Friday, September 16, 2005

Kill Bill

From a friend:

HONDA federal legislation

This is not a good bill for homeschoolers. It had died, but is now backagain as HB 3753. Both HSLDA and THSC support it. Read the article below that details the problems step by step. This is FEDERAL legislation and as such could undermine and reverse the gains that have been made state by state over the years. Just say NO to HONDA. Bad news for homeschoolers. These articles relate to the older version of the bill but the arguments still apply.

When contacting your represenatives to oppose this bill, be sure the state the correct new bill number HB 3753. This bill needs to be killed now!

*** Legislators, left to their own devices, will understandably represent the mainstream majority rather than the homeschooling minority. Unless we educate them, most people assume that children need to attend a conventional school to learn basic skills and become socialized. Since the government oversees and regulates public schools, many people assume it should regulate homeschools in the same way. They also assume that homeschoolers want legislation that gives us benefits like tax credits or that supposedly guarantees that we can participate in public school courses or programs.

*** Legislation is very difficult to direct and control. Anytime legislation is introduced that includes homeschooling provisions (even if it is not a homeschooling bill as such), an amendment could easily be added that would increase state regulation of homeschools. It's not a question of what we could gain if legislation were introduced to give us tax credits or some other benefit. It's a question of what we could lose through the legislative process.

*** Once legislation is passed, government agencies write regulations that have the force of law even though they are not written by a representative body. Again, minority groups run the risk that regulations will reflect mainstream values rather than their own and turn the law against them.

HSLDA is presenting incorrect, misleading, and exaggerated claims for what the bill would accomplish. Even in the unlikely event that the bill brought a few small gains for homeschoolers, those gains would not be worth the risks of opening the door to federal regulation of homeschooling, creating a backlash against homeschoolers, and strengthening the power of the federal government. Unfortunately, HSLDA has a strong presence in Washington, D. C., partly because its headquarters are near D. C. Therefore, it is very important that homeschoolers who do not support this bill contact their federal legislators. Otherwise, we could end up with legislation that undermines homeschooling being supported by legislators who thought they were helping homeschoolers.

Homeschooling legislation recently introduced in the U. S. Congress would open the door to federal regulation of homeschooling, perhaps through required standardized testing; generate a backlash against homeschoolers; and encourage homeschoolers to rely on so-called experts. It would not result in the benefits to homeschoolers that HSLDA claims it would. Homeschoolers who oppose this legislation need to contact their federal representatives so they do not assume that HSLDA speaks for homeschoolers or that homeschoolers want this legislation.

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.

The HONDA bill would insert regulations affecting homeschooling into several laws that would allow the federal government to impose regulation despite the fact that it has no authority to do so. While homeschoolers do encounter problems from time to time, the resolution to those problems is not necessarily found in newly amended federal law. Those problems quite often are resolved through other means such as education of the uninformed and negotiation.

HT: Jeanne

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