The Moore Foundation has requested that the two following cover letters be published along with the White Paper.
Box 1, Camas, WA 98607
SUBJECT: Your phoned request about HR-6, Farris and the religious ravage of homeschooling
TO: Allison Tucker, Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C. & others
FROM: Raymond S. Moore (typist’s note: Dr. Moore’s signature appears here)
You ask for clarification of issues related to the Ad Hoc National Coalition of Home Educators [Coalition] objection to the HR-6 alarm by Michael Farris, president of the Homes School Legal Defense Association [HSLDA] who in part generated a favorable 424 to 1 vote. This raises long-standing issues which I will try to summarize, then give details in reply to many questions which have been raised by others. One said I may be asked about sour grapes. We are too blessed to worry about that. My concern is for families suffering out there. As 25-year Movement pioneers, information has long gravitated to us. There will be some repetition here in view of the complexities of the issues. I don’t mainly treat the HR-6 alarm as such, but mostly its relations, effects and rationales.
Top universities give our students scholarships. Unpaid laymen work smoothly, warmly and unitedly in helping us and others in their own states and across state borders, forming coalitions (not marriages!) that serve families of all faiths. We build mutual respect with school officials and legislators, as reasoning educational statesmen rather than as alarmed political hacks–in a Golden Rule treatment they prefer and most deserve. We show them which is the best of home education and why it works and how it becomes a model, a laboratory for better American schools.
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. Backed by publisher who profit by formal, conventional programs, it destroys the historic unity and quality of the Movement, splitting state groups by requiring a statement of faith. When we helped him start his legal defense program, Mike promised when all states made good laws, he would work himself out of a job. But now into big money, he has changed his mind and campaigns across the U.S. and Canada scaring parents into joining. We will show how the HR-6 alarm, his most notable of many, places the homeschool movement at risk, particularly when added to the self-serving religious intrusion.
We believe that homeschoolers should capitalize on their peerless record of achievement, behavior, sociability and entrepreneurial skills to show themselves friendly to legislators, school officials and laymen as a positive , altruistic movement instead of one that is alarmist, defensive, hypercritical and exclusive by religion. “Radicalizing the right”, vitiates the conservative movement.
We tell why, how, and when here, and are prepared to document all. For answers or information on proven answers for American schools or balanced, research-based work-study-service, low-stress, low-cost programs for homeschools’ best, send a 52-cent SASE to me c/o HR-6, Box, 1, Camas, WA 98607.
We don’t want to trade on anyone, but for those who feel generous toward what we are doing here, we would be grateful for financial sharing in this somewhat costly effort. Please make out any checks to the not-for-profit, IRS 5-2(c)(3), Moore Foundation, even though I am sending this out personally. Instead of giving my regular contribution to the operation of the Foundation, I will pay for extensive printing and mailing costs. Dorothy and I take no pay for our work in this Movement. She manages very well.
Box 1, Camas, Washington 98607
10 October 1994
As the homeschool movement’s senior professional, I have tried for 25 years to provide guidance as needed and as requested. Eleven years ago Gregg Harris raped our Foundation program in the crudest, boldest, most dishonest spree ever. Then in Arizona, he began splitting our hard-won state coalitions we had build over 15 years by introducing un-American religious discrimination. You helped bring Gregg to the conciliation table, but he came in with totally false personal charges which didn’t heal the rape but did end in a crucial agreement: 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. You generally reject custody suits, but spend unilaterally on a “national center” in non-defense fields, reject leaders’ demand for a representative center, and seek more members.
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. They build unity and friendships with legislators and school officials, yet say that you “Pillars” (1) breed fraud, hostility and weakness by (2) scaring people into joining HSLDA, (3) co-opting Sue and Sharon Grimes in her journal’s drive for more subscriptions by splitting strong, mostly Christian-led state coalitions coast to coast, and (4) judge, and tamper with, freedom of religions you don’t even understand.
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. You stand by Brian Ray’s false research. In my 80th year I don’t mind this privately, but I will not honor you while you honor your Pillar friends whose meetings you lead instead of leading them in honest, selfless ways.
I’ve counseled with evengelicals, district and federal judges, even a homeschooling metropolitan city editor, and this is the only way I know to get to you. I pray that you might somehow see how bigotry divides and destroys this great Movement.
Raymond S. Moore
typist’s note- the following was handwritten across the bottom of the page:
I will shortly send you a copy of my paper as requested by a major D.C. foundation.
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.
Homeschools have come of age as America’s most thriving education movement as measured by state studies of achievement from Alaska to Florida and of sociability in both state and national studies, and honored by leading university scholarships. After 1972 reports in Harper’s and Reader’s Digest of school-entrance-age studies which we began in 1969, a medley of parents — missionaries, world travelers, movie stars, sports heroes, farmers, wilderness people — surfaced as home teachers. School men were first interested more in later school ages than homeschools. Yet with troubled American schools and help from radio and TV like Dobson, Maddoux, Moody, Donahue, Winfrey and wide press, the idea flowered into a movement. Now informed church and public schools profit from it. It isn’t all perfect; one model may be better than others, but this old idea now scores very high!
Mike Farris is an engaging, energetic, strong-willed young lawyer with a fine family, ever on the lookout for brighter prospects. His HSLDA, like Rutherford, NALSAS and other defenders, has helped many families. But his service is offset by unilateral initiatives, creating alarm after alarm that spell catastrophe to the home education movement (Movement) and arrogance to those who were on the Movement’s battle line helping each other get started, often at great sacrifice, while he was still in high school. He reminds me, an ex-Army officer, of a draft-evading president who runs wars without reference to the Senate, maybe worried that it might disapprove and unaware that the Golden Rule is still 24 karat.
Yet as a senior professional, key researcher and founder of the Movement, I must write not only for thousands of hurting families, but also for key Coalition members who helped shape this paper. I accept personal accountability for it, fully aware of the probable diversity of its readers and of likely repercussions. We hope Mike, his board, staff and all Protestant exclusivists (PE’s) who split other faiths, including Roman Catholic, Jew, LDS, Muslim, etc., even a Lutheran the other day, from state or federal home education bodies see their Bible’s point that the greater danger isn’t non-Protestants, but mixing with greedy, slandering brothers:
- “I have written you…not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world…In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”
- Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:9-11, NIV.
In other words, I deeply wish that they could truly understand their Christ. Their divisiveness did not come from His Bible.
If any PE’s deny anything of substance that we say here, they can tell me or take me to court. That would be a great opportunity to get all out in the open. To write the worst here would seem so ungodly as to be unbelievable and make this letter appear absurd. Yet the evidence is prodigious.
PURPOSES OF THIS PAPER
Our main concerns are four: (1) To reunite state coalitions, (2) to protect vulnerable families, (3) to propose a representative national homeschool coalition or council, and (4) to build a strong sense of accountability among homeschools as family laboratories to help improve our conventional schools. We are not so personally offended by any of the persons mentioned here, as at the havoc they are wreaking. For the first 15 years (about 1969-84), most of us worked without pay until we had decent laws in most states, and still do. PE has already created havoc. Indifference to unity is more alarming than the HR-6 vote. Friendliness and concern for other schools, and setting sound examples, are homeschooling’s best defense.
Outline of this paper
Maybe I am senile as Mike says, but I still hold out a hope that he will yet make a selfless contribution to the Movement. I wish him well also on his ambitions to be a fine governor, senator or judge if he remembers that to be truly strong is not to be willful, and if he gets his ethics, money and political ambitions in order and his temper, tongue, and religious judgmentalism under control. This means that he must stop his projection of hostility in legislatures, courts and newsletters. This is crucial to underpin the strong moral example he wants to project. We are pained at him and his colleagues, one of whom brags as home education’s “Four Pillars”, for trying to control the Movement at the expense of others’ religious freedoms instead of winning laurels ethically. We here include accounts of Mike’s…
1. Losing crucial homeschool friends by pushing state and federal alarm buttons, alienating state and federal legislators and officials by treating them as pressure-vulnerable political hacks instead of befriending them, informing them, and reasoning with them as statesmen, as we have done for years. (See civil rights lawyer below.)
2. Rising addiction in recent years to use of alarms in states and nation which, while it attracts heroic attention to him and brings in more HSLDA money and members, actually destroys home education by turning a positive professional movement into a defensive one, generating fear that feeds personal political goals.
3. Cooperation with, and active participation in a PE campaign making homeschool state leadership and membership a test of faith, splitting state coalitions through outlawing Roman Catholics, Jews, LDS, Muslims, etc. by demanding the signing of Protestant vows.
4. Inadvertently or deliberately, yet unilaterally posing as state and national homeschool voice, offensive to selfless veterans who believe this should be the province of a representative national body. The HR-6 alarm is only one symptom of the PE attack, systematically destroying homeschool unity built against great odds for 15 years before Mike jumped in.
5. Inclination to use influential people to build his hero’s stage until he needs them no more or until they question his wisdom.
6. Prejudice agenda much like the Massachusetts Bay Colony ministers’ against Roger Williams.
7. Onion-thin-skin intolerance to any questioning of his or HSLDA’s wisdom, and temper of almost insane fury, yet reserving the right to judge others without checking his facts.
8. HSLDA has become well-to-do and prominent, yet largely rejects the generally most trying, dismal situations the custody cases.
9. The doubtful “Four-Pillar” ethics anger home-schoolers by religious prejudice to divide and destroy state coalitions.
10. Negative impact on the security of parents in general who during the Movement’s first 15 years or so were delighted to see any and all who came fully into the Movement.
In the remainder of this paper we first elaborate on its purposes, and include reactions of professionals and laymen to the issues. Then we flesh out the outline above and close with vignettes of the other three “Pillars” to provide a context – some idea of the characters and methods of his colleagues and, to some extent, reasons for Mike’s agenda.
CONCERNED LEADERS SPEAK OUT ON HR-6
Like aftershocks from an 8.0 Richter, we still receive visits, calls, faxes, letters, and cards on HR-6. Some made it clear that state officials prefer a single state organization or at least cooperating state groups to whom they can go. Legislators agree. 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.” It’s time for some common sense and sound group judgment which would better come from a representative national coalition than a unilateral effort by an obviously ambitious individual.
When I asked if there could be a reason for the hurry, she added, “There was plenty of time. And the [Senate/House] Conference Report specified that HR-6 applied only to public schools.” When I asked her idea on a representative American national homeschool council, she cheered, “Great! I look forward to that!” I should explain that anyone who knows Dobson, Bauer, Maddoux, Moody, Limbaugh and others may be surprised. These are good men. They research their programs with great care, but don’t know Mike. I was surprised, too. I was warned, but I didn’t know Mike either until he was through using me.
Years ago, before I knew his disposition – one that few of his friends (or family?) ever see – an American leader well known to all these men warned me to “Be careful what you give to Mike Farris, if you don’t want your movement destroyed,” and told me of his bold bent to take charge. Not fully understanding, I unwisely set the remark aside. Like most people, I didn’t really know Mike. Dorothy says I’m much too trusting. A veteran Christian leader labeled his agenda “an ad hominem attack (‘What’s good for HSLDA is good for the Movement’) by an ambitious young lawyer who doesn’t know that much credit for early growth of the Movement is deserved by secular leaders. He’s done a masterful job of getting himself in the headlines as a base for an aspiring political future. He is a masterful user.”
Another call came out of the blue from a perceptive, articulate Southern mother as I was finishing this paper: “As Christians,” she said, “they (Pillars’) don’t seem rational or intelligent about Christ, for He wouldn’t ever cut others off!…He (Farris) is inflammatory, always manipulating us, playing on our imaginations. I had just miscarried when our (state Christian organization) called in panic on HR-6. It almost did me in (sound of tears and an apology). Not only is he giving a bad name for homeschooling, but also a bad name for my Lord. The way he is going – the hostility he is creating – I’m afraid our good laws will crumble.”
A homeschooling father, a Roman Catholic, who is a city editor of a major daily newspaper called us, asking, “What can I do to help get this truth out?” Then added,
“Every American should be aware. Public schools should care. Homeschools, properly done, provide a shining example of how it should be done.”
Institutions as we see them now, are not geared to rear kids. We shouldn’t turn all our children over to them. There is need for national debate. And all should know the cynical, self-serving, disgusting, arrogant, un-American, unchristian hypocrisy of those who divide productive, unified state coalitions. Conservatives need to know the havoc that some of their own misguided people can do to their agenda.
Jill Boone’s Home Education Magazine letter quoted her friend, a senior Congressional manager who phoned on HR-6: “Unfortunately the callers left the impression of an uneducated…alarmed group who had been told to kill the Bill. They did not demonstrate any understanding of the Bill’s content nor the reasoning behind it.” With his scare tactics coast to coast, and without truth and selfless, unprejudiced unity, the Movement faces a dark age. We prefer to teach facts and positive attitudes to families and to develop permanent friends among officials and lawmakers – who are not as unreasonable as the alarm suggests.
After watching the development of the ‘exclusivism movement’ now spilling over into Canada, the abuse of secular families by “so-called Christian homeschoolers” and the need for unity which is now crucial, one Canadian leader asks “how much, if any of the (Canadian) crisis has been fabricated for that organization’s (HSLDA’s) financial gain, and how much of it is real? I find it unfortunate that instead of working together to solve problems at the community level, homeschoolers must first decide which of their (homeschool leaders and) neighbors they can trust.”
Farris the man
Some of us helped Mike start HSLDA after his first two tries went awry. He promised that when the last few states had good laws, HSLDA would work itself “out of a job.” We helped him whenever possible, even getting into trouble and out of his graces in Syracuse for doing him a distinct favor (more later on him and Sharon Grimes). I have often referred cases to HSLDA, and it has often used me as expert witness, acclaiming me its best.
But Coalition leaders try to mold their programs to a larger view. We were more concerned over HR-6, itself, than in amending it. Its defeat would place us in proper perspective as a positive, selfless movement, which it largely is. A leading U.S. Senate source, a homeschool dad whose counsel has been extremely helpful over the years, said, “You caught the gnat (amendment), but let an elephant (HR-6) through.” A conservative foundation official added, “You won a battle, but lost the war.” As accountable citizens, HR-6 should have been our prime target.
ALIENATING OFFICIALS AND LEGISLATORS
Permanent or transient good? Those who tell officials how bad the public schools are instead of documenting the excellence of home education are missing the boat. The HR-6 hysteria did seem to have an instant positive effect of making the Nation aware that homeschools must be reckoned with. Yet the nation was already on notice from our victories in 50 states. HR-6’s transient “good” was offset many times by its residual effect of resentment, anger, and unfriendliness on legislators it targeted who were forced to operate by pressure instead of Golden Rule information and reason, as we have successfully done until PE’s began their divisive wasting. There is no real freedom outside that rule!
Some insane (without reason) history. Since l964 when I was with the U.S. Office of Education (OE), HR-6 ancestors have composed our most costly school legislation in both money and children. If we were selfless, well-informed people with all the money we spent on the alarm, we may have defeated HR-6. Instead, it distracted lawmakers from debate on this very bad bill, and it slipped by for annual costs of over $10,000,000,000 and inestimable damage to America’s children. Institutional Head Start is an example. There is not a single replicable study that supports it. The only really successful program of this general type is the Home Start version that goes into the home instead of an institution, and helps parents make a better home to help not only the target child, but all the family. And this often spills over into the community.
In 1965, after many years of administering public and parochial school systems, colleges and universities, I watched from my OE desk as President Johnson’s political valets laid their coats down before HR-6’s 1965 grandma, then a debutante in the “Great Society,” so she could tip-toe down a slippery educational-political path to become, with Head Start, a Great Society dowager. There wasn’t, isn’t, nor likely ever will be replicable research to lift her if she fell. Now she is so made up by Great Society cosmetics and face lifts that vested interests fall for her, more in lust than for beauty. Later, on a university inspection trip west, I also represented the OE at public school meetings when a grim Fairfield, California curriculum director told me, “Titles I and II (of old HR-6) are ruining our kids.” When I asked why they took the money, he said, “If we don’t, we’ll lose our jobs. The fed intrudes in our neighborhoods at our expense both in cash and damaged kids.” As a former CA school superintendent, I understood.
Not all legislators were fooled. In 1973, House Education Sub-Committee Chair Edith Green (D-OR) joined Senator James Buckley’s (R-NY) initiative to find money to continue our research that fathered the homeschool movement. They had read our reports in Harper’s and Reader’s Digest. When I told her of my Fairfield experience, she moaned, “Yes, Dr. Moore, I know. I did my best to help the President (Johnson) create his ‘Great Society,’ but now I’m using every bone in my body to dismantle it.” California Congressman Don Clausen was there, and I believe Minnesota’s Al Quie. I talked with her again after she quit Congress to be president of Reed College where she held those convictions even more freely.
The real home educators. To the anguish of Movement veterans, the HR-6 alarm left some media and lawmakers with a feeling that home teachers variously are antsy, impetuous, tasteless, defensive, inferiority-complexed: a clan awash in mediocrity who prefer to deal in shock and react to fear. This is uncommonly scary when it happens within an honest and worthy conservative movement, where the great majority are inspired, courageous, wise American examples on how to deal with powers-that-be. True homeschool parents rarely rear delinquents, pretenders, or reckless offspring. Most are highly reputable, thoughtful, courageous parents, including attorneys, businessmen and women, carpenters, judges, homemakers, engineers, linemen, IRS/FBI agents, farmers, nurses, legislators, builders, publishers, professors, psychologists, and social workers, among many others. Its largest professional group consists of public school staffers!
The great majority are thinking people who maintain close touch with local officials, legislators and informed agencies in D.C., and act in warm collegiality with experienced colleagues in the certainty that in old-fashioned home education the shining examples are they that offer balanced programs of study, creative work and altruistic service (as Harvard and others appreciate) with strong learning tools, but creatively centering on the interests of their students instead of being forced through an extrusion process of canned curricula where all come out about the same-size sausage. Their offspring excel in achievement, behavior, and sociability. They develop entrepreneurial skills and enjoy home and community service. Americans need not be guilty of our presuming on their children as I have personally seen in the NEA. For 25 years we’ve worked to build a homeschool constituency that doesn’t feel it has to be looking over its shoulder for fear its children may be swallowed by the state. So it’s disheartening for opportunistic interests (some say “greedy”) to intrude and divide a Movement which shares without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin.
ALARMS: ALIENATING THE MEDIA
Whether or not we agreed with Mike’s tactics to pressure a vote against the HR-6 amendment demanding teacher certification, we did cooperate, concerned, as media men may also have been, that there may be hidden legislative agendas. So we were trapped. Yet to the extent that I co-opted Mike’s alarm, I hurt homeschooling. I wasn’t happy either way! Tongue in cheek, I accepted Jim Warren’s invitation to take two segments on Moody Network’s Prime Time America rather than risk his being left in the dust.
Therein again lies the danger in Mike’s impulsive tactics devoid of perspective. Congressmen and media persons who are skeptical about the need for an alarm face the risk of doubtful home folk if they don’t vote for a law or promote it on radios/TV, knowing that uninformed tactics eventually make enemies. Yet dare they ignore even non-issues lest they be left in the dust? One of the media folk mentioned by the civil rights attorney above said he felt the alarm was needed. We doubt that, but don’t argue it. Our case centers on building unity and professionalism. Another she mentioned said they knew Farris well. These people are dear to me, and I know their honesty well enough that if they knew him as well as I, they would be very sad.
THE PROTESTANT EXCLUSIVIST QUEST
To those caught up in the Pillar’s “Christian” PE march, we ask if you can possibly see exclusivism as an inexorable a form of bigotry as when God three times admonished Peter not to judge any one “unclean” (Acts 10) or at least as intolerant and greedy as the ancient Pharisees whom Christ angrily condemned. Can you arrange your Christian ideals so that you justify such conduct, judging as you do, often without an iota of understanding of their beliefs? Are you without prejudice? Do you see that you will go down and take our Movement with you? If you as Protestants do believe the Bible, you know the consequences may be eternal.
We will describe more later under “Gregg Harris” and “Sue Welch” how PE operates, but it is important at this point to summarize Mike’s involvement: He (1) is the big Pillar to PE leaders; (2) works very closely with Sue Welch (and helper Sharon Grimes), the PE cutting edge, chairing her national meetings, writing regular columns and is so trusted an advisor that sometimes she will talk only when he is on the phone; (3) is generally closely identified with PE agencies and uses PE state people on his National Center for Home Education (NCHE) Advisory Committee instead of those from original state coalitions; and (4) his staff directly contributes to the PE dividing of state coalitions.
FARRIS, THE VOICE OF HOME EDUCATION?
The Coalition views Mike as a relative latecomer who, as head of one of several legal defense agencies, perhaps unwittingly, is not satisfied to try for excellence in his profession, but seeks to be a generic voice, now that HSLDA is in the money. He co-opts, generates or supports state as well as federal scares. He may see his efforts as good public relations for homeschooling, but the Coalition, along with key American thinkers, much of the media, and lawmakers are badly disappointed, even angered. They know, as Mike should know, that defense agencies receive only a small proportion of the legal inquiries. Pressure votes from legislators offer no assurance of friendship toward homeschooling.
One homeschool leader says, Mike “acts as if only attorneys understand legal and legislative modes, and recruits HSLDA members at a time prosecutions have sharply decreased, in an arrogant pursuit of money and power while rebuffing the Movement’s desperate need for unity.” Also, with all their money, he and HSLDA reject many of the most needy cases which then have to be picked up, often gratis, by altruistic defenders. We are glad there have been some exceptions, but, if you have any doubts, ask for the record. This month I suggested HSLDA for a non-member, non-custody case in Atlanta, and Attorney Joseph Kenyon offered free services, but he advised me he did it on his own, not as HSLDA policy. Others not of HSLDA, including Steve Graber, John Whitehead and Rutherford (including Shelby Sharpe), Dan Grimm, Bill Graves, Bill O’Mara, et al are taking these cases with little or no money, but with distinguished success.
Coalition folk see Farris’ NCHE as “on the record ill-equipped by experience and research to provide the quality of professional leadership to deal with oft times hostile agencies.” They report his “obtaining exclusive homeschool rights to certain standardized tests, thus depriving mothers who were doing a great job of testing as a home industry.” Mike then handed it over to a university, which was likely unaware of the grief incurred to home industries.
Many ask why he doesn’t settle down to do a better and more complete job of legal defense instead of intruding into professional areas in which he and his staff are less than the best. For example Mike writes, “…the only real defense against burnout for the Christian homeschooling family is God’s mighty power. Academic strategies deserve only a passing reference in building a defense against burnout” (sounds like Gregg Harris). I daily trust God’s mighty power. Yet to use an analogy from Mike’s profession as he presumes on mine, I wonder if he would say, “The only real defense against court action for the Christian homeschooling family is God’s mighty power. Lawyer strategies deserve only a passing reference in building a defense against an unconstitutional charge.” Mike seems to have little respect for the Movement’s basic research and top homeschool programs as measured by scholarships, behavior, creativity and character. He knows a lot about homeschool law, but it should not be below him to grant acknowledgment to professionals in education.
Just as there are occasional homeschool cases that badly need a lawyer, there are burnout cases badly in need of academic help, lest they and/or their children lose their mental, physical or emotional health, i.e. burn out. I learned not to witness for parents needing a lawyer, but who decided they didn’t need one. Mike here demonstrates his provincial orientation to homeschooling and quality of “national” center. As with Colfaxes and many Moore Formula families (one with seven current scholarship students), a disproportionately large number of scholarships go to parents who give more than casual notice to academics by (1) refusing to rush their kids into formal studies, (2) combining sound tools like grammar and math with a focus on the child’s worthwhile interests, and (3) balancing student-centered study with work and service. Many parents were burned out by some of the biggest, most expensive curricula in home education. Now Mike sets himself up as judge of their experience with God.
Another is his colleague Brian Ray’s “national” research institute, which has used HSLDA’s Paeonian Springs address and which at best is a “national” pretense when measured with dozens of mature research programs, but who gives Mike the satisfaction, however dubious, of considering HSLDA samplings generic to all U.S. homeschooling, and some of whose “research” is so far off track as to be obvious to an elementary school child. (More later.)
In dealing with certain PE leaders – one for well over 10 years – various of us have tried, perhaps not always wisely, to counter their damage to the Movement. Some counseled us to “Let God take care of them” (that could be good or terrible). Christians believe in the golden rule that we don’t share Christ’s grace if we don’t claim it for our “enemies.” Yet Ezekiel (33:6-9) balances this with a warning that if we as watchmen don’t warn those who may be hurt, their blood will be on our heads. Farris knows well that PE dividing of state coalitions was conceived in proven deceit, but not by him (more below). Yet he is now a key player. He co-opts as PE speaker, chairman, and through staff and financial ties is central among those who ignore others’ freedoms and splinter state coalitions in the name of Christ and religion. If he is blind on this, we will give him or an appropriate panel, chapter and verse. (More later.)
Mike acts and speaks as though he leads the homeschool majority, yet HSLDA members loyal to his agenda likely include less than ten percent of all homeschoolers. Coalition members and their inclusivist colleagues have a heavy plurality. Mike isn’t alone in this context. PE’s, often explicitly led by “Pillars,” are with him hand-in-glove. If he said, “Stop,” they would surely slow down and likely stop. By going into state after state with alarms and ungodly and un-American PE doctrines, they systematically splinter veteran coalitions and destroy the Movement’s vital unity which won our good state laws. HSLDA has enjoyed exclusivist support increasingly in its recruitment over the last five to ten years. Yet not all HSLDA members like Mike’s agenda. Some of them volunteered documentation for this paper.
He stated repeatedly as Sue Welch’s national meeting chairman that he rejects a representative national organization as proposed by Coalitioners. Instead of concentrating on a defense operation in which he has some expertise, he prefers to expand his horizons. His unilaterally established NCHE is a non-defense operation for which there is time and money now that there are few court cases, and affords broader exposure and more generous avenues for political ambitions than unpopular homeschools provide, as he plans to run for U.S. Senate in 1996.
Figures and facts
Mike’s numbers game. Note his figures and words on NCHE or HSLDA, and then the facts. He is right in writing a Missouri mother, “Please check your facts and sources and if you want serious answers please get back to me with actual statements I am alleged to have made.” Here are a few of them:
1. “I do not have either the time nor inclination to defend myself against random charges which are not based on specific statements. Suffice it to say for now, I do not consider myself the ‘unelected spokesman for all home schoolers.’ I am the president of an organization of over 40,000 families who have voluntarily joined. When I speak in Congress, I speak for them. As to the 14 organizations in the Ad-Hoc Coalition, the question is not why HSLDA did not join with them, the question is why they refused to join the over 2,000 home school organizations that stood with us in our coalition against the Miller provision in H.R. 6?”
Those familiar both with the Congress and with homeschooling, ask four questions here, apart from addressing her assumption that he acts as if he were homeschooling’s voice:
- Are all HSLDA members in the highest sense ‘voluntary?’
- Do many or most of them join under some kind of stress, some, false alarms?
- Is Mike fantasizing or does he really speak in Congress?
- In comparing 14 Coalition members and “2,000 homeschool organizations,” is he equating apples with apples or pumpkins with peanuts?
Most or all of the 14 are national agencies, some of them larger and/or certainly far more experienced and geographically extensive than HSLDA. Mike’s “2,000” are likely local support groups, including, as we have said, many who don’t agree with him. Some Coalition members like Moore Foundation and Holt Associates number their support clientele in hundreds or thousands of support groups. In the U.S. and Canada, there are estimated to be well over 10,000 support groups of two or three to several hundred families.
2. Again, to answer with specific statements, as he demands: On an interview on Maddoux’s Point Of View,Mike vowed
- “we have never had a family where the parents were forced involuntarily to stop homeschooling their kids.”
- He added that parents should not wait to write about HR-6, but call or use overnight mail to the Congress.
- The same lady who sent me the tape, enclosed the front page of the West Virginia Homeschool Banner reporting that “…Judge Haden denied HSLDA’s request….As a result Brent Null is back in a public school.”
- Nor was a fax or phone or expensive overnight letter imperative on the Miller Amendment; the final vote was not due for at least four months. There were other solutions besides alarms, such as insisting on using in the amendment the word “public” before “school” or visiting lawmakers personally, as some of us have been doing.
We don’t say there should be no alarms. One possible example: a recent federal proposal on lobbying. We do say there should be very few in home education, and they should be done with counsel by a wide range of veterans with much more experience than Mike, for he is toying with all of homeschooling in his state and federal scares. A Tennessee mother said that virtually every time she receives a call from her state organization, it is an HSLDA scare.
How PE began among homeschoolers
Most PE’s began operating after risks had diminished some 15 years after the Movement’s beginnings, led by Gregg Harris who styled himself one of the “Four Pillars of Home Education” along with Farris, editor Sue Welch and researcher Brian Ray. I see no published disclaimers from the other three.
Operating as they do from within the Movement to splinter state coalition unity, PE’s pose a greater threat to homeschools than do many public schools, the National Education Association (NEA), or the Congress. Mike’s actions and words on coalition clearly show that he rejects the wisdom of Movement leaders at large. His mix of state and federal alarms and PE ties also bring him more members, which translates into prominence, independence and money, now particularly critical as he develops his new political action committee (PAC).
Farris’ false vow
Farris is a driver, but many helped him put HSLDA together after he stumbled twice, its needed stability provided by his outstanding Executive VP Attorney Michael Smith. Not long ago I asked Smith, who has been a dear friend to me, about their promise when they asked for my endorsement on Farris’ third try to start HSLDA. Having successfully defended families for 15 years before HSLDA, Dorothy and I knew that all but several states had good laws and there would be few court cases other than custody suits – which HSLDA has generally refused. So I asked them what they would do then. They replied that they would work themselves out of a job. Instead, Farris accelerated their membership drive, taking money in many places, we feel, under false pretenses. Some call it fraud.
I reminded Smith of
- HSLDA’s obvious wealth,
- quite good laws in all states,
- relatively few court cases except for custody cases,
- Farris’ campaign for members in states that have little or no need for “protection,” and
- undue financial stress on low-income parents.
Smith replied, “Mike has changed his mind,” i.e. he decided not to keep his word. After substantial financial and other dealings with Gregg Harris, his sponsors and others have long labeled him a con-artist, but I didn’t expect anything like this of Farris. Yet he is a user. I would never have endorsed him if I had any idea that opportunism would void his promise.
Some of us told him long ago that NCHE was not needed for further monitoring of federal government. We have plenty of D.C. and state phone trees manned by veterans from Concerned Women For America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Heritage and Free Congress Foundations, Rutherford and help from such as American Enterprise Institute and Brookings. What we do need is unity and ethical, selfless common sense. On HR-6 alone, Rutherford’s staff visited all congressional offices with facts and sound reasoning. Mike, himself, keeps us continually scared: Relatively new in D.C., out on a limb setting alarms without counsel from home education’s representative majority, using Congress and media boldly in what some see primarily as “grandstanding.”
If he says he is not doing this, that is all the more scary, for then he would not be aware of the seriousness of his acts. It reminds me of an elderly laborer working outside on our Glendale, CA hospital construction job, who got out on a tree limb on the wrong side of his saw and ended up inside the hospital. I hope for his sake and ours that does not happen to Mike.
Background of the issues
In recent years Coalition folk have been puzzled, frustrated, and finally angered at the division of once-unified state groups and assemblies. Agents of the Teaching Home, HSLDA and/or allies are usually “invited” by persons or small cliques of their making. They specifically arrange some of these programs. Yet exclusivists have disturbed or destroyed state organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Virginia, Wisconsin et al, not to mention British Columbia and Alberta and other Canadian provinces where we long ago built strong relations with the governments, including a minister of education and a First Nation’s (Indian) leader.
Solution here is crucial, for legislators insist we must rebuild unity if we want to maintain good laws. Despite state and national showings of homeschooling’s consistently superior averages in achievement, behavior and sociability, the NEA and its cohorts must be uninformed, misinformed, indifferent or ignorant to an astonishing degree, refusing as they do to face truth and make use of the revival of a proven American practice for centuries, at a time they desperately need it. So they wait for us just around every legislative and media corner with ill-begotten slander. Yet PE strategy is just as unprofessional.
Denying religious freedoms
Freedom lets me, a conservative Protestant, differ in doctrine from others, but it does not license me ethically to attack or exclude any of them from a family-education movement. Even worse, Mike accuses sound Christians of being agents of Satan, of false faiths or as unsaved. He judges freely, forgetting the injunction of his Bible to “Judge not, that you be not judged; for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged.” His unsavory indictment of Home Education Magazine editor Mark Hegener is widely known. He labeled as “unsaved” Sandi Hall, a model Christian who was then leader of the large Washington Homeschool Organization (WHO). He derides top Wisconsin leader Larry Kaseman because he is not a lawyer yet has opinions on legislation. Do Farris, Harris, Welch, Grimes and other PE’s, believe Christ’s order to “Go…and teach all nations?” St. Paul had this in mind when he wrote to the Romans, “I am debtor to the Greeks, and (even) to the Barbarians.” Christ set the example with Zaccheus the Publican, Mary the harlot, the Samaritan woman, and Peter with the Roman Centurion Cornelius: as well as the vision where God told him not to call others “unclean.”
My attempts at solution
I have written, phoned, visited or otherwise attempted to resolve these matters with PE heads, in line with Matthew 18, but without success. Their general reason, repeated and amplified by Mike to me personally is that they are Christians, my religion is false, and I am senile. I hope it helps to know that I have taken the counsel of unnumbered leaders, ministers, lawyers and judges, two of them presiding federal district judges, both involved in one way or another in homeschooling. It would be presumptuous for Dorothy and me to think we understand Christ’s cross, yet we do have some understanding of what Machiavelli wrote in The Prince in 1513:
“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all who profit by the old order, and only luke-warm defenders in all those who profit by the new order. This luke-warmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries, who have law in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it.”
Christ made no allowances for PE rationale that if they associate with other faiths, their children might be contaminated. Would that keep them from joining a country club or political party that includes colleagues of other faiths? Or how do they deal with children in their own churches who are less than angels? Or yet with those who sign a faith statement expediently but not in principle? There is nothing that compels parents to take children to state or other political meetings. There is no rule in any home education coalition or support group that requires a family to hob-nob with others. Do they know how such exclusion developed after homeschooling was well established as a worthy movement? Perhaps they should.
It was born in fraud by a man desperate for his own constituency after he was fired from a homeschool job he secured under false pretenses. He then lied to state leaders that his employer was too busy to keep his seminar commitments, so he would be coming in his employer’s place. All of this was unknown to his employer. Mike knows Gregg Harris well, author of this deliberate, gross deceit and his destruction of state coalitions, beginning with Arizona. Yet instead of correcting him, he works with him and joins him in openly ridiculing others for their faiths. (See on [sic] Harris below.)
For the Movement’s first 15 years (1969-84) home educators knew nothing like arrogance or greed. Even public schools did not take the Movement seriously for its first five or ten years and provided little dissent until the NEA sensed a threat to its monopoly. At first, approving letters from public educators far outnumbered disapprovals, including hundreds of letters from school officials and state university faculties. We have accepted invitations from more than 30 of them to share in writing their textbooks. Moreover, leaders like John Holt, the Colfaxes, and Nancy Plent who made no religious claims, are largely ignored by PE’s although they brought great credit to the Movement. Three Colfax boys went to Harvard on scholarships, and a fourth (and second adoptee) is already a gem. They have been more deeply involved in altruistic missions than most Christians. Similarly in our Moore Academy curricula religious preference seems to make no difference in achieving many scholarships from major universities. One Moore Formula family already has seven on such scholarships, including post-doctoral fellowships in physics at Stanford and post-medical in psychiatry at Southern California. We make no distinction by faith, but to our knowledge, we have had no college refusals. Yet our highest goals are selfless character and skill for making a living.
The declining need for legal defense. In the early homeschool years, we helped all schools. I was expert witness more often for standard Christian schools – most often Pentecostal and Baptist – where we won nearly all cases taken to court. These have benefited by sound homeschool laws, so seldom go to court any more. They need no special defense program; nor do homeschools. Alarms are rarely if ever needed. Most panics are set off by people who are misinformed, disposed to rumor, need an ego boost or have a vested interest.
Christian and secular compared
In an effort to make allowances for their behavior, we realize that PE leaders like the “Pillars” likely know little of early crises in the Movement. Homeschool families were reported to the authorities as truants more often by Christian relatives than secular. Lack of information on the nature and success of homeschooling led to early general rebukes of homeschoolers by Protestant and Roman Catholic schools that became supportive as they became informed. We did not blame them under the circumstances for fearing loss of students. Yet alert schools grew mightily as umbrellas or mothering schools, many of them “covering” hundreds of homeschools, and one of them now “mothers” more than 25,000 homeschool students.
Secular publishers were cooperative from the first, but we had a problem meeting family demands for Christian materials: Some major Christian publishers would not knowingly sell a book to homeschool families, so we had to buy through other sources. Some top church school officials labeled homeschools “ridiculous.” Such schools at least eventually saw the potential profit in the Movement, yet Beka Horton of Abeka still says in print and in practice that she has no use for the research which formed modern home education’s base.
Such behavior is, of course, not new. I believe most PE’s are honest, sincere parents who are unwittingly led in a vicious crusade, much like the Apostle Paul who at first had no use for Christ and His love for “gentiles.” He and fellow Pharisees and rabbis pushed Christ to His severest censure of any churchmen. Christ called them “…hypocrites…whitewashed tombs…beautiful on the outside but on the inside…full of dead bones and everything unclean” [Matthew 23].
Working with school systems
We work closely with many public and parochial school systems. One example is California’s Orange County Schools where homeschool liaison officer Red Balfour works with close to a thousand families. Yet key California PE leaders are hostile to the program. For one thing, it doesn’t need HSLDA. Nor do those under the “umbrellas” of church schools, as we have noted.
Parents tell of being scared into joining HSLDA. They often laugh when asked if they are loyal members. Some novice parents do it because PE’s say it’s the thing to do or because of transient alarms, even in states like Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Texas, and Washington, which offer no threats at all. Defense needs depend largely upon the quality of home-school programs. Those most often in court are they who use school-at-home curricula, in contrast with high-performing less formal programs like Colfax’s and Moore’s that center on student interests and balance strong study skills with work and service. Such families rarely if ever go to court. Nor do such family schools have parent and child burnout.
Dorothy and I have spent well over twice as long in homeschool defense as HSLDA, and currently pick up cases they reject. We believe we understand these needs. In dealing with D.A.’s, judges and school officials, we use Dorothy’s credentials as an honored Los Angeles County remedial specialist and university teacher and mine as a former CA city school head (both life-certified) along with experience as teacher-education dean; college and university administrator, university consortium leader, and graduate research and programs officer with the U.S. Office of Education (OE). As seasoned professionals, we settled over 99% of homeschool legal problems out of court. Our most successful lawyers agree that they are seldom needed now. We handled thousands of such threats in the early years when many state laws were uncertain. Most court cases now involve (1) custody issues where one spouse tries to seize children from another by creating homeschool biases – the stickiest kind, for which we must help for little or nothing, using such sacrificial lawyers or defense agencies as Vernon Alger, Steve Graber, Bill Graves, Bill O’Mara, John Whitehead’s Rutherford Institute, Ed Nagel’s NALSAS, et al, (2) states that PE’s splinter and disunify, weakening the homeschool fabric and reputation. States in danger of losing freedoms are generally PE-dominated locales: The more division, the fewer freedoms.
A pattern of intrusion
We would like to think that those most involved in fear tactics don’t realize what they are doing. They were not around 10-25 years ago in the tough, tight-money times when most state laws were developed. In New York, where some of us worked for years and had the confidence of the vice-chancellor of the state system (the State Elementary Supervisor Fran Nolan was our dear friend), we were planning with the legislature, and Farris came in along with Sue Welch’s agent, Sharon Grimes. They arranged with subordinate NY officials for a policy of Mike’s design which is more restrictive. He was harshly critical of Linda Dobson and Emily Makepeace, New York mothers who rightly wanted more freedom than he and his PE’s sought, although he was a relatively inexperienced person in New York matters.
In Connecticut two irate mothers said, to the shock of lawmakers, “Mr. Farris elbowed us out of his way when we were listed to speak at state hearings.” “Physically?” we asked. “Yes, physically,” both replied. Not surprisingly, he says Connecticut is a problem state. He also certainly knows of current strong displeasure about HSLDA intrusions into Michigan, of the strong feelings of Christian leaders against his staffer’s approved incursions into Wisconsin. A top Washington State leader called me as I write this, fearing a PE-W.A.T.C.H. takeover of our already Christian-led Washington Homeschool Organization (see below) after W.A.T.C.H. jettisoned its original but now wiser leader.
Mike’s first federal alarm
The case of S.695. In 1990 some of us worked closely and effectively with S.695’s national teacher certification sponsors, including a member of their board, to modify parts of the proposed law and to protect non-public schools. Yet Mike unilaterally rang an alarm, then quickly claimed credit which legislators and D.C. leaders said should be credited to others. Four years later, haunted by S.695-and many state panics-after his HR-6 scare, national homeschool leaders were convinced that Farris’ one-man show was out of hand, and began an ad hoc representative coalition.
Inconsistency of PE rationale
While I don’t deserve credit for organizing the Coalition with its mixture of Christians and other faiths and non-faiths, we joined it because we agree with its agenda of unity and religious freedom. Coalition members may be of diverse faiths, but in dealing with the state, their common threads are parental freedom and the Golden Rule. Already, RC, LDS, Jew, Muslim and secular tell us that PE interdiction has driven them into forming their own groups. Nodding to. 2 Cor 6:14, they ask, “Are we unequally yoked when we seek mutual freedoms?” To be yoked in marriage, business, or church membership is one thing, but to participate in a coalition is by definition quite another. Are homeschoolers any more yoking than Farris’ membership in a national council of mixed faiths that is open to RC, LDS, et al or a political party which also sponsors family functions? Would he exclude RC or LDS or Jew from a country club? Or do it only to worthy parents who are trying to protect their family freedom? Many wonder if it is because his reasons are vested?
Do “born again” Christians evangelize by cutting others off? Dr. Robert P. Dugan, Director of the Washington, D.C. office of the National Association of Evangelicals, goes straight to the point:
“Simply put, when we enter into political battle on issues within our range of concerns, we attempt to build the widest possible coalition of support. The faith, even non-faith, of other groups is unimportant within the political context…. It would be extremely shortsighted for evangelicals to limit their public affairs and political issues coalitions to those of their own faith.” [Letter, Dec. 21, 1990 to RSM]
I am asked to clarify my background. I am a Bible-based Protestant Christian (Seventh-day Adventist) whose church emerged from Baptist, Congregational and Methodist communions and has been rated both by cult authority Walter Martin and by all who know its creed, as conservative Protestant. I can honestly sign most PE statements of faith, but choose not to under these circumstances.
I began teaching college introductory English at 17, so my professional background ranges well over 60 years, including public school teacher, principal, city school superintendent and church school system head; U.S. Amy officer (WWII); college/university dean, VP or head; U.S. Office of Education (OE) graduate research and programs officer; in-house consultant at the NEA for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; advanced study university consortium head (Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Tulane, Wisconsin); research foundation director and White House and Congressional consultant concurrently for 30 years. During my research years since the OE, I have enjoyed faculty or research director recognition by such universities as Andrews, Antioch, Arizona State (Office of Parent Development International), Colorado (Medical School), Lakeside (Canada), Nevada (National Council of Juvenile Court and Family Judges), Stanford et al, and the U.S. National Center for Educational Statistics.
Although Dorothy and I began homeschooling in 1944, it was 1969 to 1975 when we built the private- and Congress-sponsored research base for the Homeschool Movement. Our 1972 pieces in Harper’s and Reader’s Digest drew attention from Germany and Portugal to Australia and Japan, and soon we were bonding with people of all faiths. Determined lay people and professionals were allies in principle or method without regard to race or creed, determined to be so objective, accurate, and patient that we would win by reason and documentation. The thought of alarms never entered our minds.
The first 15 of those 25 years local laymen did the heavy spading, while we professionals served as needed by instilling confidence through research and results. Alert leaders helped us catch school officials, district attorneys, or judges before arrests were made. Assuming the same procedures and unity now with 50 states relatively free, parents are about as likely to be arrested as to be struck by lightning. Where there is unity, there has been no reason for state nor federal alarms. Legislators at both state and national levels wonder at the HR-6 turn which demanded that they vote our way under threat instead of voting for us because we are reasonable and worthy as they did in the pre-Farris years when they saw us as a friendly breath of fresh air instead of political-hack pressurizers of the NEA.
To our knowledge, in 25 years of the Movement, no Moore Formula homeschool child has gone to court. So, as Carl Sandburg said, we don’t need to fear the future except as we forget our past. Thousands of Coalition leaders are in touch with legislators and informed agencies, and act only from thorough inquiry with experienced colleagues. Panic cries like HR-6 suggest refusal by homeschoolers to recognize legislators as ethical professionals who can be reached by logic and facts, and who have reason to be annoyed. It is a sure way to shoot our conservative wounded and lose the confidence of state or federal legislators and officials. When we follow the Golden Rule, we win. When we don’t, we lose. Otherwise, how are we any more respectable than the NEA?
To school officials, judges, state and federal legislators, writers, and others unfamiliar with the Movement (which is really a renaissance): Bear in mind that home education, however imperfect,
- largely led in U.S. education until this century,
- achieves high functional literacy akin to the 1800’s, and by far the highest behavior and sociability levels in America,
- is thoroughly research-proven,
- achieved most of our sound state laws before exclusivists entered the Movement, (5) likely saves taxpayers $5,000,000,000 or more yearly,
- continues to grow at a double-digit rate,
- has long-term, research-based success which is closely related in legislatures to Coalition members who treat officials as reasoning statesmen and see Mike’s unilateral actions destroying far more freedoms and excellence than they establish and
- is welcomed from Harvard to Stanford when it is carried out in balance with sound study based on student interests, with creative manual work and altruistic service.
Farris as an authority
It will help Mike if he reflects on how resentful he acts when any leaders enter what he considers his legal domainas he has done with Larry Kaseman-yet how blithely and presumptuously Mike moves into professional areas other than his own and takes over where pioneers were cutting paths while he was still in high school. Yet these folks seem less resentful than concerned with Mike’s operation, so destructive as it is of unity.
He feels that the political world beckons. Many who know him well, sense that with millions of dollars in annual HSLDA income, he feels free to do anything that will advance ambitions for federal judgeship, lieutenant governor, or now a fund-raising PAC and 1996 VA run for senator. He ignores the danger that his expediency often overrides principle. For example,
- his setting ethics aside and defaulting on his promise to close HSLDA when states have good laws,
- his unilateral, arrogant disdain of opinions of Coalition pioneers, and
- ill-considered PE where ambition seems to supersede common sense.
We would like to greet him as statesman rather than unethical politico, and as a master lawyer like Vernon Alger, William Ball, Wendell Bird, Peter Bradstreet, John Eidsmoe, Gibbs Craze, Steve Graber, Bill Graves, Tom Guilfoyle, Sam Lanham, Bill O’Mara, Milt Schulman, Shelby Sharpe, Greg Swoboda, John Whitehead and Rutherford colleagues who rarely if ever have lost a homeschool case, and who presume on no one! It could mean unity and effectiveness in home education. If he makes this change, the Coalition invites him to join them in developing and organizing a representative national agency. Then he can freely build sound freedom-of-choice principles on which he claims to base his actions. We would be delighted then to support his political ambitions as a selfless emissary of the Movement.
Coalition characters and HR-6
While none of us is perfect, I have found most Coalition leaders to be large-minded. Most of them serve without pay. Since 1969 they have applied necessary pressures in gentle but firm and well-documented ways, reserving alarms for genuine emergencies, and dignifying both homeschooler and lawmaker. They know
- there is no replicated research suggesting that certification measures teaching skills;
- HR-6 is a bold, NEA-bred or backed invasion of state rights;
- many school men have for 30 years viewed HR-6-type laws as grievous legislation, and
- besides saving taxes, creative, balanced, altruistic homeschools offer models for an American education turn-around.
During the first 15 pioneer years of the Movement, Dorothy and I had no reason to anticipate what is now happening. It was only after the big risks were taken and most of the state battles were won that the Pillars and their kind began to take over, to use the Movement as a stepping stone to stated money goals or political office, and to upset a smoothly-moving operation without concern for the prized freedoms of the majority, including Mike’s and the PE’s…
- Chain of state and federal alarms which do not dignify the media, legislators, officials or the homeschool movement.
- Actions in a crusade to exclude from state and national homeschool leadership all faiths who cannot, or who for reasons of religious freedom will not, sign a prescribed statement of faith (we tell below who, why, and how this began, its relation to the alarm, and its current status).
- Use of religion directly or indirectly to divide and/or destroy productive state coalitions which secured sound state parent freedom laws largely before they came into the Movement.
- Rationalization that HSLDA represents all Christians and therefore the majority of homeschools, endowing him as policy man.
- Refusal to cooperate with more experienced national groups which are alert to state and national legislation and to work closely with legislators, and who have long proposed both representative state and national coalitions in the interests of unity before courts, legislatures, school officials, and laymen.
- Unilateral attempt to be the national centers instead of fostering true centers of home education and research.
- Indifference and insensitivity to risk and destruction of the homeschool movement, secured by close to a $4,000,000 yearly income from 40,000 members who may range to as much as 10% of all home educators, although not all of them support his agenda.
- False or exaggerated claims to media, e.g. West Virginia.
- Failure to keep his promise to original endorsers to close HSLDA when all recognize home education and legal threats decline; but instead avidly seeks more members although certain of his own lawyers have written me that the few cases can be better and more economically handled by state or local groups. Some folks say Mike is taking money under false pretenses, a form of fraud. Some Californians are especially piqued with few cases and $500,000 to $1,000,000 or more payout to HSLDA.
- Explicitly divisive moves in state coalitions, e.g. in Washington State where he scared laymen and leaders into thinking their law was in danger when there was no problem, and highly-cooperative state officials were offended by “an apparent pattern of misinterpretation, innuendo and fabrication…totally false allegations.” All the reporting homeschoolers interpreted Farris’ statement as a Washington HSLDA membership drive. He also co-opted the development of the Washington Association of Teaching Christian Homes (W.A.T.C.H.), a splinter organization, as speaker and HSLDA booster (more on this under Harris and Welch below). And similar operations by him and his associates in other states, e.g. WI.
- His reported selection of his national advisory board mainly or entirely PE people. (More below.)
- Thin-skinned, intransigent, quick and bold of tongue in judgment when anyone judges him or HSLDA.
- As chairman of Sue Welch’s national meetings, denied state homeschool leaders petitions to have a representative national organization.
- By his continuing actions, co-opting the PE doctrine that divides states as with W.A.T.C.H. and other groups, and ignoring those who do not sign statements of faith, yet his joining other organizations that have no creedal restrictions, as with Republican groups, et at, Mike (1) knew that both major Washington State coalitions and Wisconsin, et al were Christian-led, and (2) helped initiate the 1987 Christian Legal Society accord that provided for no incursions into states by new organizations without first obtaining the approval of existing state organizations.
HOW EXCLUSIVISM WAS BOTTOM LINE TO THE HR-6 ALARM
Alarms are a low-cost (to HSLDA) way of rallying and galvanizing PE’s, at a high financial and spiritual cost to the Movement. Mike claims a million HR-6 calls, faxes, overnight letters, etc. How much per call? Two to $10 or more? He may protest this and insist on his born-again status (with which we will not argue), yet his influence among the “Pillars” and PE’s in general is substantial. Multiply this over many times with his state scares and all the phone tree calls he generates, and you are talking big money, time and adrenaline which should be spent only if necessary. After his WA talk, our state was flooded with calls. My first was from a scared Kathy Glass, our SW Washington leader. When I called Dr. Barbara Mertens, state official homeschool head, she was both offended and relieved: “So that’s the reason for all those calls. A sad day, a self-serving lie.” Mike may be offended at being characterized as a liar, yet there it was. And all had to agree.
The consensus of state and national leaders apart from “Pillars” and Sue Welch exclusivist groups (see under Welch below), is that there are so few court cases, except for custody problems which HSLDA largely rejects, that HSLDA has little reason for operating except to intrude into others’ business. When a lone CA leader was starting a California intra-state defense organization, Mike asked us not to support him because, he said, “California (with its big membership and very few HSLDA cases) is our security blanket.”
So Mike cooperates intimately with the head of PE’s largest, CHEA of California’s president, Phil Troutt, who with his wife Lavella, told us he is financially accountable to no one. Mike and Phil have a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours arrangement whereby CHEA members have to become HSLDA members even though it has been proven that California’s rare defense needs can easily be handled intra-state at much less expense. In a highly dubious action which some consider rapacious, Phil and his cohort, Roy Hanson, with Mike’s approval, sent out an alarm to destroy the lone leader, and almost succeeded. If Phil’s members really knew this sad story, they would be stunned, no matter his and Roy’s excuses.
The Coalition’s challenge
Coalition leaders are also certain that defense needs are now best handled by unified local or state agencies. The longer we are defense-oriented the longer we seem immature and defensive to others. But the more we lay in the hands of state coalitions the responsibility for defending occasional cases and for publishing their own newsletters, the more muscle they will build and the more mature will homeschooling be as a profession. Any who reject this ideology after reading this paper and proceed at cost to homeschool families are, we believe, short on understanding or are children of bigotry or greed.
One federal legislative officer cautioned us, however: He told how Yellowstone grizzlies treat a skunk: “They resent it, but it’s too much fuss to do anything about it.” Then he added, “Unless the skunk goes after her cubs.” We call no one a skunk, but from the way they have urged me, I doubt that Coalition leaders will be as patient in the future as they have been over the last 10 years. PE’s will be contested coast to coast in every legitimate way if they continue to go after the homeschool cubs that we conceived and bore over 25 years. Few, if any, of our media friends know of the tens of thousands of vulnerable families badly misinformed and hurt. We offer several brief biographies so that you may see for yourself the character of Mike’s PE-Pillar friends:
Harris, a self-styled hustler, with Bible in hand, formally started PE’s ravaging after our nearly 15 years building of unity from the time the Movement was born. This was soon after we were forced to dismiss him for lying and fraud at the insistence of veteran state leaders, all of whom were conservative Christians. With two years of college training in hype, Gregg said he longed to practice on us, and talked or wrote about it for two years. He had imagination and ability in public presentation. He has a fine wife and has skillfully hustled his able teen-age son into money making. He could be great if only he could understand and practice honesty and other ethics of the Golden Rule and treat those of other faiths as Christ treated them! I trusted him at first; thought he was kidding when he said he wanted to “ride piggyback” on us. If only we had known!
He said ours was his first “regular” (professional?) job, although he said he had briefly been an associate pastor somewhere in Texas, and he considered us preeminent in home education. Wrote in 1981 that he loved the idea of our research-based Reader’s Digest book, Better Late Than Early, and its call for much later school entrance. Yet, although on full salary, he did very little work for us, and soon state leaders told us why: He was undercutting us. When they called from Florida, Virginia (2), Denver, Seattle et al about final details for promised seminars, he told them all the same lie: “Dr. Moore has changed his mind. He is too busy. I will be coming in his place.” I was so busy with seminars and court and legislative witnessing, that I didn’t monitor him closely, but I recall his repeated requests to do his own seminars (and keep all the profits) after he had been with us on full salary only a month or two, and one occasion when he strangely asked for a long weekend to meet a commitment he had “previously made” for Dayton, OH. We did not know what was going on until state leaders began calling.
Some time after he left us, we went across the Columbia River to Gregg’s church (that he later left under unexplained circumstances) for a “conciliation” meeting where he had thoroughly indoctrinated its board of elders with his lies. In a later meeting which Dr. John Eidsmoe and Farris helped arrange with the Christian Legal Society, Gregg was again at his bold best. He told the panel that he had statements from state leaders I quoted above denying my report that they had protested to me over his deceit. This was true Gregg Harris, assuming no one would check up on him. I saw that his ostensible retractions by these leaders had their effect on some of the conciliation panel, and that day I had no time to obtain corrections from these leaders. Immediately after the meeting I checked with all of them. All said he lied. Paul Ware, a wealthy Seattle developer, caught Harris in his fraud, came to my office, rapped his knuckles on my desk and said, “Dr. Moore, there are givers and there are takers. This man is a taker. Get rid of him!” When I phoned him that Harris told the conciliation panel that Ware denied complaining to me, Paul flew his plane here to give me his letter verifying what I said.
Later while Dorothy was ill and risking death from this grave pressure, someone urged Gregg to visit her in the hospital. When she asked him about his report that we were cultists and his lies about our seminars, he laughed and chided, “You don’t know the half of it!” Astonished at this brazen response, she asked why he would do such a thing to us. He grinned, “I had to hustle to make a living.” A well-known Christian clinical psychologist said, “He has to be a sociopath, misapplying his Bible as he does to convince vulnerable parents and lie without a conscience.” This is the clever man whom reputable schools like Bob Jones University and publishers like Abeka invite as a key speaker or join in endorsing Brian Ray’s false research critiques, and has cleverly deceived tens of thousands. (See Brian Ray also below.)
How Harris started the PE march
Lacking a constituency after he left us, Gregg devised an insidiously clever plan to build one of his own, and a wealthy future, fast. Our staff found in our waste baskets copies of xeroxed leaders lists and records he copied and stole while we were gone to church on Saturday mornings. Waving his Bible to give him credibility, he passed the word that we not only were cultists, but that Protestant Christians should not mix socially with other faiths. The cultist lie was highly effective among his target Protestant audience which forms the largest segment of homeschoolers, including Farris, Sue Welch, and Brian Ray, his “Four Pillars of Home Education.” When Dorothy learned of this after more than 45 years of homeschooling and then over 18 years of building the Movement, her tears were not from what he did to us but for his educational and spiritual damage to good families. Now Gregg has realized oft-stated dreams of wealth from the Movement.
There were lighter moments. I listened in on the phone at the invitation of our West Palm Beach Youth for Christ hostess Jeannie Hochstettler as Gregg, unaware that we went down for her seminar after all, told her how much better his workshop was than ours. Others were not so well-informed as Jeannie, and to many of those whom he passed he became a hero.
He then began breaking up state coalitions which we had built over 15 years. He told his Arizona workshop that evangelicals should stay on “our side of the fence” and LDS, RC, et al should stay on their own side; evangelical children should not play with Mormons (there were many LDS there). He said you know if you are an evangelical if you enjoy the MOODY MONTHLY (inadvertently confirming us as legitimate evangelicals, for Dwight Moody is one of my heroes, the MOODY MONTHLY has written well about us, asked us to write for them, and we have done dozens of local or national Moody radio and TV programs). It took Gregg only a few minutes that day to break up one of the finest, most unified of all state coalitions, and our AZ work of 18 years, contributing to side effects that later cost Arizona a fine school entrance law. Arizona is still fragmented. This is the kind of disunity deplored by my friends, the National Association of Evangelical’s Bob Dugan, and the late Francis Schaeffer (and we were given word from his heir-apparent Jerrum Barr.) Such disunity makes business for HSLDA.
Harris, still a divider
GREGG HAD SIGNED (WITH US AND WITH MIKE’s CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE) AN AGREEMENT, FRAMED BY LAW PROFESSOR AND PROMINENT CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHOR DR. JOHN EIDSMOE OF THE CONCILIATION PANEL WHICH PROVIDED THAT WE WOULD SET AN EXAMPLE TO ALL IN HOME EDUCATION TO USE THEIR INFLUENCE TO INSURE THAN NO ONE WOULD EVER ATTEMPT TO SET UP A NEW STATE ORGANIZATION OR OTHER ENTITY WITHOUT CONFERRING WITH AND OBTAINING THE APPROVAL OF THE ORIGINAL AGENCY OR COALITION.
He reportedly says we have broken that vow. If he said that, it would be still another total lie.
Despite his conciliation vow, he veils his divisive work in collaboration with the “Pillars.” When he approached Sandi Hall. then head of WHO, to do a Washington State workshop, she said, “No.” When he touted the four pillars, and boasted that all his people would become WHO members if he told them to, she refused twice again. It is this Sandi Hall that Mike demeaned as “unsaved,” yet she was a Protestant who had an unusually touching Christian experience. Soon Harris and Farris were cooperating with Sue Welch in establishing the new W.A.T.C.H., a TEACHING HOME “baby,” said its charter director at the time another Michael Smith, a National Science Foundation scholar who was shelved when he disagreed with some of their policies. It was another HSLDA habitat in a state that needs no defense agency. Smith eventually saw through this design and resigned (or was shelved by Sue’s entourage).
Using leader lists he had stolen from us, Harris made workshop appointments of his own, posing as a former pastor of “several evangelical churches” but refusing to provide references and a resume, nor revealing who ordained him, where he pastored, nor the size of his pastorates. A Baptist seminary professor asked Harris which churches he pastored and who ordained him, but received no answers. I wonder if the family court judge whom he deceived and who is now on the HSLDA Board has ever checked carefully on Gregg’s credentials. Turned down by Gothard because his staff said Gothard’s “spirit told him” not to get involved, yet Harris copied the Gothard model. A primary difference: Harris writes that he is for-profit. He writes that he gave us his not-for-profit status (not verified that he ever obtained it) as not Biblical. Where does that leave Dobson, Maddoux, Bauer et al who are not for profit. Someone left a letter with us from Gregg’s lawyer inferring that he could not get him nonprofit status. He fired his accountant who suggested a CPA audit: his sponsors report weekend grosses have been in high five figures.
PE’s Sue Welch and her spreading cancer
TEACHING HOME Editor Sue Welch and her agent, Sharon Grimes, spearhead the exclusivist crusade. Both have long and close relations with Farris and Harris, although Sue told me some time ago she wanted her name no longer mentioned in the same sentence with Gregg’s. Yet she said she would only talk with me when Mike is on the phone. Over the last five or six years he has clearly become the king of the audacious (some say “rapacious” ) PE march. Yet I think there is hope here. I am convinced personally that if Mike sensed how PE misrepresents Christ and His Golden Rule, and if he said the word or closed HSLDA as he promised he would when we had good state laws across America, homeschools would become unified and again secure.
Sue was among the first to embrace Harris’ gospel. We were good friends, involved in a food co-op and helping her in several ways until Harris poisoned her against us. We did not know at first of his contagion, but had gently opposed her goal of trying to get all state organizations to publish their newsletters as inserts in her TH. She did not have the capital to build a subscriber list the conventional way, so took a shortcut which we were certain would vitiate the state organizations we had been building for 15 years. Some of them, such as Alabama, Missouri, and Rhode Island, were already publishing superb newsletters or journals, fine examples to other states. And there was a direct relationship between strength of a state’s organization and its publication quality. We also knew if they followed Sue’s plan there would likely be (1) at least a six- or eight-week delay in getting out news, (2) a dampening of creativity potential for each state, and (3) a certain subserviency for the insert state when an out-of-state editor is in control.
What we did not anticipate was Sue’s move beyond these three to take upon herself the censoring of parts of state inserts when she thought they might reflect credit on other than her PE philosophy. She blocks out in state inserts, announcements of state meetings if she doesn’t like the speakers. Soon we sensed an indifference, then occasional hostility; finally a visitor whom Gregg had drawn into his flock, but who saw through him and came to tell us about Gregg’s false cult report and Sue’s new fascination with Harris contagion. Reflecting at the time a very close relationship with Gregg, she set up a statement of faith requisite for those associated with her magazine. No Roman Catholic, Jew, LDS, or other non-Protestant can write or advertise in TH, although, depending on a number of factors, she has not always been careful to check them out.
When our book, Homeschool Burnout, came out (now rewritten and published by Thomas Nelson as The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook), Sue wrote to her state representatives and urged blacklisting-for its Chapter 3 warnings of homeschooling’s “Fifth Column.” Now she uses Mike’s friend Sharon Grimes to induce new or uncertain state coalition members to form splinter groups and get her subscriptions as they have recently done in Missouri where we had one of the strongest state organizations in the U.S. and outstanding state homeschool laws, yet where HSLDA reportedly co-opts Sue’s membership promotion as if the state were in trouble. Such PE campaigns totally violate the Christian Legal Society conciliation agreement; splitting state coalitions on the basis of creed, they destroy the unity which legislators and officials insist is so crucial to understanding and progress of the Movement. Sue denies the very freedom of choice which God and our Nation grants them: a common element to Mike and PE’s, most of whom are tied closely by financial and other agreements with him.
Sue advertised a “national” meeting in Portland, OR in the TEACHING HOME that gave the impression that it was for all. Yet attenders found that Sue’s and Mike’s true plan was for those who signed a statement of faith. When some protested that they had traveled far to help form a representative national homeschool agency or coalition, Farris turned from them, although most were Christians, advising that homeschoolers didn’t need such an organization. He offered a similar opinion at Leesburg, VA a year later where he was hailed by Gregg Harris as one of homeschools’ “Four Pillars.” He then set up his private “National Center for Home Education” and assisted in financing a new research center, manned by a freshman researcher.
We do feel especially sorry for Sue, although we are sad also for the others. She wasn’t an aggressor in the early deceit. She does not seem to be a secure, happy woman these days. Yet she judges too, perhaps unaware that she is being judged by Someone much higher. Worse is the danger when a Christian editor does not check her facts. We pray that she will turn from this “holy war,” and with Grimes and the other “Pillars,” respect Christ’s methods of “drawing all unto Him.” It may be hard to accept at this time, but if they use the Bible as Christ’s Word and Him as their model, I am confident that many PE’s will change. What a day that would be!
Sue’s PE Agent
As for Sharon Grimes, ask her why she told Mike a lie about a matter she did not even witness, and when she came in from the back hall to our seminar question and answer session, many members of the audience told her she was wrong, even later proved by a tape. But never an apology, only more lies. As a result, Dorothy and I experienced the wildest tantrum we have ever known in our 56 married years. It was a few weeks after the Syracuse meeting when Sharon’s out-of-mind yarns reached Farris (despite recordings to the contrary) when Mike wildly, falsely called to accuse me of slighting HSLDA when I had in fact been defending it. We always gave HSLDA a free exhibit table as we had at that meeting, something we neither give nor charge to anyone else except libraries or charitable organizations. He called me “a liar, a habitual liar” in the face of clear evidence otherwise. Later he apologized when faced with a tape of the occasion, yet resurrected the accusation in a letter to a state leader whose phone calls and letters verify it. Both Sharon’s and Mike’s words and actions were insanely irrational, yet Sharon is Sue’s blade on PE’s cutting edge. She was directly and dishonestly the instigator of Mike’s tantrum. We have the tape and witnesses on both.
The Fourth Pillar, Researcher Brian Ray
In some ways here is the greatest enigma of all. This young man approached me in the middle l980s, asking for help on his doctoral study. I gave him material for a literature search which could save him months on his doctorate. The next contact I recall was at a WHO meeting in or near Seattle where he seemed nervous, insecure and asked me how he did in his presentation. I was frankly disappointed with his excessive use of big statistical terms, typical of new researchers. Yet I answered hopefully. Then I found that he was in trouble at SPU where he had been assistant professor, and later lost his job.
The next word I had was a galley already in press, of Richard Fugate’s book, Will Early Education Ruin Your Child? As graduate research and programs officer (M.A.s and Ph.D.s) for the U.S. Office of Education, the White House and the Congress, I learned to appreciate critiques of my research. I would also welcome Will Early Education Ruin Your Child? if it even remotely tested our work. But Fugate, another Farris fan and a reported financial source, got the critique he bargained for-a badly soiled, unpatchable cloth by Farris’ protege’, Brian Ray, who uses Farris’ address for his “national” research center.
On its first page Fugate said, “…every child should be taught to read…by at least four or five years of age.” He said that if my research proved him wrong, he would have to change Alpha Omega curricula. But instead of being a research critique, the book was a vicious personal attack, suggesting that I was a humanist, evolutionist and universalist, of doubtful Christianity, if any-a furtive, clever ploy to destroy me with conservative Christians who composed the Movement’s majority. He had made no in-depth check on my background or he would have found my book, Science Discovers God, which would prove his attacks totally false. John Holt, also hit by Fugate, clearly turned against evolution before he died. I have his correspondence on this.
Brian Ray’s research critique closed the book. I have no brief with Fugate’s high school education; but he simply was in over his head. I expected better of Ray, and of the A-O board, to have a part in publishing a book so catastrophically false. He had selected two studies out of thousands that we analyzed. He said of them, “That the source was excellent, but that it did not support the Moores’ general thesis, and that theirs [Moores’] was not a legitimate paraphrase.” Here are the two studies and a third item. Please tell me if you feel we are in any way at fault. Our report was originally checked by top researchers in their fields.
- D. W. Dyer and E. R. Harcum, who concluded that “Perceptual mechanisms of children at the age at which they start school do not wholly duplicate adult mechanisms.” Our analysis of the study was that “…when most children enter school, the visual-perceptive mechanisms are still incomplete, compared to the development of adult mechanisms,” i.e. almost exactly the same.
- Francis A. Young, National Academy of Science researcher from Washington State University, as interpreted by us: “So myopia [abnormal nearsightedness] is frequently the result of prolonged looking at near objects at an early age.” I rechecked with Dr. Young who told me that his recent scientific studies actually provide increasing (not less) support to our conclusions.
- Ray also attacked our report on findings of the American Optometric Association Clinical Care Center. So I rechecked with Dr. Stephen C. Miller whom Ray was supposed to have quoted (the book suggests the possibility that some of Ray’s work may have been by telephone). I sent Dr. Miller a copy of my letter from his mentor of 20 years before, Dr. George M. Milkie, and used it in our report. Dr. Miller wrote me on 26 June, 1992 completely vindicating us. Brian added a smattering of percentages which actually had no relationship and made no sense in terms of the goals or bottom-line accuracy of our research. He had scant grasp of our research.
After I began to wonder about Ray’s basic honesty, we had a rash of phone calls from homeschoolers asking if we weren’t Christians, as we had heard earlier from Harris, Farris and Welch (although Farris was open enough to tell to our faces that we had a “false religion” and that I was senile). When we said we were, they reported statements from Ray that we were not. When I called him and named names (with their permission), he admitted that he had so reported us. So I asked him if he knew anything about our religion. He said, “Not much.” That apparently was also his standard for researchers-to make slanderous statements on key facts he did not know.
I tried repeatedly to arrange a meeting with Brian, as Christians are admonished to do in Matthew 18. But he showed no willingness. So I finally went through William Russell of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), who contacted Ray. Brian’s response was to give Russell the impression that he had been trying for three years to work things out with me. A total lie. He alluded to his willingness to let me replicate his work, which, if he did, would border on the absurd. Later, on her own, a researcher from the U.S. Department of Education came to our home and office and offered to try to get Ray to meet with me. But Brian refused to cooperate with her. It was clear that his ethics were Pillared.
A Way Out
Organizations that are vulnerable to charges of vested interests (i.e. profiting greedily by homeschool business) must be especially careful. At present there is no representative national homeschool center. It is time to design one. In order to protect the Movement-and them-we believe it would be wise to establish an agency that would be acceptable to the great majority of home educators and be so staffed as to enjoy the respect of educators, legislators, judges, and laymen alike. This could be financed by grants, small annual lay fees and commercial member assessments. The consensus and plea of the overwhelming majority of homeschool parents, lawyers, and legislators is that Michael Farris would do his greatest service to home education if he would join just such a center.
Our bottom line here is that whoever gets any important news first-whether Farris or Coalition members-should take wide counsel before taking irreversible action in legislatures. Apart from the general media, a phone tree can quickly cover such veteran leaders as Concerned Women For America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Growing Without Schooling, HSLDA, Moore Foundation, NALSAS, National Homeschool Association, Rutherford Institute and the major homeschool journals. If our nation-wide effort had done this we may have defeated the entire HR-6 entitlement law. We are not educational statesmen, nor will we be secure until we live out a concern for all children and all schools.
In closing, I appeal to legislators, officials and homeschoolers:
- That legislators and school officials recognize the voice of replicable research and reject educational proposals which have no such base. That they appreciate the pioneer efforts of professional people to rebuild the great American institution of home education, with its sterling record of educating American leaders, along with America’s highest record of achievement, behavior, and sociability, and acceptance by leading universities from coast to coast.
- That Coalition members move forward in unity to establish a comprehensive, truly representative agency, with no restrictions of race, color, creed or national origin, and build unity and strength through the formation by each state of its own defense plan as we did from 1969 to 1984. And in this process that Farris and his associates join the now ad hoc Coalition and form an authentic national representative agency along the lines of an American homeschooling council.
- That in the event this is not acceptable to Farris, et al, that we get this word out widely soonest, for lay PE’s need to know who is using them. I believe that they will take things in hand if they know the truth. If some conjecture that this is sour grapes, let them look into our highly blessed operation, and they will know differently.
And to Mike
A Canadian leader told me the other day that his charge of senility has swept across Canada, but I really don’t take exception, for senility has its advantage: You don’t know enough to worry about it! But for young men and women, religious bigotry, false witness, soiled ethics and judging remain problems between them and their God, as long as they don’t use it on our “cubs,” for then it also takes away our freedom and becomes un-American!
© 1998 Raymond Moore. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with permission.
From: [email protected] (Moore Foundation)
To: [email protected]
Hi: Dr Moore asked me to reply to you. You DO have permission to put the White Paper on the web. We do have printed copies available to pass out.
Thank you much,