Bulletin #45     HR 1815 (Section #522) RECRUITMENT AND ENLISTMENT OF HOME SCHOOLED STUDENTS IN THE ARMED FORCES           11/30/2005

 

Did You Know: There is a bill being considered at this time in Congress regarding the military, and section #522 mentions home education.  It is HR 1815 and here is the text of section #522:

 

RECRUITMENT AND ENLISTMENT OF HOME SCHOOLED STUDENTS IN THE ARMED FORCES

(a) Policy on Recruitment and Enlistment-
(1) POLICY REQUIRED- The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a policy on the recruitment and enlistment of home schooled students in the Armed Forces.
(2) UNIFORMITY ACROSS THE ARMED FORCES- The Secretary shall ensure that the policy prescribed under paragraph (1) applies, to the extent practicable, uniformly across the Armed Forces.
(b) Elements- The policy under subsection (a) shall include the following:
(1) An identification of a graduate of home schooling for purposes of recruitment and enlistment in the Armed Forces that is in accordance with the requirements described in subsection (c).
(2) Provision for the treatment of graduates of home schooling with no practical limit with regard to enlistment eligibility.
(3) An exemption of graduates of home schooling from the requirement for a secondary school diploma or an equivalent (GED) as a precondition for enlistment in the Armed Forces.
(c) Home School Graduates- In prescribing the policy, the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a single set of criteria to be utilized by the Armed Forces in determining whether an individual is a graduate of home schooling. The Secretary concerned shall ensure compliance with education credential coding requirements.
(d) Secretary Concerned Defined- In this section, the term `Secretary concerned' has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(9) of title 10, United States Code.

 

NHELD has examined this legislation and offers these arguments against it:

The problem with Section (1) of this section:

    The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a policy on the recruitment and enlistment of home schooled students in the Armed Forces.”

 

This section is problematic in that Congress is delegating its so-called authority to “regulate” to the Secretary of Defense who can adopt whatever “policy” he desires with little effective ability of the public to influence what that “policy” is.

 

When the Secretary of Defense “prescribes a policy”, the policy that results is an “administrative regulation” that will have the full force and effect of law.  On the federal level, the process for adopting regulations is particularly cumbersome and not very open to public participation and persuasion.

 

The process is called “rulemaking”.  The “rules” made effectively implement the federal statutes adopted by Congress. Unlike at the state level where there are public hearings held in which members of the public can personally address those agency heads who are proposing the “rules”, on the federal level, there is only a provision for “public comment” through written communication.  The agency presents “rules” that are “open for comment” for a particular period of time, usually 30-90 days.  During that time, the public submits the written communication, but never receives any reply, and seldom has confirmation that the written communication was received.

 

The Federal Register ( http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html ) is the official daily publication for final regulations, proposed regulations, and other notices of Federal Departments and Agencies and organizations. 

 

The agencies are required to “consider” the public comment, but are not required to change the proposed rule based on the public comment.  Once the proposed regulations are adopted, they are then codified in the CFR, or Code of Federal Regulations. Publications of the CFR are available through www.gpoaccess.gov

 

The best way to deal with this section, is to act now to defeat this part of the bill in its entirety.  If we wait, it will be too late.

 

The other sections of this portion of the bill are equally problematic because of the words, “home school”.  As NHELD often has repeated, currently there are up to fifty different definitions of “home school” because each state has defined it in its own unique way.  With the addition of increasing numbers of federal statutes referring to “home school”, eventually either the Congress or a federal judge will define that term and, due to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and the way that has been “interpreted” in the federal courts, the federal definition will supercede each state’s definition and effectively void each state’s laws.

 

If the issue of the definition of “home school” were put forth squarely on the floor of Congress and parents had the opportunity to lobby and persuade each Congressman and Senator, that, at least, would be a fair battle.  As this bill is written, parents will not get that opportunity because Congress is giving the authority to the “Secretary” to come up with a “policy”, i.e., “rule”, that will define the term “home school.” 

 

 As you can see, it becomes exceedingly difficult to influence the Secretary regarding any rule he proposes.  All he has to do is “consider” the comments made, and then go ahead an issue what he was going to issue anyway.  The public also has no recourse to “vote” him out of office upon disagreeing with the policy.  The Secretary is appointed by the President. 

 

The last problematic section of this portion of the bill states, the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe a single set of criteria to be utilized by the Armed Forces in determining whether an individual is a graduate of home schooling. The Secretary concerned shall ensure compliance with education credential coding requirements.”  By this, Congress is delegating to the Secretary its non-existent authority to determine “whether an individual is a graduate of home schooling.”  Aside from the Tenth Amendment state’s rights issue, and the issue of the definition of “home schooling”, parents, tutors, and/or correspondence/distance learning schools are not to be accepted as are principals of public and private schools in their ability to “determine whether an individual is a graduate of home schooling.”  Now, only the Secretary of Defense will be able to make that determination. 

 

While NHELD agrees that there are good reasons for the military to determine who is qualified to enter as a recruit, this bill is wholly unconstitutional, and creates more problems for home schoolers than it purports to solve.  Furthermore, NHELD strongly objects to HSLDA proposing legislation that negatively affects home schoolers for generations to come without even attempting to offer its “proposals” to the home schooling community in general for debate and possible consensus before seeking the submission of a multitude of bills for immediate action by Congress.

 

NHELD is firmly of the opinion that HSLDA’s actions are inimical to homeschoolers now and in the future, and are undermining the foundations of our society and our state and federal constitutions.  NHELD is calling on all parents to (1) tell HSLDA to withdraw its support for all of the federal legislation it has proposed; (2) tell Congress that it must reject this bill and all the other bills currently before it having anything to do with home schooling; and (3) tell Congress that HSLDA did not and does not speak for all home schoolers such that Congress should seek out and listen to opposing points of view before voting on any legislation that affects home schoolers.

 

NHELD is calling on all home school organizations throughout the country to stand up and act as organizations in the name of their organization, to contact Congress and their State Representatives and let Congress know that there are a myriad of organizations that are opposed to this federal legislation and any other federal legislation having to do with home schooling.  They should let Congress know that they cannot take the word of just one organization before they act on anything having to do with home schooling.  For too long one organization, HSLDA,  has had the ear of Congress.  Other home school organizations must now make their voices heard loudly and clearly in Congress, telling them that HSLDA does not speak for, or represent, all home schoolers nationwide. We have to tell Congress and our State Representatives that they must seek out and listen to more than just HSLDA. It is crucial that organizations act now and send this message to Congress.

 

In addition as an alternative to the above actions, NHELD is proposing that parents and organizations may also want to  make their own copies of the petition below and sign it and sent to Congress immediately. We also have a copy of this online that you can sign as an individual http://www.petitiononline.com/hr1815/petition.html 

 

 

PETITION

 

We, the people, as represented by our signatures below, are hereby calling on all members of Congress to REJECT adoption of any proposed bill that purports to affect the rights of parents and students who home school, and to REPEAL any such bills already adopted for the following reasons:  (1) because parents and students who home school do not receive any federal funding, Congress has no authority under the United States Constitution to adopt any bill affecting the education of students who home school because under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution education is a power that is not delegated to the Congress and is therefore a power that remains in the States and the people; (2) because Congress is being led to believe that one well funded and politically connected organization, Home School Legal Defense Association, otherwise known as HSLDA, represents the majority of parents and students who homeschool when, in fact, it represents only approximately 80,000 out of an estimated

2 MILLION parents and students who home school who have different opinions regarding the proposed legislation and whose opinions should and must be heard before Congress votes on legislation affecting them.  We, the undersigned, are urging the members of Congress to REJECT Section #522 of HR1815 now, as well as other proposed legislation which contain any reference to home schooling, and to REPEAL any bills already adopted which contain any reference to home schooling.

 

Names and addresses                                                           Signing as Organizations

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Names and addresses                                                          Signing as Individuals

 

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For more information on this bill and other legislation please visit  www.nheld.com

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