Capitol Day 2014

Join Us for Capitol Day on February 11

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 50 states, including Oklahoma where we are the only state that has embedded that right in our Constitution.

But make no mistake: there is a war waging across this nation between those 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 to our children. And our opponents are counting on the timidity and blissful ignorance of men (and women) 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 apathy and ignorance of citizens.

Timidity and ignorance could signal the death of your right to direct the care and upbringing of your children. It is that simple. As parents, we have an obligation to be vigilant and to engage the political process in an effort to defend the right to direct the upbringing of our own children. In February, you have the opportunity to take that fight to your elected representatives at the state Capitol.

The 29th Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day event is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11 at the state Capitol. This year’s theme is “Freedom Worth Defending” in recognition of the war in which we are engaged.

Each year, more than 1,000 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 contact Carrie Bertrand at bertrandcarrie@gmail.com. To see the other volunteer opportunities, please click here.

In addition, we will be purchasing boxed lunches for the legislators again this year. We ask that you would consider purchasing a lunch for your legislator and schedule an opportunity to visit with them 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 jdw3bkw@sbcglobal.net 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 invitations to the event and luncheon 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 a junior or senior-age student who has an interest in government and public policy, please contact Cindy Nicolai, 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 with him or her.

Despite efforts to limit the right to home educate, we remain encouraged as families across this nation are making the decision to teach their children at home at astonishing rates. 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.