Bulletin #23 CT Legislators against Federalization of homeschooling 01/26/2004

 

Did you know?: You can speak with your state legislators regarding federal legislation. They can speak to congressional representatives on your behalf.

 

If you cannot get in touch with a congressional representative, or if all you are receiving back from them are form letters, then it might be time to speak with your state representatives. This is what we have done in CT. We have spoken to key state legislative leadership, and they are listening. They see the proposed legislation such as HR2732 (HoNDA) as a threat to state's rights. We have pointed out the following to our state legislators:

 

SUMMARY OF REASONS WHY BILLS LIKE HR2732/SB1562 SHOULD BE DEFEATED

1.        The bill inserts a potential definition of homeschooling into several federal laws where there is no previous definition. It is possible that such a federal definition could be interpreted to override the definition of homeschooling that exists independently in each state under state law.

2.        Problems encountered by homeschoolers in accessing any of the "benefits" listed in this bill can and should more easily be resolved through education of the uninformed and negotiation rather than through implementation of federal legislation.

3.        Certain states, such as Connecticut, have little or no state government regulation of homeschooling. This bill will impose regulation over homeschoolers where there was no regulation before.

4.        Implementation of this legislation may have unintended detrimental consequences for homeschoolers.

5.        Implementation of any federal law inevitably leads to enforcement of that federal law. Enforcement of that federal law may lead to judicial interpretation of that law. Judicial interpretation of any law may change the rights of those affected by the law.

6.        Acceptance of federal funding by public and private schools provides the primary basis in law in which the federal government is able to "regulate" the activities within public and private schools. Homeschoolers who do not accept federal funding are not subject to federal "regulation". However, this bill now empowers the federal government to implement "regulation" of homeschoolers even though they do not receive federal funding, by defining homeschoolers and the criteria under which they may receive perceived federal "benefits". Homeschoolers who do accept federal funding by means of any federal "benefit" arguably could become even more easily "regulated" by the federal government.

7.        Implementation of federal regulation over homeschoolers usurps the authority of states to either regulate or remain free from regulation if the states and the people so desire.

8.        Any empowerment of the federal government to "regulate" homeschooling, even if such "regulation" seeks to assist homeschoolers, is improper and impermissible under the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution, under the tenth amendment, clearly states that any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government within the Constitution are reserved to the States and to the people. The Constitution does not specifically delegate the power to regulate education in any aspect to the federal government. Any power to regulate education is reserved to the States and to the people.

 

Seeking the assistance of state lawmakers to speak to our Congressional leaders on your behalf can be a very effective method of contact. Keep in mind that many state legislators may not appreciate their work being negated and their authority undermined by the imposition of federal legislation. We have received support from our state legislative leaders. As an example, the following is a copy of a letter that Connecticut State Senate Republican Leader Louis DeLuca sent to Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (she is on the Ways and Means Committee).

The Honorable Nancy Johnson
One Grove Street, Suite 225
New Britain, CT 06053


Dear Congresswoman Johnson:

I am writing to express my opposition to HR 2732/SB1562, Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act, pending in the U.S. Congress. It is my opinion that this legislation will have a detrimental effect on homeschoolers within the State of Connecticut and lead to unintended difficulties for both the parents and the State. Moreover, the Connecticut General Assembly has worked with the state's homeschoolers regarding legislation to address their concerns, and any federal legislation and regulation over homeschoolers undermines states' rights.

I appreciate your consideration of my concerns as you deliberate on this proposed legislation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, Louis C. DeLuca

 

 

Additionally, we are travelling to various congressional representatives state based offices and speaking directly to their education aides about these issues. We hope that you will take the time to do the same. Statewide homeschool leadership, or people who keep an eye on legislation in your state, should take this opportunity to present information to your state and federal representatives. Let them know about some of the issues that are confronting the homeschool community:

 

1.        The usurpation of state's rights by federal education legislation. If congressional delegates pass laws that affect homeschooling they will be threatening state legislator's authority over state matters and they may be negating our own state statutes!

2.        As a result of NCLB we are seeing the problem of "push outs".

3.        There has been a recent intentional barrage of sensational news stories of homeschooling and child abuse in the national media. Sadly child abuse and neglect is a problem which occurs in all segments of society. It is not a homeschool issue; it is a societal issue.

4.        There is a purposeful blurring of the term "homeschooling". Groups are beginning to co-opt the term "homeschooler" to include students who engage in different models of public school at home. We do not wish to be included in any proposed legislation to keep track of these public monies. Students (including homeschoolers) that enroll in home-based public charter schools are public school students.

 

Now is the time to make your voice heard on the issues that affect us all. Talk to your homeschool groups and visit your legislators today!

 

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