Is HSLDA a political action committee? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay. I hear a lot about HSLDA. They sort of present themselves as something like Pre-paid Legal, where one might pay for membership to have the services of a lawyer should their homeschooling ever be challenged.

However, when I really look around their website, a big portion of their work has little do to with actual homeschooling, but rather "protecting parents' rights", and commenting on legislation, etc. that honestly has nothing to do with homeschooling.

One definition of a PAC is at wikipedia: "name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation."

Does that make HSLDA at least in the same category as a PAC? I'm just trying to understand exactly what they do. Let's face it, homeschooling isn't exactly the hottest topic in politics, but it seems that they are a very active organization.

Hope this makes sense. Any thoughts??
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#2 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I think they might be.

We've stayed away from HSLDA because they don't stick to homeschooling issues. I don't think that homeschooling is a conservative issue and they certainly present it that way.

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#3 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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Yes. More Information... - Lillian
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#4 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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We actually joined HSLDA a year or so ago and then discontinued membership (with a full refund of our money) because I took issue with a message they e-mailed. I felt 1) it had nothing to do with homeschooling; and 2) as Christians, I couldn't understand how they could support something so blatantly intolerant.

I was told that I could unsubscribe to the e-mails.

When I pressed the topic further, they refused to communicate in writing--wanting to speak to me about it on the phone. I noted that with children at home, that wasn't possible and that I preferred to continue "discussing" it in e-mail and they promptly "unjoined" me and refunded my fee.

Soooo... yeah. I didn't support their non-homeschooling political agendas (or rather, I wasn't even given the opportunity to support or not support it because I didn't get a full explanation of what they were and how they were connected to homeschooling) so they removed me from their organization membership.

And they won't take on issues related to special education and homeschooling. They called and told me that explicitly when they saw that my reason for joining was related to an issue about special ed services for my homeschooled son.

ETA: I also sat on the board of one of my state's hsing orgs where the leader got CONSIDERABLE crap from HSLDA if/when we ever approached our gov't in ANY way related to hsing without their "assistance".

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#5 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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The bulk of their lobbying in Canada is to the federal government which has no jurisdictional responsibility for k-12 education.

And that is about all I can say on that without violating the UA.


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#6 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
And that is about all I can say on that without violating the UA.

Eeek! I had to go back and READ the UA! But I think I pretty objectively stated my experience with them (and went back to take out the two words that denoted sarcasm/discontent). So, I'm not bashing or defaming them--that is what happened. (for the mods that may be reviewing the thread )

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#7 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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What's the UA?
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#8 of 24 Old 11-03-2010, 10:49 PM
 
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Users Agreement. You can read it from the nav bar under the header ads.

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#9 of 24 Old 11-04-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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Not much input here as I have no personal experience with them, but I have several hs friends who have really put pressure on me to join HSLDA. One friend is on the "board" of a large Christian HS group and they recently made it mandatory to be a member of HSLDA in order to be a part of their HS group. That really annoys me. I have seen some interesting discussions about HSLDA on this board that really got me thinking. We have the freedom to HS where we live, with pretty much no restrictions or rules to follow- I like it that way. IF HSLDA is a political organization and they push to legislate HS, could this mean that the government all of a sudden has more say in not only IF we hs but HOW??

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#10 of 24 Old 11-04-2010, 12:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsJewelsRae View Post
IF HSLDA is a political organization and they push to legislate HS, could this mean that the government all of a sudden has more say in not only IF we hs but HOW??
Yes. You'll find more on that if you browse through the HomeschoolingIsLegal site.

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#11 of 24 Old 11-04-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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This discussion is fine, but please be mindful to not venture into a discussion of politics, because that is beyond the scope of the LaHB board .

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#12 of 24 Old 11-04-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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Well, I personally do believe that parental rights are the foundation of my right to homeschool, and I think there are plenty instances where legislation might not be directly related to hsing, but could have implications for hsing. So overall HSDLA doesn't bother me, though I haven't become a member. I don't think I'd call them a PAC, though.
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#13 of 24 Old 11-04-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee

" Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, an organization becomes a "political committee" by receiving contributions or making expenditures in excess of $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election.[2]"


http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacfaq.php



"What is a PAC? Political Action Committee (PAC) — A popular term for a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. Most PACs represent business, labor or ideological interests. PACs can give $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special)."

I'm guessing that since influencing a federal election is not their main objective, they probably are not...but they do HAVE one...

http://www.hslda.org/about/

Scroll or search to item 14:

http://www.hsldapac.org/dnn/

I do not know if money from the main HSLDA organization is allowed to go to this PAC or not.



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#14 of 24 Old 11-05-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Well, I personally do believe that parental rights are the foundation of my right to homeschool, and I think there are plenty instances where legislation might not be directly related to hsing, but could have implications for hsing.

Agreed. Completely.

But I am not talking about those kinds of messages.

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#15 of 24 Old 11-06-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

But I am not talking about those kinds of messages.
Well, I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about, but I know HSDLA tends to be pretty politically conservative. And since I'm politically, socially, and religiously conservative, I don't tend to have the issues with them that many MDC members do.
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#16 of 24 Old 11-06-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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OP: If you are actually ever in need of legal assistance that HSLDA can provide, you can join right then and there and if they COULD assist you--they would... no different than if you had been a member all along. If you truly can't afford their membership fee, they have a program where it can be waived so that you are not denied help. Much of the information on their website is free. Having been a member of Pre-paid legal for many years and a former member of HSLDA--I can tell you they're very different in what membership gives you. And despite my issues with HSLDA, if I had CPS at my door for nothing more than homeschooling and it was getting to where I seriously thought they'd take my kids--I would still call HSLDA.

You do not have to pay an annual membership fee to get their assistance if/when you need it. In that respect, it is very different from pre-paid legal. If you join HSLDA, your fee is used to help support them in their political lobbying that they feel is tied to our freedom to homeschool, but you may or may not agree with. If you join pre-paid legal, your money is simply used to offset future legal fees if/when you need them but to my knowledge (having been with them for 11 years) your money is not used to support any political lobbying or even charitable initiatives of any kind.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Well, I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about, but I know HSDLA tends to be pretty politically conservative. And since I'm politically, socially, and religiously conservative, I don't tend to have the issues with them that many MDC members do.
If you are very religiously conservative, then HSLDA will not likely offend or bother you because that is their position. When they take on issues that align with your religious beliefs--you don't have a problem with being affiliated with them.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice for us, too. HSLDA is clearly not representative of all homeschoolers--even all christian homeschoolers (as we are christian and we don't agree with a number of their positions).

But I'm discouraged that 1) they chose to shut down communication with me because I wouldn't do it on the phone (again, because it is difficult to have those conversations while my kids are around); and 2) that they are able to take on political lobbying against gay marriage but not represent homeschooling families with issues related to special education.

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#17 of 24 Old 11-07-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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Well actually, they're Protestant and I'm Catholic, so not all of their beliefs align with mine. Which is the main reason I haven't joined, but it doesn't bother me. They don't hide the fact that they're conservative (Protestant) Christians, and they don't deny membersehip or benefits to people outside their belief system, afaik (and frankly, even if they did, I wouldn't care- it's their group and their perogative). Although they do have open membership, I don't believe they've ever claimed that their core belief system is meant to be representative of all homeschoolers, and they're open about having a statement of faith for their employees.

I've never heard of them refusing to help families that are homeschooling special needs children before, but I don't follow them closely. But if you're homeschooling a child with special needs (my SN kiddo is in public school) and you need legal assistance obtaining special services through the school system, it doesn't seem to me that HSDLA would be the most appropriate place to turn to, because it probably falls outside their area of expertise. (Not to imply that that was your issue, I just know their website says they don't assist with that).
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#18 of 24 Old 11-07-2010, 11:26 AM
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The link that Lillian provides is a good one.

HSLDA is an exclusive organization. They only assist homeschoolers that do school-at-home.

HSLDA is a political organization. See Generation Joshua.

HSLDA is a religious organization. I won't send my money to any religious organization, to be frank, nor be counted as a member.

HSLDA is directly responsible for helping to create local laws across the states that may or may not be acceptable to the homeschoolers living under those laws.

HSLDA gets its members through fear-mongering, when in reality most legal cases (which are pretty rare, anyway) can be solved by 1) knowing the law, and 2) being assertive. Really, we should all be teaching our kids to know their rights and stand up for themselves, anyway.

My family has been homeschooling for eleven years. We started in Washington, DC, and have HSed in Virginia and Rhode Island. RI is notoriously difficult to deal with and I continually remind the school administration that school policy is NOT state law. I still haven't ever felt the need for legal backup.
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#19 of 24 Old 11-07-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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Quote:
One friend is on the "board" of a large Christian HS group and they recently made it mandatory to be a member of HSLDA in order to be a part of their HS group
Ugh. I don't like the idea of a homeschooling group making members 1) join a political/religious group or 2) pay the $100 a year that HSLDA charges.

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#20 of 24 Old 11-08-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
I've never heard of them refusing to help families that are homeschooling special needs children before, but I don't follow them closely. But if you're homeschooling a child with special needs (my SN kiddo is in public school) and you need legal assistance obtaining special services through the school system, it doesn't seem to me that HSDLA would be the most appropriate place to turn to, because it probably falls outside their area of expertise. (Not to imply that that was your issue, I just know their website says they don't assist with that).
No, that was my issue. It was why I was joining them. They actually called to tell me that they do not deal with issues related to special education and homeschooling. I'm not sure how that falls outside the expertise of an organization that deals specifically with legal rights as they pertain to homeschooling. I guess I saw their role differently.

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#21 of 24 Old 11-08-2010, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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If you join HSLDA, your fee is used to help support them in their political lobbying that they feel is tied to our freedom to homeschool, but you may or may not agree with. If you join pre-paid legal, your money is simply used to offset future legal fees if/when you need them but to my knowledge (having been with them for 11 years) your money is not used to support any political lobbying or even charitable initiatives of any kind.
In a nutshell, this is exactly what I was wanting to know. They seem to present themselves as protecting you personally should you need them, when in reality they are using your $$ for things you may or may not agree with...
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#22 of 24 Old 11-08-2010, 11:21 PM
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No, that was my issue. It was why I was joining them. They actually called to tell me that they do not deal with issues related to special education and homeschooling. I'm not sure how that falls outside the expertise of an organization that deals specifically with legal rights as they pertain to homeschooling. I guess I saw their role differently.
In a nutshell...public schools are secular places, and because of that, HSLDA sees them as being in cahoots with the Devil. That is why they won't assist SN kids with receiving services from public schools. The organization is run by religious extremists.
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#23 of 24 Old 11-10-2010, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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 All candidate campaign activity is funded by HSLDA-PAC, an affiliated federal political action committee created by HSLDA in accordance with federal law. Under federal law, HSLDA may endorse federal candidates in communications to our members and we may solicit our members for contributions to HSLDA-PAC. These PAC contributions will be used to place Generation Joshua teens on selected federal campaigns under the direction and guidance of Generation Joshua staff.

 

It looks like HSLDA-PAC is separate from HSLDA:

 

 

Quote:
 
Make your voice heard in Washington, DC! The Home School Legal Defense Association Political Action Committee (HSLDA PAC) exists to provide the membership of HSLDA, including HSLDA's Generation Joshua division, the opportunity to make their collective views known at the federal level. The focus of HSLDA PAC is to advance liberty through the election of pro-family legislators at the federal level. A unique aspect of HSLDA PAC is its focus on funding grassroots electioneering. If you are an HSLDA member, we encourage you to contribute to your PAC. Your support is critical, as federal law prohibits HSLDA from using its general resources in electioneering activities.

 

[my bolding]

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#24 of 24 Old 11-11-2010, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post

The link that Lillian provides is a good one.

HSLDA is an exclusive organization. They only assist homeschoolers that do school-at-home.

HSLDA is a political organization. See Generation Joshua.

HSLDA is a religious organization. I won't send my money to any religious organization, to be frank, nor be counted as a member.

HSLDA is directly responsible for helping to create local laws across the states that may or may not be acceptable to the homeschoolers living under those laws.

HSLDA gets its members through fear-mongering, when in reality most legal cases (which are pretty rare, anyway) can be solved by 1) knowing the law, and 2) being assertive. Really, we should all be teaching our kids to know their rights and stand up for themselves, anyway.

My family has been homeschooling for eleven years. We started in Washington, DC, and have HSed in Virginia and Rhode Island. RI is notoriously difficult to deal with and I continually remind the school administration that school policy is NOT state law. I still haven't ever felt the need for legal backup.

 

Most definitely to all of this and I would add that HSLDA does try in practice to make it seem as if they speak for *all* homeschoolers instead of the specifically Christian ones.  I don't think it's any mistake that they went with HSLDA instead of Christian Homeschool Legal Defense Association.  Are the specifically a PAC?  No, but they sure do spend a lot of time on politics.
 

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