Last month Dr. Raymond Moore passed away. Dr. Moore and his wife, Dorothy, wrote many homeschooling books and they established the Moore Foundation to support parents in educating their children at home.
One of the lesser-known items authored by Dr. Moore was a white paper he wrote in October of 1994, The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion. Part of the white paper is about the nationwide alarm HSLDA set off in early 1994. The alarm was to stop the danger that only HSLDA saw from an amendment to the House portion of the then-Congressional bill H. R. 6, a $12 billion reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Before the vote on the bill, Congressman George Miller (D-California) added an amendment, which read:
- ASSURANCE.Each State applying for funds under this title shall provide the Secretary with the assurance that after July 1, 1998, it will require each local educational agency within the State to certify that each full time teacher in schools under the jurisdiction of the agency is certified to teach in the subject area to which he or she is assigned. [my emphasis]
HSLDA worried about the application to homeschooling of the term “nonprofit schools” which were mentioned elsewhere in the reauthorization bill. No variant of the word ‘homeschooling’ appeared in the bill, but still, “nonprofit” in conjunction with Rep. Miller’s amendment requiring state certification of teachers was a reason for HSLDA to kick into high gear.
February 15, 1994 “Urgent Alert! H. R. 6, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will require home school parents (and all private school teachers) to be certified teachers.”
Michael Farris of HSLDA appeared on television programs, and Rush Limbaugh talked about H. R. 6 on his radio program. The resulting number of phone calls to Congress from panicked parents jammed telephone lines, and shut down telephone communication for the House of Representatives.
As a result of HSLDA members calling Congress, the Miller amendment was removed from the bill. After that, Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) added an amendment written by Michael Farris, the “Home School/Private School Freedom Amendment,” apparently later known as the “Armey amendment.” Somewhere in the mix was the Ford/Kildee amendment. The many versions of the events are hard to fit together, so what the amendment was called may be a matter of interpretation. Despite HSLDA’s concern, many nationally recognized homeschool leaders were not frantic about H. R. 6.
- there is no federal jurisdiction over schools, other than funding strings for organizations who accept federal money
- the language didn’t appear to be aimed at homeschooling parents
- homeschooling families are not “local educational agencies within the State”
- homeschooling parents are not “full time teachers in schools under the jurisdiction of the educational agency”
- passage of H. R. 6 in the House did not guarantee passage in the Senate
- Senate committee conferences could have removed the muddy wording
It is unclear to me, from existing accounts, whether homeschoolers-in-general in the United States knew about the language in H. R. 6 before the letters and faxes were sent, or if ‘everyone found out’ only after HSLDA’s letters and faxes arrived. My pre-Internet view from Germany was two months after-the-fact, and I knew no other homeschoolers.
After the ‘alert’, the opinion among the majority of decentralized homeschool leaders was that H. R. 6 was not a danger to homeschooling. Among the HSLDA membership, H. R. 6 was a crisis.
What impression did this make?
The Right Runs Amok, April 1994, NEA Today
Rep. Bill Ford of Michigan, who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, tried to straighten things out. He told reporters the Miller provision had always been meant to cover public schools, not home schools. “Somebody put two and two together,” says Ford, “and got 10.”
HSLDA Court Report, May/June 1994
“I do not know of any issue in recent time that has generated so much constituent awareness, concern and phone traffic as this one. The American people, by the tens of thousands, have flooded both our district and Washington offices with phone calls and faxes.”
Representative Gerald Solomon (R NY-22)
Ravage of Homeschooling, October 1994
A Washington, D.C. federal civil rights attorney, known for her reserve and femininity, called and gave me a precise summation of the HR-6 alarm with uncharacteristic boldness:
“I was outraged! This presuming on Dr. Dobson, Gary Bauer, Marlin Maddoux, and others who are normally well informed, but simply don’t have full information and are led like lambs to the slaughter! If they only knew! There is a place for alarms. But when we overreact, we lose credibility, and there is a snow-balling effect I’m afraid we’re reaching the place where people will no longer honor homeschooling. I’m not a friend of Senator Mitchell’s, but he was right: “An unnecessary solution to a non-existent problem.”
– Raymond Moore
Home Education Magazine, July-August 1994, Letters From Our Readers
“I recently called a friend of mine who manages the office of one of our national congressional representatives. HR6 was far from my mind but she brought it upto say that they had been deluged with phone calls from homeschoolers and Catholic school parents. After some discussion, she volunteered that they had the bill analyzed legally and the lawyer had given them a few questions to ask the callers in order to determine what they really wanted and what they knew about the bill. Unfortunately the callers left the impression of an uneducated but alarmed group who had been told to kill the bill.”
Home Education Magazine, September-October 1994, Letters
I subscribe to two home education magazines: yours and The Teaching Home. Our family has lived in Germany for twelve years, but America is still home to us, and Florida is our resident state. I was in Florida for two months this winter and became embroiled in the HR6 furor. …
… Of course I panicked, thinking that our right to home learning was threatened. I implicitly trusted the information I was getting. …
… I even had a letter this gentleman had written so I would know what to say. I called many offices and spoke out against HR6, until a woman on the other end of the line asked me what part of HR6 I opposed! She explained that it was a huge bill with hundreds of pages. She was polite in spite of my suddenly exposed ignorance. I asked that all private and homeschools not be included in this bill, and said that I supported the Armey amendment. She said that government was not allowed to tell states what to do with their education anyway. …
I sat there at the desk for a few minutes, just thinking. I wondered what else I did not know, and was this telephone campaign making us look foolish and/or panicky again. …”
To get back to daily business (search the Congressional Record of the 103rd Congress for the words “home schools”), the House of Representatives agreed (on page H833) to add a “Home School/Private School Freedom Amendment” written by Michael Farris:
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any federal control over any aspect of any private, religious, or home school, whether or not a home school is treated as a private school or home school under state law. This section shall not be construed to bar private, religious, or home schools from participation in programs or services under the Act.
The New Hampshire Politics site archived email discussions about HSLDA actions before H. R. 6 became an issue for homeschooling parents. In addition to the letters to Home Education Magazine, the aftermath of H. R. 6 included:
- HR 6 and the Federalization of Homeschooling
- A Homeschooler’s History of Homeschooling, Part IV, H.R. 6
- The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion
In the white paper, Dr. Moore made many points, to include:
- But a “Christian” fired from a homeschool job for fraud began using a statement of faith to split states and obtain a following, His Protestant exclusivist [PE] move was joined by lawyer-preacher Mike Farris and Editor Sue Welch of TEACHING HOME magazine, making money from the move, yet it did not come from the Christ whose flag they wave.
- No one was again to organize in a state that had an established organization without the counsel and approval of that organization. Then Sue Welch took over, with not only Gregg’s cooperation, but also yours, as leaders can easily prove.
- After you twice stumbled with HSLDA, you and Mike Smith asked my endorsement, which was then valuable. I also gave you names of 100-worth homeschool attorneys we had used over the previous 15 years. But first I asked what you would do once we had good laws in the last few states. “We’ll work ourselves out of a job,” you said. But you haven’t kept your promise even though laymen can solve most cases on the phone without legal help, as we know from long experience.
- Leaders have snowed us with calls, faxes, letters, etc. since your HR-6 alarm, asking us to do something to show that homeschools are not inferiority-complexed and defensive.
- Mike, you say I am senile, of a false faith. You lividly said that I am a habitual liar, until you found Sharon had fibbed. Yet after apologizing, you resurrected the charge.
- Attorney Michael Farris’ homeschooling alarms in states from Coast to Coast, and federally over the last four years, and particularly his national alarm on the HR-6 amendment, constitute a serious tactical error if homeschooling is to be known for its serious contribution to American education instead of simply another passing educational fancy, and if it is to be truly respected by legislators instead of pressuring them.
That is enough, even though the white paper continues for 21 more pages in a 10-point font face.
All this leads me to the reason for this blog post — the recent praise of Raymond Moore by Michael Smith of HSLDA.
Because I subscribed to Home Education Magazine in 1994, I knew about the discord caused by H. R. 6 and I remember the unease and confusion it caused me, even though I lived in Germany. After I ‘got online’ years later, I read the white paper written by Dr. Moore, so that I learned the later part of the controversy. Because of all this background, the column by Mr. Smith praising Dr. Moore surprised me.
Honoring Moore’s achievements, 20 August 2007, The Washington Times, Washington, D.C.
The home-school community owes a great debt of gratitude to Raymond S. Moore, who died July 13 at age 91.
Mr. Moore was instrumental in developing the modern home-school movement. Without his early involvement, it’s likely that home-schooling would not be as popular as it is today.
The Home-School Legal Defense Association is thankful for the life work of Mr. Moore and greatly appreciates his pioneering efforts to rejuvenate home-schooling, which has grown exponentially since the early 1980s as more and more parents discover the truths Mr. Moore expressed more than 50 years ago.
After the H. R. 6 … event …, not much passed between the two ‘sides.’ Just to double-check myself, I did a Google search for “Moore HSLDA.” The search provided nothing new.
I don’t know that I like having an opportunity to air out the dirty homeschooling linen again, but to allow the seemingly gracious column about Dr. Moore’s death to stand without comment in light of all that occurred would be to sweep under the rug:
- the monumental effect of H. R. 6 on the homeschooling community of the time
- the estrangement between former colleagues
- ruined relationships among homeschoolers
- broken homeschooling groups
- Dr. Moore’s own reaction to H. R. 6 plus HSLDA’s activities, and the effects of these actions on homeschooling
It is nice that Mr. Smith included a personal note about Dr. Moore’s influence on the Smith family’s homeschooling, although he fails throughout the column to use Dr. Moore’s honorific of “doctor.” Despite this, for me to read the column and not comment would be to condone the impression of friendly partnership that did not exist. It was as if Ken Starr died and Bill Clinton published a eulogy.
posted by Valerie