At the March 5, 1997, special Legislative Summit for home school leaders, the National Center presented our six home education goals for the 105th Congress. On March 6, home school leaders directly lobbied Congress on these issues. The goals follow:
We are working for:
1. Parental Rights Act
Although the U.S. Supreme Court clearly recognizes parents' rights as fundamental, and thus protected by a higher standard of review, this traditional view of parental rights has been eroded by many lower courts over the past 25 years. HSLDA and the National Center have been working with Congressmen Steve Largent (R-OK) and Charles Canady's (R-FL) offices to draft a parental rights act that will reaffirm parents' rights to make medical decisions for, to discipline, and to direct the education and religious training of their children.
Update, May 1, 1997: Due to political maneuvers in Congress, the PRRA in its present form is being sidetracked. However, the National Center is pursuing several alternatives for introducing language that would protect parents and children.
2. Tax Credits for Families
We have been working with Congressman Joe Pitts' (R-PA) office to draft legislation which would provide a tax credit for K—12 education expenses for all American families.
We also support the tax credit legislation in S.2, The American Family Tax Relief Act, which would give every American family a $500 tax credit per child. Congressman Mark Souder (R-IN) indicated this bill has a good chance for successful passage, but senators need to receive supportive calls and letters from their constituents.
3. Modification of Mandatory "TIN" Numbers for Dependents
Sec. 1615 (a) (1) of H.R. 3448 (passed during the 104th Congress) should be repealed because it mandates that parents provide a "Taxpayer Identification Number" (social security number) for their children in order to claim them as exemptions. We support an amendment to allow parents to submit certified copies of birth certificates or birth records in lieu of acquiring TIN numbers for their children. We have met with several congressmen who are interested in introducing a bill to amend this problem.
We are working against:
1. Goals 2000 and School-to-Work
Goals 2000 and School-to-Work are unnecessary federal intrusions into our communities. Both programs should be abolished. Education reform is a local issue which should not be hindered by an impersonal bureaucracy. Congressman William Goodling (R-PA) told us he supports cutting these programs' funds.
2. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) would devastate parental liberty and threaten our nation's sovereignty. A fundamental presumption of the treaty is that parental responsibility exists only insofar as parents are willing to accommodate the independent choices of the child. If the Senate ratifies this treaty, Article VI, Sec. 2 of our Constitution would make it the "supreme law of the land." We are working to encourage the reintroduction of a Senate Resolution opposing the CRC this year.
3. Daytime Curfews
Since home school students are not restricted to the confines of a classroom, they are often caught in the dragnet of daytime curfews. Two bills—S.3 and S.10—introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide federal funding for states to implement crime prevention programs such as curfews. Federal funds should not be used to encourage states to enact daytime curfews. Such curfews violate a minor's constitutional right to freedom of movement and equal protection.
After the National Center contacted key Senate offices and explained the dangers of curfews, the funding for daytime curfews was removed from these bills. We have also received a promise that curfew funding will not be included in a soon-to-be introduced House crime bill.