Voter Preparation - November Election

By Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson & Judy Aron of NHELD
Posted June 3, 2006

As November elections approach, homeschoolers should try to find out the positions of the candidates on the issues of most importance to parents. NHELD has compiled a short list of suggested questions. Whether you use our questions, or make a list of your own, the important thing is to pin down all candidates regarding what they stand for and why homeschoolers should vote for them.

Make them specify their positions, don't let them equivocate. If they do equivocate in their responses to your questions, send them another list of questions. Repeat the process until you have your answers. After a few letters back and forth, whether the candidate specifically answers your questions or not, you will have a much clearer understanding of why, or why not, the candidates deserve your support.

Suggested Questions to Ask Candidates

  1. Do you favor or disfavor homeschooling and why?
  2. What is your position regarding implementation or repeal of laws affecting the rights of homeschoolers?
    Frequently, candidates are not aware of what the state law is regarding the rights of parents to instruct their children. They may not be aware of federal law regarding homeschooling either. Depending on the candidate and the political climate, the question could be posed broadly leaving the candidate to expound from his basis of knowledge, or the question could be posed more specifically to obtain a direct answer concerning whether the candidate favors or disfavors laws regarding homeschooling. The question could be: "What do you know about the laws regarding homeschooling?" Or, the question could be: "Do you support legislation to require parents to obtain approval from a local public school board before they homeschool?" The strategy regarding broad versus specific questions, of course, holds true for all of the suggested questions.
  3. What is your position on government funding of homeschooling and why?
  4. If the government provides funding or publicly funded benefits to homeschoolers, what is your position on government accountability regarding the funding or benefits?
    This type of question is designed to elicit the candidate's opinion as to whether the candidate favors government regulation of homeschooling in return for the government funding or benefit.
  5. Do you understand the difference between homeschooling and doing a public school curriculum at home?
  6. What is your position on homeschoolers participating in the public school system and why?
    Leaving this question in general terms might elicit unexpected, yet, very useful responses. Does the candidate favor the participation because the school administration would have more control over homeschooling, or, does the candidate favor participation for some other financial or emotional reason?
  7. What is your position on lowering the compulsory school attendance age and why?
    Leaving this question in general terms might elicit unexpected and useful responses as well. If the candidate favors it, what is the reason for the support? Does the candidate want the public school district to exercise more control over parents?
  8. What is your position on compulsory public pre-school (universal pre-school) for infants and toddlers?
  9. What is your position on mental health screening of children from infancy through adulthood?
  10. Do you believe homeschoolers should provide instruction that is equivalent to the instruction in the public schools?
  11. What is your position on "conditional withdrawal?" Do you favor allowing the public school administration to refuse to take the children off the "enrollment books" unless the parents comply with school district non-statutory demands, even though the parents legally withdrew their children from the public school in accordance with state law?

Of course few people are one issue voters and will may want to add to this list of questions, but this should get you started in the right direction.

Voter Resources

Special Thanks to:
National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD)
Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson
Executive Director
(860) 354-3590

Judy Aron
Research Director
(860) 523-7257