ESA Funds and Homeschooling?

Here’s what you need to know!

ESA Funds for  Homeschooling?

Here’s what you need to know!

Homeschool Idaho has been studying ESA legislation for nearly a decade. 

Our 30+ years of experience lobbying for home education at the Idaho Legislature has provided invaluable insight and guides our analysis.

We homeschool parents have a reputation of being skeptical of almost everything, including mainstream narratives about public education. This skepticism is rooted in an abiding desire to protect our children’s minds and hearts. But there has been a shift in the narrative and typically cautious homeschoolers have found themselves caught up in a movement that has been gaining steam across the nation and right here in Idaho: school choice.

“School Choice” has been touted as the miracle that will save the American education system. Proponents hawk sales-pitch slogans, like “Fund Students, Not Systems”, as if they were vendors at a carnival. State legislatures are frequently facing bills that spend more and more money on school choice programs, often pressured and funded by lobbying groups from outside of the state.

The darling of school choice is currently a government funding mechanism called an ESA (Education Savings/Scholarship Account). As homeschool parents, we need to be able to cut through all the hype to uncover the truth about ESAs.

 Yes, many of us want our children to be completely free of a failing education system that struggles with high costs, high regulations, and poor outcomes. While we respect the families who continue to strive to change and improve public education from within, as homeschool parents our main concern is protecting and securing homeschool freedom. So, we have spent many years researching proposed ESAs across the nation, and in Idaho, to understand their specific impact on homeschooling. We firmly believe that ESAs won’t deliver the education freedom they promise and do nothing to protect children from any of the numerous problems that plague the public school system – they will just bring the same dysfunctional regulations into our homeschools, even those homeschools that don’t accept funding.

Discover for yourself the real dangers of allowing infiltration of government funding into private education. Learn why Homeschool Idaho believes that homeschool freedom is currently facing its greatest threat.

Final Thoughts

Taking government funds, even in the form of an ESA, means no longer schooling independently from the government. The New York Times called education savings accounts a, redefinition of public education.” Once ESA funds are used, the line between independently homeschooling children, and putting students into government education has been crossed.

Increased funding rarely improves academic performance in public schools. Taxpayers regularly see public school funding increases. Academic results however keep slipping further and further. Why should we expect different results for private and homeschool students? For decades, homeschool parents have achieved stellar results with a little faith, ingenuity, hard work and small budgets.

Children are a gift from God, given to their parents to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Homeschooling is one of the most direct ways that parents can provide not only a stellar academic education, but discipleship in the Lord. Homeschooling helps mute/tone down the outside voices and influences that seek to lead our children into the humanist philosophies that dominate western civilization today, that deny the existence of God and sets mankind up as the arbiter of all truth.

Even as far back as the founding of our country, people of faith have resisted attempts by government to define and dictate, often at the edge of a sword, what truth is and who gets to define it. They chose instead to stand on the Bible as the ultimate authority over life and truth. They have resisted government control of truth by fleeing their homelands, by fighting civil wars, by marching in the streets, by peaceful protests, and by vigilant prayer. Today’s government has found a far less violent, though insidious, means of once again setting itself up as the ultimate authority on truth – through our public school system. This time peaceful resistance looks like homeschooling.

After decades of direct opposition to homeschooling through attempts to legislatively impose regulations, the government has found a much simpler means for gaining control of homeschool
students: money. They are banking on money’s ability to break down resistance and clear a path for government control in the last bastion of resistance to the government school agenda: the home. ESA’s are simply the pretty wrapping paper of a system bent on absolute control.

Simply put, we should care because our children’s hearts and minds, the truth, liberty, and God’s Holy Word are not for sale.

Government-funded programs always increase taxes and regulations. We can’t afford to trust that ESAs will be an exception to this rule. Our freedom is at stake!  

It was against all odds that homeschool freedom was obtained in the first place. Once lost, we should never expect to see these freedoms returned. We agree with President Ronald Reagan, who observed that, “Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” Please join us in guarding our freedom by rejecting ESAs!