Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act Scheduled for Introduction
With over 43 original sponsors to the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act at the time of this writing, the effort to pass the PRRA appears to be picking up a lot of steam. The PRRA is scheduled to be introduced in the Senate by Charles Grassley, and in the House by Steve Largent on June 28. That day Capitol Coordinators of the Congressional Action Program will be organized into approximately 20 teams for the purpose of meeting with key Congressional leaders and gaining more support for the bill.
Just How Effective are CAP Lobbyists?
On May 3rd, 1995, twenty teams of trained home school family lobbyists visited approximately 100 Congressional offices to request that the Representatives and Senators they visited sign on as original sponsors to the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act. Approximately 35% of the visits yielded original sponsors. Remember, we are talking about original sponsorship, not votes. Over 100 offices were visited, and most indicated that they would vote for the PRRA. Congratulations and thanks are due to all the Capitol Coordinators who sacrificed their time and energy to promote the PRRA.
Abolishing the Federal Role in Education
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution makes it clear that "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." Because education is not "delegated to the United States," it is specifically reserved to the individual states and to the people. For this reason, the National Center opposes any federal involvement in education.
Michael Farris, Christopher Klicka, and Doug Phillips of the National Center have been working with a broad coalition of pro-family groups, including Concerned Women for America and Eagle Forum, to ensure that the freshmen of the 104th Congress will fulfill their promise to completely eliminate the federal role in education. A majority of state home school leaders from around the country have indicated their unequivocal support for this effort. These home school leaders recognize that the abolition of the federal role in education would mean an end to Goals 2000, federal Outcome-Based Education initiatives, and all federal meddling with home schooling.
The Christian Coalition has agreed to support our efforts to abolish the federal role in education. However, in its "Contract with the American Family," The Christian Coalition urges members of Congress to use federal taxpayer money to promote voucher initiatives. "You can't have it both ways," remarked CAP Director Doug Phillips. "Either you want the federal government to be in the education business, or you don't. I hope there will be a change in this policy so that the pro-family movement can send a united message to Congress: 'Shut it all down.'"
The Congressional Action Program will be poised to respond should an opportunity arise to promote a bill which actually restores the Constitutional limitations on Congress by eliminating the federal role in education.
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Retina Scans
Over the last three years certain members of Congress have pushed efforts to introduce a computer-driven universal registry and tracking system for all Americans. In 1993, CAP alerted home educators to a dangerous vaccine tracking and registry system. Thanks in large part to the work of home educators, a sufficient number of concerns about privacy and parental rights were raised to scuttle the most dangerous parts of the measure. In 1994, President Clinton's Health Security Act promised to impose upon every American citizen a "passport" card, complete with a universal identifier number, the capability of storing up to 35,000 pages worth of information on the individual, and the ominous assurance that the information collected and stored on the cards could be easily accessed and shared between government agencies, social workers, and police officers. Recognizing that the American people are not yet willing to embrace national socialized medicine, Congress rejected the Clinton plan, and with it the passport card.
But not content to let sleeping dogs lie, members of both parties have joined together once more to impose on the American people the most comprehensive attempt at Big Brother surveillance in American history. This time the registry/tracking system comes in the form of several highly popular immigration bills. Both Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Allen Simpson (R-WY) are asking Congress to ratify a proposal which would require every American to carry a special identification card which, in the words of Senator Feinstein would include "a magnetic strip on which the bearer's unique voice, retina pattern or fingerprint is digitally encoded." Every public or private employer in America would be required get approval from the federal government prior to hiring an employee. The theory is that requiring the feds to monitor every American will limit the influx of illegal immigration into the country. Senator Feinstein's bill is numbered S. 580, and Senator Simpson's bill is numbered S. 269.
According to Stuart Anderson of the Alexis de Toqueville Institution: "The federal government has never before held detailed information on all Americans in one place accessible to government officials and outside entities. The IRS, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, computer hackers, and even private organizations such as banks could potentially access a national computer database. Already proposals have been floated to use such a database to verify eligibility for federal benefits, track immunization, collect child support and assist law enforcement, while new farther reaching ideas will likely emerge once a computer system is in place."
HSLDA President Mike Farris has signed a letter to Congress opposing these bills, and has joined a coalition of diverse groups in standing against these dangerous invasions to family privacy.
Are You Part of a CAP Telephone Tree?
If not, it's time to call the National Center. We need every HSLDA member family to be part of the national defense of home school freedoms. Here's how it works: If you contact us at (540) 338-7600*, and mention that you want to be part of a CAP telephone tree, we will give your name and number to a District Coordinator in the area in which you live. If possible, please tell us the number of your congressional district when you call. Once your name is plugged into a telephone tree, you will be given instant action information should a federal threat arise to your home school freedoms. The phone trees are only activated for issues of specific concern to home educators. Over the course of a year you may receive 4 to 8 alerts, depending on the activity of Congress.