NEWS

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.

ISSUE LEGISLATIVE POLICY POSITION/GOAL STATUS
EDUCATION ISSUES
1. Oppose Reauthorization of Goals 2000

  • Support H.R. 1995, which allows Goals 2000 funding to be spent for teacher training thus eliminating policy prescriptions.

  • Oppose funding for programs included in Goals 2000.

  • Oppose any effort to reauthorize the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
  • 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
  • Support Senate Resolution 183, offered by Sen. Ashcroft, to designate September 19 - 25, 1999, as National Home Education Week.
  • 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

  • Support legislation or report language that allows home schoolers in military bases in foreign countries to have access to DOD schools, facilities, and equipment.
  • 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

  • Made certain new Dept. of Education regulations reflected changes in the Higher Education Act of 1998, allowing for home schooled graduates to receive federal financial aid for college.
  • 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 A’s Bill (H.R. 2300/ S. 1266)

  • H.R. 2300, The Academic Achievement for All (Straight “A”s) Act blocks grants up to $10 billion directly to the states without strings of the many failed education programs.

  • Much of the funding for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is included.
  • WON House Passage of H.R. 2300, The Academic Achievement for All (Straight “A”s) 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)

  • This bill recognizes the states’ authority alone in establishing teacher qualification standards.

  • 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.

  • Effectively eliminates several federal education programs, including Goals 2000, by allowing states flexibility in allocating funds for these programs to teacher enhancement efforts.

  • This bill reauthorizes Title II of the massive ESEA federal education Act.
  • 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)

  • H.R. 800, the Education Flexibility Partnership Act allows States and school districts to bypass the requirements of federal education programs so as to provide greater flexibility with accountability in trying innovative education reforms.
  • WON passage of H.R. 800. (Passed House and Senate, signed by President.)
    8. Support Dollars to the Classroom Act and Resolution

  • Support legislation that calls for at least 95 percent of federal education funding to go directly to the classroom.

  • House version H.R. 1491 sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts. Senate versions sponsored by Sen. Coverdell (S.277), and Sen. Hutchinson (S.396).
  • WON passage of H. Res. 303 the Dollars to the Classroom Resolution Action pending on other bills.
    9. Support Education Savings Accounts
  • Support establishment of education savings accounts that allow parents to save funds tax-free for K-12 home school education.
  • 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 <
  • Oppose reauthorization and funding of the 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 Board has been the catalyst for creating a national teaching certificate
  • 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

  • Support efforts to change current law and regulation that limits the eligibility of home schoolers for special needs education services (presently, only home schoolers which operate as private schools can receive special needs assistance through IDEA)
  • House Ed Committee is looking for a bill on which to attach language.
    13. Oppose Reauthorization of NAEP and NAGB

  • NAEP is fast becoming a national test.

  • Support efforts to change current law working to eliminate, restrict, or downsize or eliminate 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

  • Monitor and promote the downsizing of the federal role during the reauthorization on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

  • Assume that home school protections are once again included in the Act.
  • Education staff has included HSLDA’s 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
  • Oppose the RLPA on the grounds that it violates the original intent of the framers regarding the use of the Interstate Commerce clause.
  • 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

  • Rep. Hostettler (R-IN) and Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA) introduced HSLDA’s language.

  • H.R. 2494 will allow families with religious objections to obtaining social security numbers for their children to submit alternative proof of identification of their children in order to claim their dependent tax deduction and child tax credits.
  • Introduced with 21 cosponsors.

    Working to build support.

    TAX and SPENDING ISSUES
    17. Support Education Tax Credits
  • Support tax credits for education expenses in public, private, and home schools.
  • These bills would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow a credit against income tax for expenses of attending elementary and secondary schools and for contributions to charitable organizations which provide scholarships for children to attend such schools. Home schools would be eligible
  • Several bills have been introduced to establish education tax credits to allow families to count their education expenses toward their tax liability.

  • S. 138/ H.R. 1710, the K-12 Education Excellence Now Act

  • H. R. 1710 the Children's Education Tax Credit Act

  • H. R. 600 Education Tax Credit Act of 1999
  • 18. Eliminate the Tax Penalty on Marriage

  • Support efforts to eliminate the marriage tax penalty
  • 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

  • The power to tax is the power to control.HSLDA supports efforts to keep the federal government from taxing 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

  • Last year,HSLDA won a one-year moratorium on National ID Card DOT 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

  • Oppose any effort that might result in the ratification of these UN Conventions.
  • 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

  • HSLDA opposed Government tracking systems as an invasion of privacy. The FDIC and three other banking regulatory agencies proposed regulations on banks that would have required them to report on the banking habits of private citizens.
  • 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

  • Oppose HHS immunization tracking regulations

  • Support H.R. 220, the Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
  • These issues have not come to the attention of Congress yet this year.
    24. Support Second Amendment Freedoms in Home Schools

  • Amend Part F of Title XIV, Section 14602(b) to codify letter to HSLDA which says that the Gun Free School Zones provisions do not apply to home schools.
  • Part of ESEA reauthorization work.
    25. Oppose Executive Orders that impact on the family

  • Monitor White House efforts to legislate through the President’s Executive Order power.

    Specifically:

    EO 13083 on Federalism
    EO 13107 on Implementation of Human Rights Treaties

  • 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.