March 16, 2001

HSLDA Asks Cheney about National Testing

WASHINGTON, DC - Yesterday, Home School Legal Defense Association President J. Michael Smith attended a meeting with 30 others in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education initiative.

Smith told Cheney that many people are nervous that the Bush plan will lead to a national test. "During the campaign, the president said that he trusts the states," said Smith. "Why don't you trust the states when it comes to testing?"

In the back and forth exchange with the vice president, Smith reiterated that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the most likely exam to evolve into a national test. "We don't think you should rely on the NAEP. It is a flawed test."

Vice President Cheney listened closely to Smith's concerns and seemed open to HSLDA's recommendations. Smith handed out a list of proposed amendments that would improve home school protections, expand home school freedoms, and adjust testing provisions in the president's plan.

Also attending the meeting were Congressmen Bob Schaffer (R-CO) and Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), staff members from House and Senate leadership offices, Doug Domenech-Executive Director of HSLDA's National Center for Home Education, and representatives from other education and pro-family organizations.

"We think the Bush plan is excellent," Domenech said. "He truly is trying to change the federal system from one of failed policy prescriptions to one being just a funding stream dedicated to reform. We just think there are several changes that are needed to strengthen the plan."

"While HSLDA does not find a basis in the Constitution for any federal role in education, we think the Bush plan---with our changes---is a step in the right direction," he added.

This meeting gave HSLDA a unique opportunity to bring to the attention of the nations' leaders the issues that affect home schooling freedom. They know HSLDA is respectful yet resolved to represent the interests of its members.

After the meeting, Smith noted that Cheney is under a great deal of pressure and added, "We should all pray for the vice president."