ESA proponents suggest that homeschoolers who don’t want to take ESA money will not be forced to participate. While true on the surface, this evasive response is misleading at best. Legislators are already confused about the difference between homeschooling and public school at-home partnerships. Most ESA bills do not distinguish between funded and unfunded homeschools. This means that the regulations which must be heaped upon the funded will also fall upon those who do not “take the money.”
No proposed ESA bills guarantee continued freedom to non-funded students. Even proponents like former Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, referring to ESA legislation, confirmed that, “Federal law must be followed when federal money is involved.” Likewise, states must also regulate what they fund. Enrolled students of every form will become part of the system which will control the funds used for their education. This partnership will ensure that any homeschool is ultimately controlled by the system.
Partial control of homeschoolers will never be enough for UNESCO! They will resist every attempt to limit ESA funding to only the enrolled. Counting on ambiguity, they will attempt to place the same regulations upon un-funded homeschools as are placed on the enrolled ESA-funded at-home students.
Nearly forty years ago, Idaho homeschool families suffered through jail sentences and criminal charges of truancy in order to homeschool. Homeschool Idaho and our predecessor organization (Idaho Coalition of Home Educators) worked hard to push back the regulations and to pass favorable homeschool legislation. As a result, Idaho currently has the greatest homeschool freedom in the world.
Passage of ESA legislation is a backward step for homeschoolers. Participants willingly trade their hard-earned freedom for funding. We foresee that this willing trade will quickly attempt to bleed over onto unfunded homeschoolers resulting in the loss of the freedom we have worked so hard to obtain.
When all systems are aligned and united into one system, the last great safety net of total freedom, which homeschooling represents, will have been successfully removed. This leaves all students vulnerable to the “system” with no option to be removed from the single system’s control,
ESAs create a new entitlement program, and like welfare, WIC, and SNAP, they create dependence for the recipients and higher costs for those who do not take the money. Approved providers will greatly inflate their prices. Funded students will no longer care about the high price tag because they will be using government money to pay the bills, and they will be looking for ways to annually spend their money due to the “use it or lose it” clause. Those not taking funds will be priced out of the market. This creates a captive market dependence in which a family, once enrolled, would likely be financially unable to return to private homeschooling.