February 11, 2014 • Oklahoma State Capitol
Freedom Worth Defending
Originally published Winter 2013
Join us for Capitol Day on February 11th! Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.
- Cookie Drop
- Legislative Impact Session
- Town Hall
- Historical Reenactors
- One-on-one Visits with Legislators
- Lunch with Legislators (Please consider purchasing your legislators’ lunches, or make a donation to help provide their lunch.)
- Musical Entertainment by homeschool students
Details will be coming soon in your inbox. Please check your e-mail and our website, www.ochec.com, for up-to-date information.
Thomas Jefferson once remarked that “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”
The right to direct the education of your children is one given by God and recognized by the United
States Supreme Court as a “fundamental right” protected under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the United States Constitution. Indeed, the Court has long recognized the “fundamental liberty interest of parents in the care, custody and management of their [children],” but the Court has also noted that such a right is not absolute and has even noted that “the family itself is not beyond regulation in the public interest . . .” and that the state could require school attendance if it was determined to be in the best interest of the child.
Opponents of home education attack this right on the grounds that compulsory attendance in public school is in the “best interest” of children. Thankfully, the right to home educate your children is protected in all fifty states, including Oklahoma, the only state that has that right embedded in our constitution.
But make no mistake: there is a conflict in our nation between those of us who believe God has called us to educate our children on our terms and those who believe that parents are incompetent, incapable or untrustworthy to provide a solid education for their children. And our opponents are counting on our timidity and ignorance to gain the upper hand. They are counting on men and women who refuse to join the battle and who ignore the realities of creeping tyranny that are sweeping across this nation. The late Milton Friedman once noted that the tendency of every free society throughout history is to bend toward tyranny, primarily due to the apathy and ignorance of its citizens.
Timidity and ignorance could result in the death of your right to direct the care and upbringing of your children. We have an obligation to be vigilant and to become involved in the political process in an effort to defend our right as parents to direct the upbringing of our own children.
The 29th Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day, scheduled for Tuesday, February 11, is an opportunity for you to influence your elected representatives at the state Capitol. This year’s theme is “Freedom Worth Defending” in recognition of this conflict of ideas in which we are engaged.
Each year, more than one thousand home educators and their families walk the halls of our Capitol, meet with lawmakers, deliver cookies, attend a luncheon and rally, and bring home education to the forefront of state issues.
As you can imagine, the Capitol Day event is an immense effort that requires many volunteers, and there are numerous opportunities to help out this year. As usual, OCHEC will deliver cookies to the legislators the morning of the event. This year, we will need approximately 180 dozen cookies. If you or a group are interested in helping bake cookies, please email Carrie Bertrand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, we will be purchasing boxed lunches for the legislators again this year. Please consider purchasing a lunch for your legislator and schedule an opportunity to visit with him during the luncheon. If you are interested in purchasing your legislator’s lunch, you will find that option available when you register to attend.
We also need volunteers to serve as re-enactors and to provide musical entertainment throughout the day. If you are interested, please send an MP3 or equivalent file to Brenda Williams at email@example.com or Tina Oliphant at Oliphant@ochec.com to audition.
Finally, we are putting together a Teen Lobby Team to advocate on behalf of home educators during the week leading up to and following Capitol Day. The Teen Lobby Team will hand-deliver event and luncheon invitations to legislators the week prior to Capitol Day and will follow up with legislators during the following weeks. The team will also attend workshops on effective advocacy prior to Capitol Day and will have the opportunity to attend committee hearings and legislative meetings at the state Capitol with the OCHEC legislative liaison. The cost is $25 per student, and a limited number of spaces are available. If you have an 11th or 12th grade student who has an interest in government and public policy, please email Cindy Nicolai at Nicolai@ochec.com
And remember, the legislative session will be in full swing during Capitol Day, and lawmakers will be busy. If you plan to attend this year, consider calling ahead to your legislator’s office and scheduling a time during the day to visit.
Despite efforts to limit the right to home educate, we remain encouraged as more and more families across this nation are making the decision to teach their children at home. But we must remain vigilant! We hope you will join us in February for Capitol Day as we seek to protect a “Freedom Worth Defending!”
Jason Sutton, J.D. is an Oklahoma City attorney, speechwriter and political communications professional. He and his wife, Katie, reside in The Village where they homeschool the oldest of their four children.