Homeschoolers Protected in Federal Bill
During one of its last actions before the August 2006 recess, Congress stood strongly behind homeschool freedom by including protective language in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (S. 250). With the help of congressional staffers on the House Education and Workforce Committee, Home School Legal Defense Association’s National Center for Home Education was able to ensure that provisions protecting home-educated students remained in the bill, which was signed into law by President Bush on August 12. This protective language will remain in place until 2012.
THE NATIONAL CENTER
HELPED DRAFT NUMEROUS
SAFEGUARDS FOR HOMESCHOOL
FAMILIES AND STUDENTS
The bill reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act approved by the 105th Congress in 1998. The National Center helped draft numerous safeguards for homeschool families and students and worked with Congress to include them in the 1998 act. That act contained the following protections for homeschoolers:
- Prohibitions on the development of a national database. HSLDA opposes the creation of any national database that would store personal data about families and students, on the basis that it would violate their privacy and open the door for further regulation.
- Prohibition of funding for School-to-Work, a federal educational program formed under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. This program would have created educational goals and job training for all students, effectively taking the power to determine a child’s career path out of the hands of the young person and his parents.
- Prohibition of any federal control over a private or religious school or a homeschool. HSLDA opposes any federal control or regulation of home education. The states alone have the constitutional authority to enact laws regarding home education.
- Prohibition against requiring students to pursue a specific educational field or vocational training, or requiring them to obtain a certificate of mastery. Parents and students, not government educators, should decide on a student’s educational and vocational training. Students should also not be required to obtain a certificate in a certain field of training.
With the exception of the prohibition of School-to-Work funding, Congress kept all of the protective language. Because the School-to-Work program was never reauthorized (due in large measure to HSLDA’s intervention), it no longer even exists.
The following important language remains part of the act, and it protects all individuals, including home-educated students:
- “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit the development of a national database of personally identifiable information on individuals receiving services under this chapter.”
- “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any Federal control over any aspect of a private, religious, or home school, regardless of whether a home school is treated as a private school or home school under State law. This section shall not be construed to bar students attending private, religious, or home schools from participation in programs or services under this chapter.”
- “No funds made available under this chapter shall be used—(1) to require any secondary school student to choose or pursue a specific career path or major; and (2) to mandate that any individual participate in a vocational and technical education program, including a vocational and technical education program that requires the attainment of a federally funded skill level, standard, or certificate of mastery.”
HSLDA’s National Center for Home Education remains committed to protecting homeschool freedoms against any encroachment by the federal government.