|a division of Home School Legal Defense Association||January 6, 2000|
1999 Achievements in Congress
Below is the status of federal issues for which HSLDA/NCHE staff and members lobbied during the first session of the 106th Congress.
|1.||Oppose Reauthorization of Goals 2000||
1. WON Promise from House Education Chairman, Bill Goodling, NOT to seek reauthorization.
2. WON Repeal of Key Portions of GOALS 2000. During final FY2000 budget negotiations with the White House,HSLDA played a key role in working toward the final agreement that resulted in the repeal of Titles III and IV of GOALS 2000, effective September 30, 2000. This essentially kills the primary parts of the program that receives federal funding.
3. WON House passage of H.R. 1995, the Teacher Empowerment Act which combines funds from the Eisenhower Professional Development Program, Goals 2000, and the President's class size reduction program to provide funds giving schools more flexibility to increase teacher quality and to hire quality teachers to reduce class size. (Passed House, Senate action pending.)
|2.||Home School Resolution||WON Passage of Resolution Acknowledging Home School Success. This historic recognition of the achievements of home schoolers and acknowledgement says parents have the fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.|
|3.||Support Equal Access in DOD Schools||WON Passage Equal Access for Home Schoolers in DOD Schools.
HSLDA was able to convince legislators to include language in the Defense Authorization bill that allows home schoolers in military bases in foreign countries to have access to DOD schools, facilities, and equipment. This clearly directs the military to establish a nondiscriminatory policy for home schoolers.
|4.||Support Changes to Ability to Benefit Home School Friendly Higher Education Regulations||WON Home School Friendly Higher Education Regulations.
In 1998,HSLDA's National Center drafted language for the Higher Education Act which allows home schoolers to be eligible for federal college scholarships and loans as long as they have obtained a home school high school diploma. No GED or Ability to Benefit test is required. The change was adopted by Congress in October 1998.
This year,HSLDA worked with the congressional staff preparing regulations to implement the change. The most significant development was recognition of the right of home schoolers to "self-certify" their home school diploma.
|5.||Support the Straight As Bill||(H.R. 2300/ S. 1266)
||WON House Passage of H.R. 2300, The Academic Achievement for All (Straight As) Act allows up to 10 States maximum flexibility in how they use federal K-12 funds, in exchange for states being held strictly accountable for improving academic achievement. State participation would be optional. (Passed House, Senate action pending.)|
|6.||Support the Teacher Empowerment Act (H.R. 1995)||WON House passage of H.R. 1995 the Teacher Empowerment Act (Passed House 239-185, Senate action pending.)
WON inclusion of SEC. 2403. HOME SCHOOLS, which states, Nothing in this title shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any Federal control over any aspect of any private, religious, or home school, whether or not a home school is treated as a private school or home school under State law. This section shall not be construed to bar private, religious, or home schools from participation in programs or services under this title.
|7.||Support the Education Flexibility Partnership Act (H.R. 800)||WON passage of H.R. 800. (Passed House and Senate, signed by President.)|
|8.||Support Dollars to the Classroom Act and Resolution||WON passage of H. Res. 303 the Dollars to the Classroom Resolution Action pending on other bills.|
|9.||Support Education Savings Accounts||WON inclusion in the Taxpayer Relief Act passed by the House and Senate. President Clinton vetoed the bill.|
|10.||Oppose Reauthorization of School-to-Work Opportunities Act <||The School-to-Work Opportunities Act is scheduled to sunset this Congress.
WON promise from the Education Committee staff that they will let it die.
|11.||Eliminate the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards||The Teacher Empowerment Act (see below, H.R. 1995) effectively defunds all funding for the Board. Action pending in the Senate.|
|12.||Expand Application of IDEA Funding
Eliminate Discrimination Against Home Schoolers in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
|House Ed Committee is looking for a bill on which to attach language.|
|13.||Oppose Reauthorization of NAEP and NAGB||NAEP and NAGB are scheduled to be reauthorized in this Congress.|
|14.||Oppose the Expansion of the Federal Role in Education through the Reauthorization of the ESEA||Education staff has included HSLDAs home school protections in the drafts of the bill.
House will likely take action this year. Doubtful that the Senate will take action.
|RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ISSUES|
|15.||Oppose the Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA) H.R.1691||LOST House vote 306-118.
Pro-RLPA coalition has split. Appears to be losing support in the Senate among liberals. Senate action expected in the Spring.
|16.||Support the Children Tax ID Alternative Act H.R. 2494||Introduced with 21 cosponsors.
Working to build support.
|TAX and SPENDING ISSUES|
|17.||Support Education Tax Credits||Several bills have been introduced to establish education tax credits to allow families to count their education expenses toward their tax liability.
|18.||Eliminate the Tax Penalty on Marriage||WON House/Senate Reduction of the Marriage Tax Penalty.
Working with other pro-family groups,HSLDA successfully lobbied against the penalty against married couples in the federal tax code. The House and Senate passed tax relief measure included $150 billion in meaningful marriage-penalty relief. Although the president vetoed the bill, marriage penalty relief, the most popular item in the tax bill, will remain a top issue priority.
|19.||Oppose taxation of the internet||A number of bills have been introduced on this matter.|
|FAMILY FREEDOM ISSUES|
|20.||Oppose efforts to track citizens through DOT drivers license regulations||WON. An amendment to repeal a part of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibilities Act was included in the FY2000 Department of Transportation Appropriations bill HR 2084.HSLDA worked with a coalition of groups in 1998 to successfully obtain a one year moratorium and this year joined with the same coalition to achieve the repeal.
The amendment in HR 2084 specifically repeals the section of the 1996 which would have prohibited any American to be able to get a job, open a bank account, purchase a firearm or even take an airplane flight unless their state's drivers' license contains a social security number.
|21.||Oppose the UN Convention on the Child and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women||WONpromise from Senator Lott that these conventions will not be voted on while he is Majority Leader.|
|22.||Oppose proposed FDIC Know Your Customer Regulations||WON. The FDIC and three other banking regulatory agencies withdrew the onerous Know Your Customer rules on March 24, 1999 after record number of calls and e-mails.|
|23.||Oppose Citizen Tracking Proposals Through Government Regulations||These issues have not come to the attention of Congress yet this year.|
|24.||Support Second Amendment Freedoms in Home Schools||Part of ESEA reauthorization work.|
|25.||Oppose Executive Orders that impact on the family||
EO 13083 on Federalism
|WON. In the 105th Congress,HSLDA opposed Executive Order 13083 on Federalism. The White House document was designed to strip the Constitutional power of the states. The EO was issued on May 14, 1998, and after much opposition, was suspended by the White House on August 5, 1998. On August 5, 1999, the White House reissued an EO on Federalism (13132) that was less controversial.
ISSUED NCHE Special Report on EO 13107. On January 19, 1999, the National Center reported on our analysis of this EO because of fears that it was an end-run attempt to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on Women. We concluded that, while this EO accelerates the implementation of various objectionable human rights treaties already ratified by the Senate, it does not apply to any treaty unless it has been ratified by the Senate.