The Home School Court Report
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MAY / JUNE 1993
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H. R. 6

Cover Stories
RFRA Passes U.S. House: Senate Action Still Pending

DeJonges Celebrate Victory at Michigan Supreme Court


Congressional Action Program

President’s Corner

Across the States

Congressional Action Program

Democrats and Republicans Push for Separate Plans to Register and Track Children: Clinton Proposal Moving Quickly Through Congress

Under the guise of promoting healthy children, the Clinton Administration is pushing for a measure which would require all Americans to be registered with the government at birth so that participation in the universal vaccination program can be tracked.

The tracking system will flag individuals who have not received all of the recommended doses of vaccines and pave the way for officials to charge those parents who have not “fully” vaccinated their children as child abuse offenders.

On Wednesday, April 21, a joint committee hearing was held by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to hear testimony from Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and various other proponents of the vaccination plan. Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts by pro-family and vaccine safety groups to persuade them, the leaders in the committees refused to allow alternative testimony on the issues of vaccine safety, privacy or parental rights. In fact, none of these subjects were even discussed during the hearing.

Subsequent to the joint committee hearing, several Republican senators introduced two resolutions, S.886 and S.887, which are similar to the Democratic proposal for universal immunization. However, instead of creating one centralized computer databank for the registering and tracking of children, the Republican proposal would empower Donna Shalala, as Secretary of Health and Human Services, to oversee and direct the creation of fifty separate registries; one for each state. The only substantive difference between the Republican and the Democratic proposal is that the former does not include the universal purchase of vaccines by the federal government.

North Dakota: Revised Home School Statute Enacted

On April 12, 1993, Governor Edward T. Schafer signed into law Senate Bill 2216 replacing the previously-enacted home school statute in North Dakota which was due to expire on June 30, 1993. Enactment of this legislation was the culmination of lobbying efforts by representatives of the Department of Public Instruction which proposed this Bill in its original form and Reverend Clinton Birst, representing the North Dakota Home School Association.

While home schoolers in North Dakota are not entirely pleased with the law as enacted, they are thankful to have a law which expressly recognizes the right of parents to teach their children at home, especially in view of the fast-approaching expiration date of the old law. The new law retains most of the provisions of the old law, with certain revisions. The most significant revisions are as follows:

  • Home schools which operated as private schools must now comply with the new home-based instruction statute.
  • If the parent is not certified to teach in North Dakota and has not met or exceeded the cut-off score of the National Teacher Exam, he or she may be monitored by any certified teacher. (Not just one employed by the school district in which the parent resides or a state-approved private or parochial school.)
  • The statement of intent filed with the local superintendent each year must now include proof of an immunization record and proof of identity of each child being educated at home.
  • Annual standardized achievement testing does not begin until grade three and may be administered in either the child’s learning environment or the public school. The test may be given by any certified teacher.

Tennessee: Floyd Case Appealed to Federal Appeals Court

Home School Legal Defense Association is appealing to the federal appeals court the recent dismissal of the lawsuit challenging the Tennessee requirement that parents who are home schooling high school age children possess a B.A. degree.

A federal judge in Tennessee earlier this year dismissed HSLDA’s lawsuit on technical grounds, that the issue had already been decided against home schoolers in the earlier state court case, Crites v. Smith. The appeal will be heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit located in Cincinnati.