Iowa Homeschoolers Join With Ted Cruz to Revive Education Freedom
The representative of an Iowa homeschool organization says that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will be addressing her group in March because “what he stands for is what we’re about – education freedom.”
As reported by Breitbart News’ Tony Lee, Cruz, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, will address a homeschooling rally organized by the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) on March 18 in Des Moines.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Vicki Crawford, an organizer for NICHE, said that her group reached out to Cruz because he is “clearly a big name on the national political stage.”
“We’re very excited to have Sen. Cruz with us, and we’re looking forward to hear what he has to say,” she said. “We believe that what he stands for is what we’re about – education freedom, parental rights, and the marketplace of ideas in education, where creativity and excellence happen naturally when people are free.”
Crawford contrasted the concept of education freedom with what she sees now in the controversy over the Common Core standards in the country.
“We don’t believe Common Core will be beneficial to any students,” she said. “It’s a cookie-cutter approach.”
Crawford said her homeschool organization is very active, involved, and well informed regarding political issues, especially within the state of Iowa.
“We get a lot of face to face time with the candidates,” she said. “Candidates want our attention and our support.”
Asked if she felt it was significant that Cruz agreed to travel to Iowa to speak to homeschooling families, Crawford said, “He knows his audience. We are a people he wants to talk to, to explain who he is and what he desires. We believe he would like to have our support.”
William Estrada, Director of Federal Relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), says that Cruz is showing leadership in reaching out to homeschooling families.
“Studies have shown that homeschool families and graduates are more likely to be politically involved than the general public,” Estrada told Breitbart News.
“As homeschooling continues to grow, we expect that more elected officials will reach out to the homeschool community,” he added. “HSLDA applauds Senator Cruz' leadership in reaching out to the homeschool community. We can only hope that more elected officials - from both sides of the political aisle - will spend time talking to homeschool families.”
Research from a variety of sources demonstrates that homeschool graduates tend to be more involved in politics and engaged in civic and community activities than the general population.
In 2003, Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) found that only 4.2% of homeschool graduates surveyed considered politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35% of U.S. adults, an outcome that could account for why homeschool graduates work for candidates, contribute to campaigns, and vote in much higher percentages than the general population of the United States.
In addition, as Breitbart News reported last August, research completed in 2013 by Robert Kunzman of Indiana University and Milton Gaither of Messiah College found that, in a review of 10 independent studies, homeschoolers outranked their traditionally schooled counterparts in more than several aspects, including strength of political views.
Similarly, as CBS News reported in 2010, research by Michael Cogan found that homeschooled students were more likely to vote and participate in community service than other adults.
In his farewell address to Congress in 2012, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said, “Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections.”
“We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties,” Paul added.