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About HEIR > Why I'm a Member of HEIR
Why I'm a Member of HEIR
Why I’m a Member of HEIR

True Patriotism – I love this country, the principles on which it was founded, and the freedom I have as its citizen. I am willing to wage civil battle in the war of ideas and ideals because I know the system of government that is the genius of this country depends on the critical, careful watch and care of its citizens over its process. True patriots engage in testing their ideas and ideals against the principles of our Founding Fathers—principles of liberty and inherent rights endowed to us by our Creator. True patriots ask important questions. True patriots reason and debate, seeking to know the best arguments of their opponents and submitting their best arguments to their opponents for critical review. True patriots make decisions by becoming informed, weighing arguments, and testing conclusions by principle.

HEIR’s mission is and always has been to encourage home educators to fight for home education freedom according to the principles of our Founding Fathers.

HEIR seeks to collect and provide comprehensive information to facilitate individual citizen involvement in the system.

HEIR encourages the open exchange of ideas and robust debate through its discussion loop, HeirTalk.

HEIR welcomes all to participate in the discussion and to benefit from its research.

HEIR believes the best ideas will rise to the top because of their merit. That’s why, though we participate in the discussions and let you hear our individual, personal opinions and concerns, we don’t tell you what to think or what to do. We don’t tell you who to vote for, what home school group to join, or what legislation to support. We want you to get involved, get informed, and decide for yourself. We are your peers, not your bosses, and we benefit from your ideas just as we hope you benefit from ours. That’s the American way.

The Privilege of Civil Discourse -- Like Thomas Jefferson, I “tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion,” because I believe it is not in surrounding myself with the like-minded that my ideas are refined. If we lose sight of the fact that we are collectively both stronger and smarter than we are individually, we will have lost something precious indeed. HEIR does not operate as an elite think-tank that hands down its conclusions to be adopted. We operate as a think-tank that welcomes great diversity of membership, including diversity of religious, political and every other kind of affiliation. I have personally benefited greatly from learning to listen to the points of view of people I assumed I had very little in common with except our commitment to home education. Through them, I have become acquainted with circumstances I would likely never have experienced personally, and such learning has broadened both the scope of my empathy and my circle of friends.

I’d like to offer an example. During our most recent legislative session, HEIR became aware of a House Bill sponsored by Representative Hinson Mosley of Jesup, Georgia, having the aim of cracking down on truancy in the state. During the discussion stage of the bill, Mosley, at the urging of school superintendents, floated some ideas as to how to deal with public schoolers who claim to be home educators in order to extricate themselves from truancy troubles. When I read an article that detailed his concerns in that area, I gave Mosley a call. It has long seemed to me that home educators in Georgia have the general impression that Republicans are our allies and Democrats are less so, but the fact that Mosley is a Democrat didn’t make me assume he was an enemy of homeschooling. I knew that “Democrat” doesn’t equal “anti-homeschool” primarily because my HEIR associations put me in contact with Democrat home educators who are every bit as attached as any Republicans I know to their freedom to raise and educate their children as they see fit.

Representative Mosley could not have been more gracious, more interested in my concerns, or more accommodating than he was. We’ve ended up being friends. But more importantly for home educators in the state, Representative Mosley did sponsor the truancy bill that passed the House as one of the first bills of the Session. He did secure the cooperation and support of the State Department of Education as well as that of the Governor for his bill. And, as his bill and the accompanying truancy policy was crafted, debated, and voted on, he made sure that we home educators were part of the process and were given the opportunity to protect our interests.

HEIR of Georgia seeks to befriend and establish dialogue and working relationships with as many legislators as possible. It’s good to have friends like Representative Mosley. We need more like him, regardless of their party affiliation. HEIR of Georgia encourages individuals like you to establish relationships with and talk with lawmakers rather than threaten to overwhelm them with phone blitzes and the like.

The home education community cannot afford to be divided -- The home education community is as diverse as this country is. People home educate for many different reasons. It is likely true that the majority chooses home education for religious or ideological reasons, but that’s not always the case. The one thing we home educators are sure to have in common with each other is that we highly value the freedom to choose to educate our children at home, whatever our reasons may be. I may disagree with how you homeschool or with why you homeschool, but I am utterly convinced that you have the right to homeschool, and if I appreciate having that right myself, I must be as vehement about your right as I am about mine. Whatever our differences, we are united by staying focused on the freedom issue. It’s a constitutional freedom, we expect it to be upheld, and that’s that. We’re still a free people; let’s act like a free people. If we stay focused, we can work together effectively across religious lines and party lines. We ALL believe in freedom. HEIR of Georgia is nonpartisan, non-sectarian for exactly this reason, and that makes HEIR of Georgia the strongest voice for home education in this state. Individually, we have partisan and religious affiliations, but our differences do not prevent us from standing together with the single message that parents are free to direct the upbringing and education of their own children.

Purpose, Perseverance -- In my experience with HEIR, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most honorable people I’ve ever known. I’ve watched its members and leaders volunteer selflessly for years without seeking or receiving personal acclaim or recognition. Most of the time, none but a few even know the names of those who have done the hours and weeks and years of hard, persistent work to accomplish great things for the home education community of Georgia. They worked for a cause they believed in, and when the cause triumphed, they were satisfied. Some people think it’s too idealistic to operate this way—out of the spotlight, away from big dollars, away from political fame or personal credit. HEIR of Georgia just keeps doing it anyway—faithfully serving, believing in the political process that depends on the involvement of its ordinary citizens to work as it was meant to work. I count it not a fool’s errand but a high privilege to be associated with and welcomed to participate with these honorable, selfless people. The benefits of working side by side with such people are far less tangible than money, political clout, or personal fame, but they are far richer, too. I count it an honor to number them among my friends.

If you believe as I do that this country will remain free only as long as its citizens are awake and active, won’t you please become involved in standing for freedom with us? Please join and participate with HEIR of Georgia and add your voice to others who, even in this small sphere, say unequivocally, “Our freedom is our responsibility!”

Very truly yours,

Cathy Carter

Vice President, HEIR of Georgia
Penned May, 2004
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