HOUSTON, Texas – Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, will roll out his Homeschoolers for Cruz coalition at an event in Winterset, IA later this evening.
The group represents homeschool communities across the country who are dissatisfied with their local school districts, the recent implementation of Common Core, or just wish to be more involved in their children’s upbringing.
This coalition already totals 6,670 members, and will be co-chaired by Marlin Bontrager, William Estrada, and Vicki Crawford.
“The federal government does not have any role in dictating the content of curricula. Education is a state and local issue and parents should have direct input and control of what’s being taught to their children. The single most important thing in a child’s education is parental involvement,” Cruz said. “If you or I disagree with what some bureaucrat in the federal Department of Education says, you can’t change that, and that is not the way it should be. I have great faith in the leaders of this coalition, and the passionate supporters of homeschooling who are uniting for this cause – to take back power from the Washington Cartel and to restore choice to the people who know our students best: parents.”
Marlin, his wife Becky, and their 10 homeschool educated children reside on a dairy, grain, and hog farm in Kalona, IA. The whole family loves working together as a team both on the farm and in their travels with their family ministry and band. The Bontrager band got its start on bluegrass gospel radio stations, at nursing homes and the Salvation Army soup kitchen in Iowa City, entertaining patrons. After hearing about Gospel Express, an organization which runs a prison ministry in South Carolina and Florida, they decided to participate in a prison tour. They now travel and perform throughout the country, often for months at a time. The Bontrager’s host a yearly homeschool event that draws over 1,500 homeschoolers per year. Marlin and Becky Bontrager are also apart of the Cruz leadership team in Iowa.
“My family and I are so grateful that the Lord has given us a godly man like Ted Cruz to run for president” said Bontrager. “As a homeschooling father of ten and the leader in my home, it is vitally important to me that we have a president who is concerned first and for most about religious liberty and protecting the constitution. Within that is included the rights that we need to have as parents to be able to choose what education we desire for our children. I believe that Ted Cruz has and will continue to fight for these rights and that is why I endorse him for president.”
William is a homeschool graduate from Pennsylvania who began working for the Home School Legal Defense Association in January 2004. Currently, he directs HSLDA’s Federal Relations department and serves as HSLDA’s federal lobbyist. Will uses his passion for homeschooling to advocate for all homeschoolers before Congress and the federal departments. He has testified before Congress and met with senior officials from federal agencies and the executive branch.
From October 2007 through December 2012, Will served as the director of Generation Joshua, a division of HSLDA. He oversaw a doubling of Generation Joshua’s membership, an increase in local clubs, and an expansion of Generation Joshua’s reach and effectiveness. In July 2011, he also took on lobbying for ParentalRights.org as the organization’s Director of Federal Relations, where he advocates before Congress for the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“I spend my days fighting for homeschool freedom. It’s not easy because much of the education establishment is against us. So, when I was deciding whom to support for President of the United States, I evaluated each candidate by his or her willingness to consistently fight for conservative, constitutional principles–by his or her eagerness to take on the political establishment in both parties as part of those fights–and by his or her record of reducing the role of the federal government in the everyday lives of American citizens. Only one candidate truly fit the bill, and that’s Ted Cruz” said Estrada. “I endorse Ted Cruz for President because I know that he will do what he says he will do, despite strong political headwinds from DC insiders, and will work each day to make this country a better place for every American. As a long-time conservative political activist in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I am further proud to endorse Ted Cruz for President, and I urge my fellow Virginians to vote for Ted Cruz on March 1.”
Vicki Crawford is a homeschooling mother who has served Iowa home educators for many years while chairing the Homeschool Iowa Capitol Day Committee for NICHE, Iowa’s statewide Christian home education group. She has also worked with The FAMiLY LEADER, as well as with a number of conservative political campaigns over the years.
“Senator Ted Cruz has been a beacon of hope and freedom that has inspired and encouraged so many of us in our mutual desire to restore America’s promise” Vicki said. “His courage, conviction, character and consistency are the hallmarks of a true leader, who faithfully represents all the principles that founded this nation. It is a privilege to offer him my support.”
According to a 2013 report from the Home School Legal Defense Association, over 1,770,000 students are homeschooled in the United States.
The Cruz Campaign would also like to welcome 82 Iowa Homeschoolers for Cruz leaders who are listed below.