Bill Making Public Education a Right Dies Quietly
As the 110th Congress is sworn in, homeschoolers will be watching for legislation that attempts to take educational choices out of the hands of parents. One such bill introduced in the 109th Congress was House Joint Resolution 29—a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to make public education a “right.”
H.J.R. 29, introduced in 2005 by Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (Illinois), contained language eerily similar to language in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. If ratified in the United States, this treaty would undermine families by granting children a list of “rights” such as “the right to privacy,” “the right to freedom of thought and association,” and “the right to freedom of expression.” Such “rights” subvert parental authority. Similarly, by giving every child a “right” to a public school education, H.J.R. 29 would have allowed the government to override parental authority in educational decisions. Parents who decided to homeschool or send their child to private school could have been accused of interfering with their child’s “right” to attend public school.
H.J.R 29 WOULD HAVE
ALLOWED THE GOVERNMENT
TO OVERRIDE PARENTAL
AUTHORITY IN EDUCATIONAL DECISIONS
The proposed constitutional amendment also said that “Congress shall have power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.” This would have allowed Congress to completely control education, effectively overriding the U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, which reserves non-delegated powers to the states.
Thankfully, H.J.R. 29 languished in the House Judiciary Committee and died at the end of the 109th Congress without action. However, this proposed amendment, or similar legislation, could be reintroduced at any time.
Home School Legal Defense Association encourages families to be vigilant during the 2007 legislative season. HSLDA is carefully monitoring Congress’ actions to ensure that the God-given right of parents to decide what is best for their child’s education is not undermined by our nation's laws.
For more information, go to www.hslda.org/2006-HJR29.
|About the author
Will Estrada is the director of federal policy and research at HSLDA’s National Center for Home Education.