Our homeschooling legacy dates to this Convention keynote speaker’s role in passing the home education law in Florida.
Nearly 70,000 students in Florida are home educated, enjoying the freedom to educate their children at home. This was not possible until the 1985 passage of what was then considered a “controversial” law.Please be sure to spend time at the FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention being inspired and motivated by U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, who sponsored the bill that became the Florida home education law.
In Florida during the 1980s came a series of conflicting court decisions regarding home education. Finally, one court issued an opinion stating home education was a matter of public policy, and the Legislature would have to decide once and for all on its legality.
In 1985, as a member of the minority party, Webster (then a Representative in the Legislature) introduced the Home Education Program Act. Fellow State Representative Walt Young, a member of the majority party, introduced a competing bill that would have made it very difficult for families to home educate.
The turning point occurred on the floor of the Legislature, when June Sullivan told her story about one of her daughters. At the time, all of June’s children attended a public elementary school. Her third daughter had completed a full year of school, and testing revealed no academic progress. At that point, Webster asked the Deputy Commissioner of Education what the school had done. The answer was, “They promoted her.”
At that point, an agreement was struck — home educators would take full responsibility for the performance of their own sons and daughters in exchange for the privilege of teaching them at home. That agreement is the law today, in part through the help of hundreds of home-educating moms who descended upon the Capitol, many being part of a loosely formed organization called the FPEA.
Webster’s first bill to become law was the Home Education Program Act, which legalized homeschooling in Florida, and he considers it his most significant legislation. He homeschooled his six children and remains a homeschooling advocate, so much so that he will give one of the keynote addresses at the FPEA Convention in May.
Come and get excited all over again about our legal right to homeschool with Daniel Webster at this year’s FPEA Convention. You won’t want to miss it!