Bulletin #42     Pending Legislation in Congress              07/22/2005

 

Did you know?   Congress may be adopting federal legislation that will affect your right to homeschool?  Tell Congress to kill the bills!

 

NHELD believes in the United States Constitution.  When it comes to the rights of parents to educate their own children, NHELD believes the tenth amendment is supreme.

 

The tenth amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

 

The power of education is not one that is delegated to the United States by the Constitution.  It is, therefore, reserved to the States or to the people.

 

Why then does another nationally recognized organization that purportedly supports homeschooling continue to solicit the assistance of United States Congressmen to adopt federal laws that regulate homeschooling? NHELD has no answer to that question.

 

While some of these bills at first glance appear to benefit homeschool families, ultimately legislation adopted by Congress establishes the unconstitutional precedent that the federal government has the authority to enact legislation regarding education.  When homeschool families do not receive any federal funding or benefits, the federal government has no constitutional authority to enact any legislation.  By enacting legislation that provides for federal funding and benefits, Congress unconstitutionally is granting to itself the authority to enact further legislation affecting homeschooling.  In addition, because in the federal legislation, the word, “homeschool” appears, and is defined, the definition of that word may conflict with the definition in one or more state statutes.  Because of the “supremacy clause” of the Constitution, when a federal law conflicts with a state law, the federal law supersedes state law, thus, placing into jeopardy the validity of all state statutes regarding homeschooling.  For these reasons, even seemingly beneficial federal legislation must be defeated or repealed.

 

Here is a summary of the bills pending in Congress:

 

1.)  HR130:
Sponsor: Rep Kennedy, Mark R. [MN-6] (introduced 1/4/2005)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 2/9/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Education Reform.

Amends the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) to extend to families of home-schooled children certain educational and privacy rights currently available to families of public school students.

Revises the definition of student for purposes of coverage regarding such family educational and privacy rights (under GEPA provisions which are also known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974).

Includes under such coverage any person educated at a home school (whether or not State law treats a home school as a home school or a private school), if an educational agency or institution maintains education records or personally identifiable information on such person (whether or not the home-schooled person is in attendance at the agency or institution). (Current law excludes all those who are not in attendance at the agency or institution.)

2.)  HR403:
Sponsor: Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] (introduced 1/26/2005)      Cosponsors (6)
Committees: House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 1/26/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Hope Plus Scholarship Act of 2005 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to expand the Hope Education Scholarship credit to cover K-12 expenses and to offset the cost of home schooling.  Under this bill, the term “’school’ shall include a home school”.  

 

 

3.) HR406:
Sponsor: Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] (introduced 1/26/2005)      Cosponsors (13)
Committees: House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 1/26/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Family Education Freedom Act of 2005 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit of up to $3,000 per student per year for the cost of attendance at any educational institution (including any private, parochial, religious, or home school) organized to provide elementary or secondary education, or both.  The bill amends the IRS code to define “qualified educational expenses” that will be considered tax deductible.  In other words, the IRS will be able to adopt regulations to determine whether your “home school” expenses qualify for the tax credit.  In order to do this, the IRS will have oversight authority over your homeschool. The exact language in the bill is as follows:

Definitions- For purposes of this section--

`(1) QUALIFIED EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES- The term `qualified educational expenses' means cost of attendance in connection with the elementary or secondary education of the student at a qualified educational institution. Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, rules similar to the rules relating to cost of attendance (within the meaning of section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087ll) (as in effect on the date of the enactment of this paragraph) shall apply for purposes of the preceding sentence.

`(2) QUALIFIED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION- The term `qualified educational institution' means any educational institution (including any private, parochial, religious, or home school) organized for the purpose of providing elementary or secondary education, or both.

 

Regulations- The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section, including regulations providing for claiming the credit under this section on Form 1040EZ.'.

 

 

4.) HR 508:
Sponsor: Rep McKeon, Howard P. (Buck) [CA-25] (introduced 2/2/2005)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 3/24/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness.

 

Fed Up Higher Education Technical Amendments of 2005 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to make various technical revisions regarding access to student aid programs.

Revises the HEA general definition of institution of higher education (IHE) to include one that admits as regular students those who have been home-schooled (as well as high school graduates or those with equivalency certificates), thus conforming it with provisions that make such home-schooled students eligible for student aid under HEA title IV.

5.) HR371:
Sponsor: Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] (introduced 2/14/2005)      Cosponsors (7)
Committees: Senate Finance
Latest Major Action: 2/14/2005 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

College Quality, Affordability, and Diversity Improvement Act of 2005 - Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) and Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to set forth provisions relating to: (1) access to college for all; (2) teacher quality enhancement; (3) diversity, retention, and enriched academics for matriculating students; (4) opportunities at Hispanic-serving institutions; (5) historically Black colleges and universities; and (6) recruitment of teachers to teach at tribal colleges or universities.

Makes appropriations in a specified amount to carry out the HEA Pell Grant program. Increases the maximum amount of an individual Pell Grant.

Revises the IRC Hope Scholarship program.

6.) HR1021:
Sponsor: Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] (introduced 5/12/2005)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 5/18/2005 Senate committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Ordered to be reported with an amendment, in the nature of a “substitute favorably”.

Workforce Investment Act Amendments of 2005 - Amends title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for workforce investment systems for job training and employment services, including the Job Corps.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Amendments of 2005 - Amends title II of WIA, also known as the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for adult basic skills education, including adult education and family literacy programs.

When a specific group is exempt from one law, a reviewing court may determine that because Congress specifically exempted that group from one law and not from other laws, that Congress must have meant to include that group in the applicability of the other laws.  Thus, other laws that until now did not apply to homeschoolers, may be deemed to apply to homeschoolers in the future.

SEC. 203. HOME SCHOOLS.

Section 204 of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (20 U.S.C. 9203) is amended to read as follows:

`SEC. 204. HOME SCHOOLS.

`Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect home schools, whether a home school is treated as a home school or a private school under State law, or to compel a parent engaged in home schooling to participate in an English language acquisition program, family literacy services, or adult education.'.

7.)  S9:
Sponsor: Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] (introduced 1/24/2005)      Cosponsors (2)
Related Bills: S.1021
Latest Major Action: 1/24/2005 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. This is an omnibus bill that incorporates many of the components of bills that first were proposed in the house.

Lifetime of Education Opportunities Act of 2005 - Expresses the sense of the Senate regarding: Head Start; elementary and secondary education; career and technical education; mathematics and science education; loan forgiveness for teachers; teacher preparation; teacher incentives; teacher tax credits; higher education and lifelong learning opportunities; minority serving institutions; making education more affordable; and a refundable tax credit for public or private school tuition and transportation costs.

Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for teacher quality enhancement grants for States and partnerships.

Makes permanent specified affordable education requirements under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

Workforce Investment Act Amendments of 2005 - Amends title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for workforce investment systems for job training and employment services, including the Job Corps.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Amendments of 2005 - Amends title II of WIA, also known as the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for adult basic skills education, including adult education and family literacy programs.

Amends the Wagner-Peyser Act to: (1) require employment services offices in each State to be co-located with comprehensive one-stop centers under WIA-I; and (2) revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for the workforce and labor market information system to be carried out through grants or cooperative agreements with the States.

Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 2005 - Amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to revise requirements and reauthorize appropriations for vocational rehabilitation services.

Amends the Helen Keller National Center Act to reauthorize appropriations for such Act in general and for the Helen Keller National Center Federal Endowment Fund.

Give Back to Parents Act of 2005 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide a refundable tax credit for education, tuition, and transportation expenses of students assigned to schools identified for school improvement.

SEC. 441C. HOME SCHOOLS.

Section 204 of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (20 U.S.C. 9203) is amended to read as follows:

`SEC. 204. HOME SCHOOLS.

`Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect home schools, whether a home school is treated as a home school or a private school under State law, or to compel a parent engaged in home schooling to participate in an English literacy program, family literacy services, or adult education.'.

 

 

 

Full details of all of these bills can be found at: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/search.html

 

 

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