May 17, 2001

H.R. 1 Great For Home Schoolers, Mixed Bag For Public Schools

Today the House of Representatives began floor debate on H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act, which is re-authorization of the massive federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

"It is important to remember that, like many pieces of legislation, the bill contains a number of good things and bad things," said Mike Farris, HSLDA's general counsel. "Fortunately for us, among the good things is the greatest expansion of protections for home schoolers ever."

"While we do not believe that the federal government has any Constitutional role in education, we are encouraged that the education committee recognized the value of including important protections in the bill," added J. Michael Smith, HSLDA President.

Provisions specifically included in H.R. 1 that protect home schoolers are that it:

  • exempts home schools and private schools from any federal control in the ESEA or any other Act administered by the Department of Education.

  • exempts home schools and private schools from any testing mentioned in the ESEA.

  • explicitly prohibits federally sponsored national testing.

  • explicitly prohibits any mandatory national teacher test or certification.

  • explicitly prohibits federally controlled curricula.

  • eliminates references to Goals 2000, outcome-based education, and school-to-work.

  • gives states the flexibility to use another test of student achievement other than the NAEP to confirm their state assessments.

  • prohibits the creation of a national database of personally identifiable information.

"While we are pleased that these items are included," continued Farris, "we recognize that several of President Bush's key public school reform measures have been removed from the bill. These would include provisions that allow greater flexibility in local school spending, and greater options for students who wish to leave failing public schools."

"We are also very disappointed in the increased spending," said Farris.

"H.R. 1 deals with public schools," said Smith, "and we're pleased that private and home schools are protected from its impact."

 Other Resources

More information on H.R. 1