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Protecting Child Safety and Homeschool Freedom

by Allison Gentala, AFHE Board Member and Director of Government Affairs

On March 24, 2020, HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) Senior Counsel Darren Jones published the blog post Harvard Summit to Discuss Regulating Homeschooling. AFHE has received numerous questions from our members and the Arizona homeschool community about this summit to be hosted by Harvard University’s Child Advocacy Program, with concerns about the potential impact on homeschool freedom. On behalf of AFHE, I’d like to provide some background as well as action you can take.

Child safety is crucial

AFHE believes every child should be safe and free from abuse. Abuse of a child should always be reported. It’s the law. Under Arizona’s mandatory reporter law, all parents must report to law enforcement and state child safety officials if they have a reasonable belief that their child is being or has been abused. Additionally, all adults are mandatory reporters for children for whom they have temporary custody or care (e.g. teachers, physicians, Sunday school teachers, etc.).

Learn more about reporting child abuse in Arizona at

Parental rights protect children

We believe parents have the right to be the primary decision-makers for their children. Therefore, we also believe parents have the right to make educational decisions for their children. Regrettably, abuse occurs within every education option. However, research shows homeschooling has the lowest rate of abuse among the various education options studied. Limiting or regulating homeschool freedom has not been shown to have any correlation to improved child safety.

Find research and more at

About the summit

AFHE has been aware of the summit at Harvard for several months. We have been in ongoing communication with state homeschool leaders from across the country as we seek ways to best protect homeschool freedoms here in Arizona.

The agenda for the summit is clear. The individuals hosting and speaking are already working aggressively across the nation to promote regulatory policy state by state. Many of these speakers are connected to an advocacy group with the express purpose of regulating homeschooling.

Truant families are not homeschool families

AFHE has been monitoring the actions of this group for quite a few years. Their tendency is to paint truancy abuse cases as a homeschool issue. In some cases, an abuse suspect may claim they homeschool in order to avoid added charges of truancy, but that doesn’t mean they were in fact homeschooling.  In Arizona, we have a legal process for a parent to homeschool their child. Only those who have filed an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool with their County School Superintendent’s office and who provide instruction to their children in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, math, science, and social studies are legally homeschooling. This separates homeschool families from families who have truant students.

Learn more about Arizona homeschool law at

Three ways you can help protect homeschool freedom


Our volunteer government affairs team is on-site at the Arizona State Capitol weekly during each legislative session. We attend stakeholder meetings and interact with legislators throughout the year.

AFHE members receive a legislative update every session and have the opportunity to affect important legislation through action alerts when necessary. Your membership and tax-deductible donations supports a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the Arizona homeschool community and preserving the freedom we currently enjoy.

Your support makes this important work possible!


DONATE – Make a tax-deductible donation to AFHE


Be sure to get out this November and vote for candidates who support parental rights and school choice. It’s not unusual for the academic world to entertain radical anti-family and anti-freedom notions. Electing committed men and women who respect the freedom of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children is crucial.

One helpful resource for researching candidates is the Voter Guide from Center for Arizona Policy, which will be published closer to the election.


Pray for wisdom and discernment for all involved … for our elected officials, leaders, legislators, and for those who work to protect homeschool freedom.

“Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and reverence. 1 Timothy 2:1-2


Together, we can protect and preserve homeschool freedom in Arizona.



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2019 Legislative Session

Happy new year from AFHE’s Government and Legislative Affairs Team. It’s amazing that we are almost to February!

As most of us are back into our homeschool routines after the holidays, ninety Arizona legislators have convened at the State Capitol, some of them for their first session. The new legislative session began January 14, but most legislators began preparing weeks in advance.

This will be the first regular session of Arizona’s 54th Legislature. Arizona lawmakers will be working countless hours this session, hopefully to further establish Arizona as one of the best states in which to live, work, and raise a family.

As we head into this new session, we remember the legislators who have devoted years to preserving homeschool freedom in our state. A special thank you to President Steve Yarbrough, who recently retired from the legislature. He has served in key leadership roles in both House and Senate, including as President of the Senate. Senator Yarbrough is an incredibly effective advocate of school choice and a dear friend to the homeschool community.

We are proud of the two bills AFHE supported the last two sessions. In 2017, we successfully urged the adoption of HB 2389, which requires government entities in the state of Arizona to recognize a homeschool diploma and transcript in the same manner as a public school diploma for employment. And, in 2018, we supported HB 2536, which extends the same college credits to homeschool students that public school students receive at our JTEDs (Joint Technical Education Districts such as West-MEC and EVIT). Both bills were sponsored by Representative Rusty Bowers, who was selected in November by the Members of the House of Representatives to lead their chamber as the Speaker. Speaker Bowers was the recipient of AFHE’s Friend of Homeschool Freedom Award in 2017, and we are glad to see him continue to lead with a commitment to excellence.

Arizona lawmakers have filed hundreds of proposed bills for the new session. The AFHE Legislative Team is already searching and reading through these bills to ensure the protection of your homeschool freedoms as well as those of the next generation.

We look forward to a wonderful session and want to invite you all to join us in prayer for continued success in our mission to preserve the freedom to homeschool in Arizona.

Allison Gentala
AFHE Board Member
Director of Government Affairs