NATIONAL CENTER RESOURCE

a division of Home School Legal Defense Association
April 1, 2002

Legislative Goals for the 107th Congress
Education Issues

  1. PROTECT, DEFEND, AND EXPAND HOME SCHOOL FREEDOM THROUGH:

    1. Passaging of a universal home school exemption. This language would exempt home schoolers from ALL federal education acts, not only the ESEA. It was included in the House version of the ESEA in the last Congress.

    2. Eliminating discrimination against home schoolers in the IDEA. This language would change current law and regulation that limit the eligibility of home schoolers in some states to receive special needs education services for their children.

      Presently, only home schools which legally operate as private schools can receive special needs assistance through Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

      This language would also exempt home schoolers who do not wish to comply with IDEA's Child Find provisions which require local school districts to locate and evaluate "all" special needs students.

    3. Opposing efforts to implement a federal test.

      • Prohibiting the appropriation of funds to design and implement a federal test.

      • Exempting home schoolers from any universal testing requirements.

      • Amending the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to restrict its ability to become a defacto national test.

    4. Passage of education tax credits. The federal tax code should allow parents to receive a tax credit for their own education-related spending.

    5. Passage of education savings accounts. Congress should expand education savings accounts that allow parents to save funds tax-free for K-12 home school education.

    6. Higher Education. Congress should support a technical fix to the higher education act that would ensure that Universities maintain their institutional eligibility when accepting home schooled students.

  2. REDUCE THE SIZE, SCOPE, AND POWER OF THE FEDERAL ROLE IN EDUCATION THROUGH:

    1. Opposing increased funding for the federal department of education. The U.S. Constitution does not give any spending or policy authority to the federal government over education.

    2. Returning spending and policy authority to states and local education agencies

      Support passage of legislation like:

      • Dollars to the Classroom which combines programs, transforms them into a block grant and requires at least 95 percent of federal education funding to go directly to the classroom.

      • The Academic Achievement for All (Straight "A's") Act which blocks grants funds directly to the states in exchange for certain accountability standards set by the state.

    3. Amending the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). Return NAEP and NAGB to their original scope by:

      • Limiting the subject areas that can be tested.

      • Limiting the frequency of testing.

      • Allowing state & local educational agencies to opt not to participate in the regional NAEP.

      • Making participation in the state NAEP voluntary.

      • Requiring parental approval prior to testing any student.

      • Assuring that parents are members of NAGB.

      • Ending religious bias in test questions.

    4. Amending the Elementary Secondary Education Act. Support ESEA reforms that reduce the federal role in education including:

      • Returning spending decisions to the states in the form of block grants.

      • Exempting home schoolers from all education acts, not only the ESEA.

      • Exempting home schools from the Gun-Free School Zone mandates.

      • Prohibiting the field-testing, pilot testing, implementation, and development of a national test.

      • Eliminating the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and efforts to establish national teacher certification requirements.

      • Prohibiting national teacher certification by eliminating funds used to plan, develop, implement, or administer any mandatory national teacher test or mandatory method of certification or licensing.

      • Prohibiting the development of federal student performance standards by including language that says, "No state shall be required to have content standards or student performance standards approved or certified by the federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act."

      • Prohibiting the Department of Education or to any applicable program may be used by the Department to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in an elementary or secondary school.

    5. Repealing portions of Goals 2000 still in the law. Including $53 million appropriated for:

      Title I - National Education Goals
      Title II - The National Goals Panel
      Title IV - Parental Assistance
      Title V - The National Skills Standards Board
      Title VI - The International Education Exchange

    6. Opposing efforts to reauthorize the School-to-Work Program or eliminate safeguards in the Workforce Investment Act. Although STW was not reauthorized in the last Congress and received no funding, we oppose any efforts to create educational requirements that force students into studies that are based on workforce needs rather than academic excellence, and which promote any system that encourages employers to recognize skills mastery over academic excellence.

    7. Supporting legislation like the Teacher Empowerment Act. This legislation recognizes a states' authority alone in establishing teacher qualification standards. It would effectively eliminate several federal education programs, and allow states flexibility in allocating funds for these programs to teacher enhancement efforts.

    8. Support Legislation to Audit the Department of Education. This legislation would require the DEd to conduct a thorough audit of programs and spending. The Department has failed to account for millions in spending on the 700+ programs.