- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Famed radio counselor and traditional-family advocate Laura Schlessinger, known for her in-your-face straight talk on moral and social issues, doesnt often backpedal, but says shes made an apology to one growing sector of the education arena — home-schoolers.
For two years, the well-known host of the "Dr. Laura" show was critical of what she described as the narrow focus of home schooling, offering her concerns that home educators were not teaching major science and math to children and were keeping youths from being properly socialized.
About six months ago, however, she had a change of heart, and said as much to her army of loyal listeners, which number more than 15 million.
"I dont know if Ive gotten more enlightened or the movement has grown or both, because now I am recommending it constantly," said Mrs. Schlessinger, visiting Washington this week, where she will be honored today with an award for her courage by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute at a noon luncheon of the Conservative Womens Network.
"I am an enemy of the public-school system because of the liberal forces that have taken it over and are determined to do social engineering there, foisting upon people notions of behavior and philosophy … sexual behavior, that have nothing to do with reading, writing and arithmetic," she said.
A little more than two months after her national television talk show was canceled, Mrs. Schlessinger has risen nearly unscathed and more resolute than ever to continue her efforts improve the nations moral health, despite attacks by homosexual-rights advocates who have labeled her a "bigot" and urged sponsors to leave her program.
Her radio show, broadcast daily on more than 440 radio stations in the United States and internationally, continues to grow and she remains the second most successful program behind popular conservative talkmeister Rush Limbaugh.
Now at the top of her game, how long does she plan to continue?
"Posthumously," jokes Mrs. Schlessinger, who is blond, petite and fit, and deeply committed to her syndicated program, which is broadcast from California Monday through Friday, including locally on WMAL-AM.
The author of several books for adults including her most recent, "Parenthood by Proxy: Dont Have Them If You Wont Raise Them," she also has written three childrens books, including her most recent, published this year, "Growing Up is Hard."
The mother of son Deryk, now 15 — and already 6-foot-1, she proudly reports — she focuses nearly all of her energies on children, including serving as president of the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation, which helps youngsters and families in need.
Even her most recent hobby, jewelry design, is done to benefit children, says Mrs. Schlessinger, who bought beads, read books and taught herself how to make stunning visual creations, which she and her staff wear to promote her charity.
"I love doing this," she says of making jewelry. Many of the pieces have been auctioned off on her radio program, raising close to $60,000 for the foundation.
The money is used to purchase and fill "my stuff" bags, which her foundation donates to abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes and put in foster care.
"I wanted this to be personal," she said of the bag program, which has her listeners knitting and crocheting blankets that are included in the duffel bags, along with other personal items, like toothbrushes, underwear and handcrafted bracelets that are made by inmates at womens prisons.
She also has partnered with the American Football Coaches Association to help promote its National Child ID Kit campaign and is working on scripts for a new animated childrens video on the Ten Commandments, which she hopes will be released later this year.
Of her recent trials, Mrs. Schlessinger said she has surrounded herself with good people and a family that has been supportive. Used to her share of controversy after 25 years on the air, even she was surprised at how mean-spirited people were in an attempt to censor her views.
"I set out to do one thing, to preserve and protect families. I did not anticipate how much the left-wing agenda was willing to do to be destructive. They dont debate, they destroy, or try to," she says.
She refuses to be silenced.
"Life gets tough and you want to quit. The difference between somebody who creates something and somebody who doesnt is whether or not they actually give in to it. As my son says, he didnt raise a mommy to be a coward."


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