7/26/01 6:14:30 PM
Caleb Kershner, Acting Director of the National Center for Home Education
Calls Needed--Prohibit State Assessments Of Home Schoolers

From the HSLDA@Capitol Hill E-lert Service...

July 26, 2001

Calls Needed--Prohibit State Assessments Of Home Schoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

We have an incredible opportunity to end federal control over home
schoolers. We also have one last chance to prevent the federal
National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) survey from being
converted into a national test for all students.

After three years of drafting and lobbying for amendments to the
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (H.R. 1
and S. 1), Home School Legal Defense Association has successfully
attached several key amendments to protect home schooling (see
below). However, two critical issues remain unresolved:

1) Dangerous provision: The federal NAEP survey could become the new
national test. (The Senate version of this act, S. 1, requires all
states to use the NAEP assessment to test its students).

2) Pro-home school freedom provision: Federal law could prohibit
states that receive federal funds under this act from requiring home
schools to take the state assessment test. We have succeeded in
adding this language to the House version, H.R. 1, but not the Senate

These issues will soon be resolved in conference committee. Your
calls WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE in the resolution.

Please call your U.S. senator or representative if they are included
in the education conference committee list below. If your legislators
are not listed, call U.S. Senator James Jeffords, former chair of the
Senate Education Committee. Ask him to protect parental rights and
home school freedoms by voting to include the following two
provisions in the final education bill:

1) Keep the language in H.R. 1 that prohibits the testing of home
school students. (This includes all state assessments and all tests
referred to in this act.)

2) Keep the language in H.R. 1 that allows states to use "some other
test" in lieu of the National Assessment Education Progress as their
verification test. This will prevent the NAEP survey from becoming a
nationally required test.

Conference members:
U.S. Senators:
Ted Kennedy (D-MA) 202-224-4543
Chris Dodd (D-CT) 202-224-2823
Tom Harkin (D-IA) 202-224-3254
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 202-224-4654
Jim Jeffords (I-VT) 202-224-5141
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) 202-224-5521
Paul Wellstone (MN) 202-224-5641
Patty Murray (WA) 202-224-2621
Jack Reed (RI) 202-224-4642
John Edwards (NC) 202-224-3154
Hillary Clinton (NY) 202-224-4451
Joseph Lieberman (CT) 202-224-4041
Evan Bayh (IN) 202-224-5623
Judd Gregg (NH) 202-224-3324
Bill Frist (TN) 202-224-3344
Michael Enzi (WY) 202-224-3424
Tim Hutchinson (AR) 202-224-2353
John Warner (VA) 202-224-2023
Christopher "Kit" Bond (MO) 202-224-5721
Pat Roberts (KS) 202-224-4774
Susan Collins (ME) 202-224-2523
Jeff Sessions (AL) 202-224-4124
Michael DeWine (OH) 202-224-2315
Wayne Allard (CO) 202-224-5941
John Ensign (NV) 202-224-6244

U.S. House members:
John Boehner (OH) 202-225-6205
Thomas Petri (WI) 202-225-2476
Marge Roukema (NJ) 202-225-4465
Howard "Buck" McKeon (CA) 202-225-1956
Michael Castle (DE) 202-225-4165
Van Hilleary (TN) 202-225-6831
Lindsey Graham (SC) 202-225-5301
Johnny Isakson (GA) 202-225-4501
George Miller (CA) 202-225-2095
Dale Kildee (MI) 202-225-3611
Major Owens (NY) 202-225-6231
Patsy Mink (HI) 202-225-4906
Rob Andrews (NJ) 202-225-6501
Tim Roemer (IN) 202-225-3915


It will be several years before we have another opportunity to
improve education policy at the federal level. Both chambers of
Congress have passed their own versions of this year's
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The
Better Education for Students and Teachers Act, (S. 1) and The No
Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (H.R. 1) must now be reconciled by a
conference committee, consisting of congressional members from both
chambers. After reconciliation, both legislative houses must then
vote to approve the bill before it is sent to the president.

Both H.R. 1 and S. 1 contain many good privacy, education, and home
school protections worked on by HSLDA. Because these protections are
included in both bills, they are likely to be included in the final
version as well. These protections include:

- Prohibition of an individual national database
- Prohibition of a national curriculum
- Prohibition of a national test
- Prohibition of a national teacher certification
- Complete repeal of Goals 2000
- Comprehensive protection of home schoolers from federal control:
"Nothing in this Act or any other Act administered by the Secretary
shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any
Federal control over any aspect of any private, religious, or home
school, whether or not a home school is treated as a private school
or home school under State law."

However, S. 1 does not include two important protections that are
part of H.R. 1. If these two provisions are not included in the final
version, dangerous precedent could be established that would
negatively affect the education freedoms we enjoy today.

First, H.R. 1 protects home schoolers from the mandatory use of "any
test referenced in this act." This language extensively shields home
schoolers from being forced to take state tests. Already this year,
five states attempted to implement mandatory state assessments for
home schoolers. S. 1 does not provide this protection. If states are
receiving federal funds to develop tests, we believe Congress has the
right to restrict who takes these tests. Therefore, we are asking the
conference committee to include H.R. 1's protective language in the
reconciled bill.

Second, S. 1 requires that all states test a sampling of their public
school students using the NAEP. However, H.R. 1 allows states to
choose an alternative test to the NAEP such as the Stanford Nine or
Iowa Test of Basic Skills. For five years HSLDA has been fighting to
reduce the use of NAEP as it could easily develop into a nationally
standardized test. Therefore, we believe that the requirement in S. 1
is dangerous because it will eventually give states no alternative
but to adopt NAEP as a national test.

Your calls over the next two weeks are critical to the success or
failure of these changes. If conference members receive several dozen
phone calls each day until the end of next week, they will be
significantly influenced to vote for home schoolers' rights when they
come back from recess in August.

Caleb Kershner
Acting Director,
National Center for Home Education

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
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