J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Capitol Hill Testimony a Success!
Federal Relations Staff
June 24, 2008
On June 11, 2008, Will Estrada, HSLDA’s Director of Federal Relations, testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor in opposition to portions of H.R. 2343, the Education Begins at Home Act.
In his testimony, Will Estrada focused on Section 9 of the legislation, which would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that every hospital, military hospital, and birthing center request that parents participate in a government approved parenting class. Although it is not clear who would develop the classes, the bill suggests that “experts” in child rearing and development would compose the educational content, which, consequently, could include highly politicized content and politically correct parenting philosophies.
Furthermore, parents choosing not to participate in the classes would be asked to sign a document stating their decision. As many homeschool families have unfortunately learned from experience, such records are often a proverbial legal powder keg, as opting out of enrollment in a government program can potentially be used against parents as an indication of child neglect in the future.
Following Will Estrada’s testimony, HSLDA was able to work with Committee Chair Congressman George Miller (CA) to amend H.R. 2343 so that parents would not be forced to sign a document indicating their decision to take or decline the government-approved parenting classes. The amendment is a substantial improvement to the legislation for the protection of parental rights and homeschool freedom.
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For updates on H.R. 2343, please visit HSLDA’s online Federal Legislation section.