On Thursday, January 29, WPBA aired a segment of
"First Amendment" hosted by Mike Roberts, focusing on
homeschooling and the "need" to restrict or control
it. The sponsor of H.B. 586, Carolyn Hugley, joined by Mr. Bob
Cribbs, the Director for Government Relations for the Georgia Association of Educators,
faced off against one of the bill's outspoken opponents -
Dr. Christina Jeffrey, homeschooling mom and Associate Professor of Political Science
and Public Administration at Kennesaw State University, joined by Andrea Houston, a former
homeschooler, now a junior in the Honors Program of the High Achievers Magnet Program at
The following comments were provided by Dr. Jeffries,
based on a review of the videotape of the show:
Dear Home fellow home school "activists":
I have received the video from WPBA and analyzed same. I don't know why Mike
Roberts called me a "Home School Activist" on his First Amendment" show but
did not describe Legislator Hugley as an "Anti-Home School Activist," but that
was how I was introduced. Now that I have watched it, I can tell you that the pro side had
less than 1/2 of the actual time allocated and that even when the cameras were on Angela
or me, Bob Cribbs from the GAE was often talking over us and then our words were
effectively drowned out.
As far as the content of the discussion went, our side was the most proactive, for the
most part, they had to respond to us. Here are the points we made and their efforts to
1) Their Columbus case was bunk--they really couldn't respond when I brought up the HEIR
monitoring of that case--instead they tried to change the subject--their usual trick, I soon found out,
whenever backed into the corner.
2) They are intruding into the family; Cribbs conceded as much but maintains that to
be the role of government--Andrea backed me up as did a caller.
3) "Love" is the best qualification. Andrea and Hugley agreed in principle
although Hugley said sometimes it isn't enough.
Cribbs denied the principle saying he and his wife are certified "master
learners" in 4 areas but would never try to teach out
of their areas. I came back with all the ways that parents have of getting a child
educated in a given area such as correspondence, tutors, swapping areas of expertise, etc.
4) I said home schoolers should be allowed to keep some of their taxes; fsCribbs said that
my insistence that I dictate how edcuational tax money is spent would cause chaos. I
denied the "dictation" charge. Roberts seemed to back me up.
5) I said I'd conducted research on home schooling parents and knew the sacrifices and
that "so-called" unqualified parents make to do homeschooling and their children
succeed. Cribbs expressed outrage. Hugley seemed to agree with me, saying that the amount
of education the parent has is not the important thing.
6) I mentioned the intrusion of red-tape. A caller agreed.
7) I asked about the window of time for notifying and Hugley went on about how hard it is
to meet with a representative of
home schoolers and how we can't discuss the bill because it is "a work in
8) Angela brought out Georgia's second to last place in comparison with other States.
Hugley changed the subject and
dominated the rest of the discussion.
9) Only Hugley and Cribbs got to respond directly to the last question raised, i.e., the
question of Christian values
in the schools and whether that was the reason for most home schooling. We did not get to
refute Cribbs' insistence
that Christian values are taught in the schools (tell that to the people of Alabama who
have anti-Christian hall monitors
reporting to Judge Ira DeMent whenever anything Christian raises its suspicious head.) Nor
did I get a chance to say
that I didn't think that it should be necessary to hide home schooling behind freedom of
religion, but rather the nature
of parenthood dictates a right to superintend the education of one's own children--in a