State education bureaucrats in New Mexico are under fire nationwide after demanding that homeschool families sign “illegal” declarations agreeing that their “permission” to educate their own children could be revoked if they fail to follow bureaucratic decrees. Home-education groups and lawyers are urging families to ignore the demands.
The lawless demands came from the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED), as the state’s government-education overlords are known, in a document referred to as “Statements of Understanding of Home School Parent/Family.” In the form, homeschool parents are told that their children must do the same amount of hours as children in government schools, among other controversial elements.
If parents do not jump through all the hoops as commanded, “the department may order that a student attend a public school or a private school,” reads the document. It goes on to threaten again that authorities may force parents to submit their children to state indoctrination if they do not comply with all the government’s requirements.
But it is not clear that the declaration is legal. And home-education groups are urging parents to refuse to sign it. “We felt like this would be the least confrontational way to get the point across to the PED,” said Cathy Heckendorn, a board member with the Christian Association of Parent Educators – New Mexico (CAPE-NM) that is fighting the battle in cooperation with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
Among other concerns, Heckendorn was quoted by WND saying that submitting to this declaration would invite bureaucrats to make even more illegitimate demands in the future. “When we consent to sign this document, we’re saying this part of law applies to us, [even though it does not],” added the Christian homeschool leader in New Mexico.
Legal experts say New Mexico authorities are misconstruing the law and making threats with no basis in statute. Comparing education bureaucrats to camels’ noses, an attorney for HSLDA said they both need to be reminded to stay out of homeschoolers’ tents. So far, though, PED has refused to accept that families are not signing their forms. So a court battle may be coming.
Some veteran educators have suggested that the intrusive New Mexico demands may stem from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a monstrosity signed into law by Obama that aims to cement the fundamental transformation of America into federal law. Under the scheme, state governments basically become enforcement arms of D.C. bureaucrats. Private schools and home educators are in the crosshairs, too.
While they will likely be scrapped, the latest demands of education bureaucrats are part of a troubling trend, with government increasingly seeking to usurp authority that rightfully belongs to parents. As more and more American parents withdraw their children from government indoctrination centers, the attacks on homeschoolers and private schools will only grow.
Parents must remain vigilant and active in the fight to protect their rights.