Bulletin #12 - Federal Statutes that contain the word Home School 11/29/2003


Did You Know: The words "Home School" already appears 11 times in current federal law?


The words "home school" appears about 11 times in current federal law.

The statutes are

10 USC sect. 520; Dealing with Military Law, Personnel and Enlistment

20 USC Chapter 25A sect. 926; Dealing with Overseas Defense Dependent Education

20 USC Chapter 28 Subchapter II, sect. 1029; Dealing with Teacher Quality Enhancement

20 USC Chapter 28, Subchapter IV, Part F, sect. 1091; Dealing with Student Assistance

20 USC Chapter 44. sect. 2393; Dealing with Construction

20 USC Chapter 70 sect. 6733; Dealing with Education Definitions 1/08/02

20 USC Chapter 70 sect. 7886; Dealing with Private Religious Homeschool 1/08/02

20 USC Chapter 70 subchapter X, Part L sect. 8356; Dealing with Physical Education

20 USC Chapter 70 subchapter XIV Part E sect. 8899; Exempts homeschoolers

20 USC Chapter 73, subchapter 1, sect. 9203; Dealing with Adult Education and Family Literacy

20 USC Chapter 76 sect. 9622; Dealing with National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 11/05/02


You can look these up yourself to see the entire code at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/#TITLES

In HR2732 there will be an additional 3 places where the term "home school" is used.


Our concern is the disturbing pattern that's emerging. First, HSLDA inserts clauses in federal statute "exempting home schools" without defining the term "home school" (which by the way means these clauses have no legal effect unless and until common law exists). Next, HSLDA attempts to drive the process of defining "home school" in federal common law, there having been no prosecutions under the statutory language they created. Having defined "home schools," the final step will be regulation, enacting home school statutes in every state. In most every case the purpose of inserting the homeschool language was to exempt homeschoolers from something. In most cases they are already exempt because homeschoolers do not accept public funds nor do they participate in the programs mentioned.


Whether or not State regulation is HSLDA's intent, it will be the net result. You can't regulate something without defining it. HSLDA pressed many states' homeschoolers to be included under the "private school" umbrella in the 1980's. CT was one of the states that refused to go along with that. Now it seems that HSLDA is pushing to have homeschoolers exempt from regulations that effect private schools (like FERPA). Private schools are now starting to become more accountable under state laws as they may begin to accept federal funding or voucher money.


Can or should "home school" be defined? It is non-public education - but it is not necessarily private schooling in the sense that private schools usually accept money in exchange for tutoring/teaching/educational services. As we have stated, many homeschoolers across the nation decided to have their state statutes view them as private schools. Perhaps they need to change their laws rather than place exemptive language in federal statutes. Additionally, homeschoolers should NOT accept public funding in the form of vouchers, services, grants or scholarship money. When we accept public funds in those ways we are subject to public scrutiny and public accountability.


The practice of inserting the words "home school" into federal law must stop now because:


1) The federal government is not allowed to regulate education, it is unconstitutional.

2) For those states where homeschooling is not defined in state statutes as private school or a homeschool or anything else, there is no way to enact federal law until the phrase "home school" is defined somewhere. Maybe this has not happened as of yet - but the insertion of wording in federal law has only been happening since 2001 and it will take some time for legislation to catch up to the state level. State definition of homeschool will happen the more the phrase "home school" is inserted into federal law.

3) It will become harder to keep track of all of the places where "home school " applies, or is exempt from statute in federal legislation. If the words "home school" is used in some laws to exempt us, then it will be assumed that we are included in all other laws!

4) Who can say how those statutes which contain the phrase "home school" will be amended in the future? and how difficult will it be to prevent the NEA or anyone else from doing that?


HSLDA has a privileged tax exempt status because they nominally SERVE the interests of ALL homeschoolers. If you agree that this practice of inserting language into federal law is bad, and whether you are a member of HSLDA or not, you should notify HSLDA that you want them to withdraw this legislation. Please contact HSLDA on December 15, 2003, and tell them to protect YOUR interests. Tell them to withdraw this legislation and not to attempt to carve up this omnibus bill, HR2732/SB1562, by slipping this legislation into other bills as amendments. Remind them that they have been writing articles and telling members for years that federal legislation of education is dangerous and unconstitutional. Ask them why they are looking for homeschoolers to accept federal funding through Byrd scholarships when they have been saying all along that homeschoolers should not accept federal money. Let them know what your concerns are regarding this legislation.



Home School Legal Defense Association
PO Box 3000
Purcellville VA 20134

Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733


This practice of placing homeschool legislation in federal statute must be stopped!



Attorney Deborah Stevenson - Executive Director of National Home Education Legal Defense. www.nheld.com or email : info@nheld.com

Judy Aron - Director of Research, NHELD imjfaron@sbcglobal.net