by John and Edie Carey
When John began working for CHEWV at the State Capitol in 1999, advancing homeschool freedoms meant gaining the freedom to homeschool a child past the eighth grade even if the parents did not have formal education past high school graduation. It took three bills, four sessions and the involvement of hundreds of homeschool families to gain this right.
Previous to 1999, homeschool families were fighting to prevent moms and dads from going to jail for simply choosing to educate their children at home. Dr. Phil Suiter played a big part in that effort. As a former assistant state superintendent, he brought credibility to our movement and helped to shape the first homeschool law, which granted an exemption from the compulsory attendance law and made homeschooling legal for the first time in West Virginia.
Today advancing homeschool freedoms is more about the removal of burdensome regulations, because since those early years, homeschooling has been proven to work. Cases in point, Ivy League Universities and the United States military changed their policies as home education was validated. Although the Charleston battles are still not always easy, homeschooling is on much better legislative footing now. We applaud the West Virginia Senate and House leadership for passing all three of our homeschool bills last session. Unfortunately, the Governor chose to stand in the way of progress and vetoed two of these bills.
Now with gay marriage declared a basic civil right by the US Supreme Court, future battles are expected to be about who is ultimately in control of educational content. For example, Canada’s Human Rights Commission attempted to prevent homeschool parents from teaching that traditional marriage is the only valid form of marriage. While this law was eventually defeated, it demonstrates the natural outcome of governments that decide to legalize and protect ideas and definitions that many of their citizens cannot accept with a clear conscience.
Please pray for the 2016 regular session. It is because of the prayers and sacrifice of many that our freedom has advanced over the years as our merciful, kind, and gracious God works on behalf of His people. Thanks be to God who is worthy to be praised!