February 3, 2023
W. Michael Clark has written an article titled Why Homeschool Families Should Support (or at Least Not Oppose) ESAs. It appears to present a strong case that Education Savings Account laws are safe for homeschoolers.
But two logical fallacies form the basis of the article:
1) Straw Man Argument
Clark claims homeschoolers argue that
homeschool families should oppose any ESA legislative proposal [and] all other families should be denied the opportunity to decide for themselves.
In actual fact, homeschoolers do not oppose all ESA bills. We only say ‘no’ to bills that leave us open to harm even if we reject ESA money.
2) Hasty Generalization
In what follows, I hope to lay out some reasons why homeschool families should support (or at least not oppose) ESA legislative proposals….
[T]he creation of the ESA program has not encroached on the freedoms of homeschool families because Arizona law distinguishes homeschool students from home-educated ESA students. They are two separate legal categories. Therefore, the law provides two different definitions, one for students educated in a “homeschool” and one for students “educated pursuant to an empowerment scholarship account.”
Clark attempts to lay out reasons why ESA legislative proposals — in states other than Arizona — are safe. Yet he uses only Arizona examples to support his case.
He does not mention that the present safeguards in the Arizona ESA law are the result of hard-fought negotiations by homeschoolers.
He also does not mention that bills currently being filed by ESA proponents in other states do not contain the protections now in Arizona law.
For example, the Utah ESA law just passed has no language protecting those who refuse the government money. There is no legal barrier between those homeschoolers who take the money and those who do not. They are all legally defined as “home school students.”
https://le.utah.gov/~2023/bills/hbillenr/HB0215.pdf (lines 252-258, 333-334)