On February 8, the Senate voted 71-25 to pass President Clinton’s $420 million Goals 2000 initiative. This bill further entrenches the national education bureaucracy and establishes “voluntary” national teaching standards. Goals 2000 was passed in the House 307-118 on October 14, 1993.
Through its FAX alert network, the National Center for Home Education encouraged home schoolers to call their representatives and request a NO vote on Goals 2000. Two arguments were offered: 1) Goals 2000 is a waste of taxpayer money. Americans are simply not willing to sink funds into federal programs like Goals 2000 which fail to address the basic problems of education; and 2) Goals 2000 promotes dangerous educational objectives like Outcome-Based Education, Parents as Teachers programs, and school-based clinics.
Goals 2000 is a public education reform bill. Although the bill has nothing in it that directly applies to home education, past experience demonstrates that regulations that apply to public education today often influence home school regulations tomorrow. One concern of particular importance to home schoolers is the concept of “one-stop shopping,” where all social and welfare services for children will be monitored through the schools.
Just prior to the passage of Goals 2000, the Senate agreed to include two amendments of relevance to home schoolers. The Grassley Amendment limits the amount of information that government officials can require from students. The Burns Amendment prevents the federal government form using Goals 2000 to “mandate any curriculum framework, instructional material, examination, assessment, or system of assessments for private, religious, or home schools.”
Parents Persuade Senator Dole to Switch Vote on U.N. Convention
In response to a tremendous outpouring of letters and calls from concerned parents, Senator Bob Dole has reversed his position on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Originally a sponsor of Senate Resolution 70, calling for introduction of the treaty into the Senate for ratification, Dole has reversed his position and removed his name from S.R.70’s sponsor list. Dole’s reversal is especially significant because it was his initial support for the Convention which served as impetus for a number of other Republicans to join the list of co-sponsors to S.R.70.
Dole’s decision came one day after a team of home schoolers representing the Congressional Action Program visited his office to urge him to vote against the Convention. Commenting on the success of the Capitol Coordinators, Director Doug Phillips said: “It is gratifying to see the Lord use home-schooling families to impact the vote of a leading United States Senator. This little victory should be an encouragement to those Christians who feel estranged from the political process. The Lord gave these home schoolers an opportunity to make an appeal for the preservation of the sanctity of the home, and then blessed their efforts.”
The National Center for Home Education is encouraging parents to write a thank you note to Senator Dole at:
The Honorable Robert Dole
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Congress Enacts Child Registry Bill
After a year of debate over the role of the federal government in establishing vaccination policy, Congress passed S.732, the Comprehensive Child Immunization Act of 1993, on November 4, 1993. In its original form, the bill had several alarming provisions that would have indirectly impacted home school freedom.
In a letter to members of Congress, Michael Farris, President of Home School Legal Defense Association, explained that the bill would “create a social security number-driven national tracking system that would require all children to be registered at birth in a centralized computer databank, and create the presumption that every parent must vaccinate their child or be subject to notification and enforcement through the registry-based surveillance system.”
In April of 1993, the National Center for Home Education spearheaded an effort to oppose the bill by organizing a coalition of groups dedicated to preserving family privacy and parental rights. The Family Privacy Coalition voiced objection to the transfer of medical decisions from parents to bureaucrats and the threat to family privacy posed by a computer-based registry and tracking system.
Through its FAX alert network, CAP launched a national telephone and letter-writing campaign among the home school community, which was followed by personal visits to the Congressional offices by Capitol Coordinators. Many Congressmen expressed surprise at the steady flow of negative sentiments toward what they regarded as a generally non-controversial bill.
Six leading pro-registry senators, including Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS), sent a letter to their colleagues which attempted to address the concerns raised by the CAP District Coordinators by offering concessions to opponents of the bill. The letter was a clear indication that the Lord had used the efforts of CAP and the Family Privacy Coalition to bring pressure on the Senate to curb their intrusion into the domain of the family. Special thanks go to Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) who worked behind the scenes to ensure that the bill included safeguards for family privacy.