Federal Legislation
October 23, 2009

H.R. 3545—“Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2009”

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time. HSLDA will continue to monitor this bill and will send out an action e-lert if a hearing is scheduled for this bill.

Summary
H.R. 3545 will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Education to award grants to schools that provide community center functions. Our concern with H.R. 3545 is that it will increase the federal government’s role in public and private schools at the expense of parental freedom to make education decisions for children.

Status:

9/9/2009Introduced
9/9/2009Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Sponsor: Representative Steny Hoyer (MD-5)

Cosponsors: 59

Bill Summary and Status H.R. 3545

Bill Text (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

HSLDA’s Position:
Oppose.

Talking Points:

H.R. 3545 will increase government involvement with education providers: H.R. 3545 will create an advisory committee called the “Full-Service Community Schools Advisory Committee.” The advisory committee will consult with the Secretary of Education and “identify strategies to improve the coordination of Federal programs in support of full-service community schools.” The federal government, instead of the state and local government, will become directly involved in “ensuring that children come to school ready to learn every day.” HSLDA believes that parents are best equipped to make these decisions. We are concerned that this bill will increase the federal government’s role in child-rearing and education decisions at the expense of parental rights.

H.R. 3545 will place a financial burden on the states: While H.R. 3545 will give federal funds to states, the federal government will require that “each recipient of a grant…provide matching funds from non-Federal sources.” This could place an added financial burden on the states.

H.R. 3545 will expand early education programs: The grants made available with H.R. 3545 will be available to fund any early childhood education program under the Head Start Act. This will allow more and more states that did not previously have all the funds needed to create early childhood education programs to do so, even though studies have shown that early education programs have made only small and temporary improvement in students’ achievements. Moreover, 80 percent of preschool-age children are already having their needs met by some sort of preschool program, so the added expense during a time when the country is facing a huge national debt can hardly be justified as necessary.

 Other Resources

The Heritage Foundation: “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma”

Cato Institute: “The Poverty of Preschool Promises Saving Children and Money with the Early Education Tax Credit” (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)