Explain the following to your state legislators:
• Virtual charter schools are not homeschools even though students study in their homes. Virtual charter schools are public schools and are subject to the same regulations as other public schools. Homeschools are not public schools, do not receive money from the government, and should not be subject to regulations virtual charter schools are under.
• Wisconsin's homeschooling law is working very well and should not be changed.
• Homeschoolers do NOT want "favors" from the government, including tax credits or the opportunity to play public school sports.
For contact information for your State Assembly Representative and State Senator, click http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx.
To contact your legislators, either
• Write a personal letter explaining your positions, or
• Call and talk with your legislator or an aide, or
• Send a copy of the following Open Letter with a note explaining that you are a constituent and giving your land address.
For more details, see the WPA Newsletter #114, December 2012, page 3.
Open Letter To Wisconsin Legislators
From: Wisconsin Homeschoolers Working Together Through WPA
Subject: Why We Do Not Want Tax Credits or Other "Favors" for Homeschoolers
To maintain our freedoms and responsibilities, thousands of Wisconsin homeschoolers have been working together since 1984 through Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA), a state-wide grassroots organization that welcomes all homeschoolers. Through discussions, newsletters, resolutions, and conferences, we have come to the following conclusions:
Virtual charter school are not homeschools, even though they sometimes market themselves as homeschools. Please keep in mind that virtual charter schools are public schools. They receive tax dollars and are subject to state regulations that apply to public schools. Homeschools are not public schools and do not receive tax dollars. Regulations that are applied to virtual charter schools should not be applied to homeschools.
The current homeschooling law is working very well. Since this law was passed in 1984, approximately 150,000 formerly homeschooled young people have smoothly entered or re-entered conventional schools. Approximately 25,000 homeschool graduates have found employment and/or attended college. Despite strong efforts, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the teachers unions have not found evidence that homeschooling does not work.
Wisconsin needs thriving homeschools as alternatives to conventional schools. Without alternatives, Americans would lose their freedom of education. Homeschoolers save Wisconsin taxpayers approximately $25,000,000 per year in per pupil costs.
Programs that give public moneys to homeschoolers would undermine our freedom to homeschool, as would legislation that attempts to guarantee our rights and freedoms. Government "favors" would require that homeschools be accountable to the government, which would make homeschools more like public schools. Our goal is to make your job as easy as possible and our homeschooling as successful as possible. No new homeschooling legislation is needed, and essentially any legislation would have drawbacks and risks.
Therefore, we do NOT want:
• Vouchers for private schools, including homeschools.
• Legislation that guarantees homeschoolers access to public school courses and/or extracurricular activities, including the right to play on public school sports teams.
• Tax credits or tax deductions for homeschooling expenses.
(When individual families do want or need something specific from their local school district, they can make arrangements with local school officials, as families have been doing since 1984.)
In addition, we do not want legislation or constitutional amendments that supposedly guarantee parental rights. Parents already have rights and responsibilities. They come from God or nature, not the government. Such proposals backfire because they give the government a way to define and control fundamental rights.
Increased regulation of homeschooling is unnecessary and would undermine homeschools that are working so well. The current law holds homeschooling parents accountable. Increased regulation would force homeschools to become more like conventional schools. In addition, "hard cases make bad law." In other words, a law designed to take care of the worst possible hypothetical case is almost certain to be long, difficult to enforce, and more likely to prevent good people from doing good than bad people from doing bad.
We appreciate Wisconsin’s homeschooling law and do not want it changed. Homeschoolers are unusual in this regard—many people do want money or other benefits from the government. But, trust us, we don't. Legislators who want to do something for homeschoolers can help us most by understanding our position and not introducing, cosponsoring, or supporting legislation relating to homeschools, including legislation that might be thought to help us. Thank you.
For more information or to discuss these ideas, please contact us.