May 13, 2014

Call U.S. Senate to Stop Federal Pre-K, Home Visitation

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations


Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

It wasn’t enough for Washington, D.C. to take over our nation’s health care system and push the Common Core State Standards Initiative on the states. Now, the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee is preparing to vote on a bill that would provide billions in federal dollars to states for their prekindergarten programs.

HSLDA opposes S. 1697, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, because it continues the failed approach of using federal dollars to create universal preschool programs. As HSLDA’s research has shown, Head Start and other federal preschool programs, have not led to improved student outcomes. In addition, HSLDA is very concerned that these programs will lead to states lowering the age of compulsory school attendance, which would significantly impact homeschool families. Finally, HSLDA is concerned that long-term federal involvement in early education could impact homeschool freedom by requiring mandatory early education programs.

S. 1697 has several good points. It reiterates that no state’s early education programs can be mandatory. It also includes language that protects against federal control over early education curricula.

The danger of this bill, however, is too great. The billions in federal dollars create a situation where the federal role in early education will continue to grow, and future legislation may eliminate these good provisions. In addition, S. 1697 provides additional federal support for the controversial Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program which was created in the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Committee Action Wednesday Morning—Please Call Now

If any of your senators are on the Senate Education Committee (the “HELP” Committee), please call immediately and urge him or her to oppose S. 1697. The HELP Committee never held a hearing on this bill. It is being rushed through the committee.

You can reach your senator by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. You can also type your address in using HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox to find the names of your senators and their contact info.

Your message can be as simple as the following:

I am very concerned that the Senate HELP Committee appears to be rushing S. 1697. This bill has not been properly vetted in a public hearing. In addition, this bill provides billions in taxpayer dollars to state early education programs, when past federally funded preschool programs like Head Start have had many flaws. Please oppose more federal involvement in education and oppose S. 1697.

The following senators are on the Senate HELP Committee:

Democrats by Rank

Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Patty Murray (WA)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Kay R. Hagan (NC)
Al Franken (MN)
Michael F. Bennet (CO)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Christopher S. Murphy (CT)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)

Republicans by Rank

Lamar Alexander (TN)
Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Rand Paul (KY)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Tim Scott (SC)

For More Information

HSLDA has fought federal involvement in early education for many years. We have published many articles on the harm caused to children by government early education programs. A list can be found in our article here. A more in-depth look at the flaws in early education can be found on our site here.

S. 1697 bill text >>

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