-1206 to comply with Wisconsin's homeschooling law; and

Whereas forms provided by HSLDA are not authorized by Wisconsin law and are rejected by the DPI, which means that families who file HSLDA’s version of form PI-1206 and then proceed to homeschool without filing the DPI’s online form are homeschooling illegally; and

Whereas children in such families are therefore truant and the truancy could become the basis for court cases and/or legislation that very likely would result in further regulation of all Wisconsin homeschoolers; and

Whereas despite attempts by WPA as well as WICHEA and HSLDA members to communicate to the President of HSLDA and to an HSLDA attorney with responsibilities for Wisconsin that HSLDA’s position on filing form PI-1206 is wrong and a danger to homeschooling freedoms in Wisconsin, and despite the fact that WPA has also written and posted this information in its newsletters and on its website, as of May 3, 2012, the HSLDA website persists in offering their illegal way of filing their version of form PI-1206 and thereby misinforming homeschoolers and increasing the chances of a court case or Wisconsin homeschooling legislation brought by opponents or critics of homeschooling who are looking for such an opportunity;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will continue to inform homeschoolers of the importance of filing form PI-1206 each year and reasons why it is important to do so online.

Be it further resolved that WPA will continue to inform homeschoolers of the importance of not following the suggestion on the HSLDA website that they file the HSLDA version of the form but rather filing the DPI PI-1206 form online. 5/2012

53. Common Core State Standards in Education

Whereas since the publication in 1983 of A Nation at Risk, a federal report on the status of education in the US, there has been an increasing push by both Democrats and Republicans to reform public education from the top down through federal goals, standards, testing requirements, reporting, and monitoring of children and families; these federal initiatives include Goals 2000, America 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now Common Core State Standards; and

Whereas the US Constitution gives no authority to the federal or state governments in the area of education; and

Whereas the US Code (which is the codification of the general and permanent laws of the United States) specially prohibits federal control of education as stated under 20 USC § 1232a; and

Whereas the federal government acquires its power in the area of education by providing money and services to people through public and private schools in exchange for their compliance with federal and state regulations; and

Whereas there now exist federal and state education goals, standards, and testing requirements together with requirements for extensive reporting of personal and education-related data about students, parents, and families by schools that receive federal and/or state education-related money; and

Whereas the state of Wisconsin receives federal education money, is subject to federal goals in education and the federal No Child Left Behind statute, and has adopted the Common Core State Standards; and

Whereas many of these reforms such as performance-based assessment, school choice and voucher programs, charter and virtual charter schools, and distance learning programs are state programs and involve state goals and assessments and begin at very early ages; and

Whereas databases related to federal and state education programs now hold enormous amounts of personal information about children and their families and are now being accessed and used by public school districts; and

Whereas in 1991-1992, WPA worked to bring over 1,100 people, mostly homeschoolers, to nine Wisconsin cities for public hearings considering educational state standards and testing, and then WPA was instrumental in securing for all Wisconsin parents a statutory provision that gave them the authority at their request to have their children exempted from state-mandated testing (Wisconsin was the first state to provide such an exemption); and

Whereas the only effective way for families to successfully avoid being included in the statewide reporting of children’s and families’ personal information through statewide educational databases (including having their personal information shared and monitored) is to not enroll their children in public or private school programs that receive federal or state money; and

Whereas WPA has consistently urged homeschooling parents not to seek educational-related services such as educational vouchers, tax credits, participation in public school sports, etc. from the federal, state, or local governments because doing this would undoubtedly undermine homeschoolers’ freedom to choose an education for our children consistent with our principles and beliefs; and

Whereas despite the fact that the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) allows parents to request that their children’s directory information (such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance) not be automatically released to many parties without their permission, schools that receive federal money are nevertheless authorized to share directory data along with much other information with a wide variety of agencies, and parents cannot prevent this from happening while their children attend such schools; and

Whereas since many federal and state standards and reporting requirements now represented in the Common Core State Standards have a long history of support by both major political parties and have been instituted over the past 25 years, the most realistic opposition to their negative effects is to remain free of schools that receive federal and/or state money, including programs and benefits such as state vouchers and tax credits; and, if one’s child is in a public school, to request that the child not be required to take state-mandated tests since they drive the educational curriculum and standards;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to educate parents, legislators, the media, and the general public about the problems with federal and state standards in education, testing, and monitoring of children and families.

And be it further resolved that WPA will work to ensure that these educational standards, testing requirements, and monitoring of children and families are not applied to homeschools.

Note: Many of the topics and related statutes in this resolution are included in the WPA handbook, Homeschooling In Wisconsin. 5/4/2013

54. Maintain the Distinction Between Homeschooling and Public Virtual Charter Schools

Whereas the pioneers of the modern homeschooling movement in Wisconsin worked together despite their differences to ensure that the Wisconsin Legislature passed a reasonable homeschooling law that recognized the right of families to choose for their members an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas homeschoolers have organized themselves as Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) to watch and protect their parental rights in education, especially homeschooling rights and responsibilities; and

Whereas we cannot assume that freedoms and laws will continue in perpetuity once they are established and recognized, instead they must be continually safeguarded; and

Whereas it is easy for people to be lulled into assuming that their freedoms will continue without any action or effort on their part; and

Whereas maintaining an accurate understanding of how we came to have the homeschooling freedoms we have is essential to informing succeeding generations about the principles and practices essential to their continuance; and

Whereas homeschoolers are a small minority and are opposed by powerful political interest groups and organizations; and

Whereas the distinction between homeschools and public virtual charter schools is essential to the preservation of homeschoolers' freedom to choose an education consistent with their principles and beliefs since public schools require state standards and testing that determine the curriculum and values and beliefs of students attending public schools even if such schools are located in students' homes; and

Whereas public virtual charter schools displace the role and authority of parents and families; and

Whereas the distinction between public schools and homeschools is being blurred through the initiatives of public schools to bring homeschoolers into the public schools, especially into public virtual charter schools; and

Whereas persons who choose public virtual charter schools often refer to themselves as homeschoolers and see the public virtual charter school they are enrolled in as a homeschool; and

Whereas many legislators, people in the media, and members of the general public seem not to understand why homeschooling needs to be or should be free of state standards, state curriculum, and state testing; and

Whereas several large homeschool support groups have struggled with whether to include public virtual charter school families in their homeschool support groups; and

Whereas when groups that identify themselves as homeschool groups include public school families in their groups for reasons such as that the public school family shares the same religious or philosophical beliefs or that the family was a member of the group when they homeschooled before or that doing so seems not to be any threat to the freedom to homeschool their children, the group may not have considered the following consequences:

(a) the group is unlikely to be able to have a consistent attitude or position regarding basic homeschooling freedoms such as the family taking direct responsibility for the education of their children or the family being free of state standards and/or the principles and beliefs of the public schools as expressed in the tests that the state mandates that public virtual charter schools must take;

(b) the group will be saying to itself, to homeschoolers, to the larger community including the media, and to legislators that homeschooling can include the practices of having public school officials and certified teachers making decisions about what curriculum a homeschooling family may use, what tests it must take, and whether parents are qualified to educate their children; and

(c) the group being unable to take direct action to stand up for the basic homeschooling freedoms we currently have largely because the group is split on the key issues of what the homeschooling freedoms in Wisconsin are and their importance to a family’s ability to practice their principles and beliefs through homeschooling and because the group did not educate their members on the importance of these key homeschooling freedoms because the group consisted of families who did not share or practice those principles and beliefs; and

Whereas other states in this country that relied on the courts or outside experts to insure homeschooling freedoms have consistently lost basic freedoms in the courts and legislatures; and

Whereas homeschooling freedoms in Wisconsin were won and have been maintained through grassroots work that in turn is highly dependent on homeschool support groups knowing and practicing the rights and responsibilities homeschoolers have under the current homeschooling law;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to insure that the basic right to choose an education consistent with one's principles and beliefs is maintained for homeschoolers by informing homeschoolers including homeschool support groups that homeschooling freedoms in Wisconsin are threatened when homeschooling is viewed to include public school principles and practices and when the distinction between homeschools and public virtual charter schools is not maintained. 5/2014

Return to top of page