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The Alliance, a nonprofit association that supports homeschool organizations, produced the film Exposing a Trojan Horse in 2008.[1] It dealt, on a theoretical level with various issues related to homeschooling families taking government money – tax dollars – for educating their children or enrolling their children in certain “school choice programs.” The film’s producers held that parents would pay a hidden price to participate in these programs. Some predicted that public-school-at-home programs would dilute or compromise the freedoms or philosophical strengths of homeschooling (i.e., private parent-led family-based education). Some predicted that certain government/tax-sponsored schooling at home would decrease the portion of families engaging in home-based private education. Many in the homeschool movement have perceived tax-funded home-based schooling and certain “school choice” initiatives as a Trojan horse in the midst of the homeschool community.

Similarly, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) warned parents in 2002 about certain public charter schools being a Trojan Horse.[2] The HSLDA explained to its readers the following:

  1. If you enroll in this program [Wisconsin Connections Academy public charter school], you will no longer be considered a private home schooler, and you will not be eligible for membership in the Home School Legal Defense Association. Our goal at HSLDA is to protect the right of parents to privately home school free from government controls and restrictions. The WCA is a tax-funded, government program with legitimate government controls and limitations.
  2. …..
  3. If you enroll your children in the WCA to receive your free curriculum and laptop, your children will no longer be considered private home school students, but rather public school students. This means you waive certain parental rights and agree to home school according to the public school’s rules. In other states with similar “virtual” charter school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and more regulations are gradually placed on the enrolled home schooling family each year. If the family does not comply with the regulations, the “virtual” school will demand return of the computer, curriculum, etc. Home schoolers who become dependent on the “free” government equipment and funds find that their freedom is gradually exchanged for these “freebies.”

The Alliance and HSLDA had little to no empirical research to support their claims and concerns. Recently, however, scholars Corey DeAngelis and Angela Dills published their study entitled, “Is School Choice a ‘Trojan Horse?’ The Effects of School Choice Laws on Homeschool Prevalence.”

Endnotes:


[1] National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership, The. (2008). Exposing a Trojan horse (DVD video).

[2] HSLDA. (2002). Wisconsin Connections Academy: A Trojan horse. Retrieved June 18, 2019 from https://hslda.org/content/docs/news/hslda/200202040.asp