A couple months ago I drew your attention here to the 2009 Homeschooling Leadership Summit to be held in March, expressing concern that the self-appointed homeschooling leaders who are planning this conference are setting an agenda and speaking for all Christian homeschoolers without being given a mandate to do so. Not only have the leaders denied homeschooling moms any input into their event but they have made it quite clear that they have no interest in discussing the concerns of moms or anyone else. (See the comments section at the above link from this website where Bill Roach, president of CHEC, sounding more like the president of the Kevin Swanson fan club, refuses to engage anyone in any discussion on the matter.) Today I am certain that the situation is far worse that I had originally thought since, thanks to an alert mom, I have discovered that the screening and weeding out of “undesirables” within the homeschooling ranks has been going on for over a year.
On January 20, John Holzmann, co-owner of Sonlight Curriculum shared the story on his blog of his company being banned from participating in a curriculum conference sponsored by Christian Educators of Colorado, the same group that is organizing the upcoming leadership conference.
John states “The letter that informed us of our having been banned was strangely uninformative. I am not at home right now, so I don’t have access to a PDF of the letter to show you. But, in essence, the author said, “You don’t meet our standards. We are unwilling to talk with you about it. Don’t ask.”
Happily, I have enough of a relationship with the president of CHEC (not much, but enough!) that I wrote to ask what was going on, what insight he might be able to shed on the subject. . . . I mean: It’s not as if Sonlight had changed in any fundamental way over the 13 years it had been in attendance at the CHEC convention. . . .
Ultimately, Sonlight received no written or full “official” explanation, but got the message: the convention committee was of the opinion that the company isn’t Christian enough . . . primarily because it isn’t strict enough in its young-earth teaching. It carries Usborne books that, as virtually all secular books that touch on issues related to origins, present an evolutionary perspective.
That Sonlight doesn’t schedule those pages, or that, when it does schedule them, counters those presentations with young-earth creationist material: Not good enough. Someone–a child, perhaps, without Mom’s or Dad’s permission, or maybe even a mom or dad–might find the offending books so attractive that they will read those pages and become convinced of their truth. . . .”
This has made me wonder how many more state homeschooling organizations or even Home School Legal Defense, for that matter, who is also participating in the leadership summit, are taking it upon themselves to decide who is and isn’t Christian enough to participate in conferences, conventions, and support services for homeschooling families. Will there be a check list presented as part of the “vision casting” of the summit, one that outlines the requirements necessary to be acknowledged as “Christian enough” for these men?
This is outrageous.
CHEC president, Bill Roach, perhaps you might like to grace us with your presence again and give us your perspective on this situation. The floor is yours.