Friday, September 30, 2005
Section 10. Recruitment and Enlistment of Home-schooled students in the Armed Forces
Main points are:
-- creation of homeschoolers as the only educational group outside of the Tier system, specified in public law concerning military enlistment
-- identification of qualified recruits are already spelled out without pinpointing homeschoolers
-- contradictory requirements concerning third-party verifiers of "homeschooling status"
-- homeschool grad must score at the 50th %ile, which is the current standard for holders of a GED certificate
-- proposed legislation states that homeschool curriculum will be patterned after "traditional secondary school," but the current law, which wouldn't be amended, requires 12-years of traditional graded schooling
-- the third-party verification letter of a graduate's "home-school status" is not an optional choice, but would be required
Status of S 1691
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.
COSPONSORS(4), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)
Sen Coburn, Tom [OK] - 9/29/2005
Sen DeMint, Jim [SC] - 9/21/2005
Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK] - 9/15/2005
Sen Sessions, Jeff [AL] - 9/13/2005
Current status of HR 3753
Referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, and Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
Referred to House Education and the Workforce
Referred to House Ways and Means
Referred to House Armed Services
Referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
COSPONSORS(63), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)
Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] - 9/13/2005 Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] - 9/13/2005
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] - 9/13/2005 Rep Beauprez, Bob [CO-7] - 9/22/2005
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 9/14/2005 Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] - 9/13/2005
Rep Boehner, John A. [OH-8] - 9/13/2005 Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] - 9/13/2005
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] - 9/13/2005 Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] - 9/13/2005
Rep Chocola, Chris [IN-2] - 9/13/2005 Rep Davis, Jo Ann [VA-1] - 9/13/2005
Rep Doolittle, John T. [CA-4] - 9/13/2005 Rep Feeney, Tom [FL-24] - 9/13/2005
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 9/13/2005 Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] - 9/13/2005
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] - 9/13/2005 Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] - 9/22/2005
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] - 9/13/2005 Rep Goode, Virgil H., Jr. [VA-5] -
Rep Green, Mark [WI-8] - 9/13/2005 Rep Hayes, Robin [NC-8] - 9/13/2005
Rep Hayworth, J. D. [AZ-5] - 9/13/2005 Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] - 9/14/2005
Rep Hoekstra, Peter [MI-2] - 9/13/2005 Rep Hostettler, John N. [IN-8] -
Rep Hyde, Henry J. [IL-6] - 9/13/2005 Rep Inglis, Bob [SC-4] - 9/13/2005
Rep Istook, Ernest J., Jr. [OK-5]-9/13/2005 Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] - 9/13/2005
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3]-9/13/2005 Rep Kennedy, Mark R. [MN-6] - 9/13/2005
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] - 9/13/2005 Rep Kline, John [MN-2] - 9/14/2005
Rep LaHood, Ray [IL-18] - 9/13/2005 Rep Lewis, Ron [KY-2] - 9/14/2005
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] - 9/22/2005 Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] -
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11]-9/13/2005 Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] - 9/13/2005
Rep Myrick, Sue [NC-9] - 9/13/2005 Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] -
Rep Ney, Robert W. [OH-18] - 9/22/2005 Rep Norwood, Charlie [GA-9] - 9/13/2005
Rep Nussle, Jim [IA-1] - 9/13/2005 Rep Otter, C. L. (Butch) [ID-1] -
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 9/13/2005 Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] - 9/13/2005
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 9/13/2005 Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] -
Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1] - 9/13/2005 Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] - 9/13/2005
Rep Ryun, Jim [KS-2] - 9/13/2005 Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] - 9/13/2005
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] - 9/13/2005 Rep Souder, Mark E. [IN-3] - 9/13/2005
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] - 9/13/2005 Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] -
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] - 9/13/2005 Rep Tiahrt, Todd [KS-4] - 9/13/2005
Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3] - 9/14/2005 Rep Wamp, Zach [TN-3] - 9/13/2005
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] - 9/13/2005
House Education and the Workforce Referral, In Committee
House Ways and Means Referral, In Committee
House Armed Services Referral, In Committee
Subcommittee on Military Personnel Referral
Call him up
-- Call Senator Inhofe's Office Monday :
"Here are Inhofe's phone numbers (from his website here. It's probably best if you're out-of-Oklahoma to call the D.C. office, but I left all the numbers here anyway. "
Click on over. We won't mind.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
HR 3753/ S 1691-Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act 2005
September 29, 2005
Thank you for contacting me about S.1691, the
Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act (HoNDA). As your voice in
Washington, I appreciate being made aware of your ideas and
My views on education in America come from a somewhat
unique perspective in that my wife, Kay, was a teacher at Edison
High School for many years, and now both of my daughters are
teachers. I can assure you that I am one of the strongest supporters
of education and homeschooling. Like you, I feel that the family
has the primary responsibility for and interest in the child.
There are currently more than two million students that are
homeschooled in the United States. While these students have
proven to excel in both academics and extracurricular activities,
existing legislation has tended to overlook this growing population.
The Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act (A.K.A.,
HoNDA and S. 1691), which I have co-sponsored, serves to
remedy this oversight and encourage the government at all levels
to recognize the homeschooling movement as a viable force in
education. S. 1691 acknowledges the right of parents to direct the
education of their children under the Constitution, which also
prohibits federal control of homeschooling. I believe that the role
of the federal government should be limited in order to create an
environment in which all Americans have the opportunity to better
themselves and achieve success. HoNDA encourages these
opportunities through greater eligibility for financial aid for higher
education and policy to ensure the treatment of homeschool
graduates as Tier I recruits into the U.S. Military.
The National Center for Home Education supports HoNDA
because it would end discrimination by allowing home educators
to take advantage of Education Savings Accounts and granting
protection under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
for all homeschool students' records. Additionally, HoNDA would
permit homeschool students to work during traditional school
hours to maintain flexibility and protect students from forced
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
Again, thank you for contacting me. Your input helps me
to serve Oklahomans better. Please do not hesitate to contact in
the future with any comments or concerns.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
"Home School" Language Is Not Wanted
The point has been made in various homeschooling organizations and states that such language will negatively change the status of homeschoolers where they educate their children under a private school exemption without "home school" mention. Under the private school exemption, homeschoolers may also receive the protections of the large and more legislatively powerful cover of the brick and mortar private schools.
A few years ago in Illinois, HSLDA attempted the same "clarification" or infringements when they tried to insert "home school" language into Illinois legislation. They attempted to codify Illinois 'homeschooling' status. The very idea was unanimously and resoundingly beaten down by Illinois homeschoolers.
One has to ask for whose or what organization's advantage was this attempted? Not Illinois homeschoolers, as was apparent in the phone calls and messages given to the sponsor of the bill despite his good (but misguided) intentions. The consequences of such language was explained further by an Illinois homeschooling activist here.
But yet, the same problem that was foreseen by Carol Severson of the Eagle Forum in deals struck by HSLDA for their members in Illinois during a crisis have been ignored by HSLDA. Instead they have expanded on their narrow objectives by the introduction of this federal Home School NonDiscrimination Act.
"While this may be a good arrangement for the families directly involved in this problem, what will happen to the other families throughout the state who aren't members of HSLDA?" Severson asked today.As was stated, homeschoolers need to watch out for homeschoolers. We are a tiny minority as is, but protections shouldn't be provided for an even smaller homeschooling minority with no regard for the others.
The same type of situation occurred in Michigan as related by a Michigan homeschooling dad who also happens to be a lawyer
Under the influence of a misguided state senator [he admitted this when faced with the problems created by the Revised School Code] who was a new home schooler, the Senate inserted a provision defining home-schooling in terms of a separate exemption to the compulsory attendance law, the infamous subsection (3)(f). This so-called exemption was made even more onerous in the Michigan House under the guidance of a home-schooling representative who was closely allied with HSLDA. The exemption was expanded in the House to include standards that would have permitted local school district officials to closely regulate home schooling families."
If this bill (HR3753/S 1691) is split into separate bills, this "home school" language will follow each section. Every single word laid out across 4 different congressional committees right now will affect us if this is passed.
Harvey Bluedorn stated the obvious very well in 2003 and it still has meaning regarding this attempt at federal legislation of homeschooling in his piece On Trying To Fix What Ain't Broke.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Coverdell portion not worth the time
-- Only the income is tax free. So, unless you’re financially well off (in which case home education expenses are of relatively little concern), funding a Coverdell and then taking the money out a year or two later won’t generate enough interest or capital gains to be worth the trouble. An example– The annual limit for a contribution is $2,000. Let’s say you contributed the maximum for six years and then started making withdrawals so that the money would be exhausted after twelve years of homeschooling (It wouldn’t make any sense to make a withdrawal and a contribution in the same year.) Further, let’s assume you earn a nice safe 3 percent on your money. At the end of the 18th year, you’ll have earned $3,595.92 in interest, or an average of $299.66 per year of homeschooling. At the 30 percent tax bracket, you’ll save an average of $89.90 in federal taxes. Contribute only $1,000 per year and your tax savings drop to $28.95. Yeehah!
More at the link.
The Military-HSLDA Complex and Our Freedoms
After the survey was commissioned, Home Education Magazine published information about it:
-- Also, regulations adopted by the military would set a precedent. They might then be adopted by other parts of the federal government (such as offices that handle financial aid for higher education) and be used as models by state governments.
-- One set of risks comes from the fact that amendments that increase regulation of homeschooling can be added during the legislative process. But even if a bill gets through the legislature without harmful amendments, regulation can easily be increased as the law is being implemented, as is the case with this law.
-- The researcher answered questions from the floor. The researcher also explained that Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute was a consultant for the survey and that HSLDA provided names and addresses of "home school associations" to whom the survey was mailed. The cover letter from Klicka on HSLDA stationery was included with the survey, the researcher said, to ensure a higher response rate.
The first part of the survey asks heads of "home school associations" how the military can reach homeschoolers.
-- The second part of the survey asks for help in defining homeschooling and identifying "genuine home school graduates."
-- Attempts to identify "genuine home schoolers" will inevitably cost us homeschooling freedoms. Requirements introduced to identify "genuine" homeschoolers will increase the regulation of homeschooling. In addition, we would be surrendering power and control to whoever judges homeschoolers, whether it is our local school board, the state board of education, educational experts, or even other homeschoolers or homeschooling organizations.
The program has concluded, but the results aren't as rosy as some people wanted:
-- page 52, "Although there are good reasons to explore recruiting avenues beyond traditional public high schools, given the attrition rates of homeschoolers compared with other high school diploma graduates, homeschooled recruits seem to be a less desirable recruiting market than was originally thought."
Despite this conclusion, HSLDA pressed for a continuation of Tier I status (September 9, 2003).
And, to top that, now a special section in public law, pertaining only to homeschoolers, is under consideration in Congress. Is it an attempt to get around the conclusions of the study? If so, why?
Instead of causing repeated public embarrassment because the homeschooled recruits' completion rate of their enlistments isn't as good as the publicly schooled kids' rate (see: "less desirable market" remark above), why not just face the music and tell the families what needs to be done if their children want to enlist in the military: get 15 credit hours of college (1 full time attendance semester). What agenda is served by trying to duck the issue, thereby causing it to be trotted out more often? Are those of us opposed to more federal legislation containing the word "homeschool," especially concerning the military, supposed to just dummy up and go along with the game and pretend the survey doesn't exist? What's the profit in that?
On the other hand, if the homeschooled teens qualify for Tier I status, just like the rest of their fellow-citizens do, the kids get a little more education, they're more likely to fulfill their term of enlistment, there will be fewer homeschooled washouts wondering perhaps for the rest of their lives what happened, and there's one less mention of 'homeschooling' in federal legislation. What's not to like?
Homeschoolers aren't 'special cases' needing their hands federally-held in order to enlist. They're just people who need to find out what to do in order to have the best shot at success. Don't sell them short.
Homeschoolers are American citizens, just like the public- and private-schoolers: one nation under the same law.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Spunky's not for it either
Stuffing the ballot box at Atypical Homeschool.net
--Until today, we believed that the polls we had posted on the site would be honourably used. We were not aware that they could be so easily manipulated.
DoD defining homeschooling
Enactment of a standard in one part of federal law can be used as precedent in other parts, so if the Department of Defense codifies what is acceptable 'homeschooling' (and their present standard for enlistment specifies 12 'grades'), then any other parts of federal law where homeschooling is mentioned, could use the military definition as a standard.
See: ‘Discrimination’ against homeschooled military recruits'
--126.96.36.199. High School Graduate (HSG) or Higher (Tier 1). An applicant who has attended and completed a 12-year or (or grade) program of classroom instruction and possesses a locally issued diploma from the school. …
So far the bill isn't part of the common knowledge among phone-answerers, so callers need to know chapter and verse about the bill.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Faxing your legislators
- Faxing via Windows XP
"Although you don't need a fax machine, you'll need a phone line, a modem, and a scanner to send and receive faxes from your computer. For faxing, the modem and scanner don't have to be anything special. Even a 33.6 bps modem will dispatch a multi-page letter in a minute or two. As to the scanner, faxes are sent in black and white and usually at a default resolution of no better than 150 X 150 dpi. Any working scanner can manage that."
Set-up and configuration instructions are included at the site.
For people without a fax machine or, either a modem or a scanner, faxing can still be done:
- use a commercial store such as Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, Kinkos or UPS.
- take the letter to your legislator's district office (if it's close by) and have the staff fax it to the Washington, D.C. office
Senate Finance Committee Contacts
CHARLES GRASSLEY, IA
ORRIN G. HATCH, UT
TRENT LOTT, MS
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME
JON KYL, AZ
CRAIG THOMAS, WY
RICK SANTORUM, PA
BILL FRIST, TN
GORDON SMITH, OR
JIM BUNNING, KY
MIKE CRAPO, ID
MAX BAUCUS, MT
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV WV
KENT CONRAD, ND
JAMES M. JEFFORDS, VT
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM
JOHN F. KERRY, MA
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR
RON WYDEN, OR
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY
We also noticed further information at Homeschooling Illinois.
Contacting Congressional Legislators
Congressional paper-mail is still being screened for anthrax, and other biological agents, so an email or a fax will get through much faster. Phone calls are another way to bypass the long screening time for paper-mail.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Recruiting and Enlistment: Creation of an entirely new section
Although the fingerprints of NCLB appear to be all over Section 503 as it now stands, no specific group of recruit-aged teens is mentioned. The criteria for inclusion in Section 503 is not whether a teen is enrolled in a public or private school, but rather whether the school receives federal assistance:
- (c) Access to Secondary Schools.
(1) (A) Each local educational agency receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
HR 3753 and S 1691 will set a precedent for homeschoolers by including them as a class of people, instead of merely as enrollees in an institution:
- (a) Home-Schooled Students-
Chapter 31 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 503 the following new section:
Sec. 503a. Recruitment and enlistment of home-schooled students
What is the Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2005?
To read the entire 2005 Act, search for bills S. 1691 (US Senate) or H.R. 3753 (US House of Representatives) at Thomas. It is imperative that families read the actual bills, rather than depend on press releases or Internet information, before deciding for themselves whether these bills are detrimental to them. We believe it is.
The Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2003/2005 was reportedly written by the Home School Legal Defense Association and introduced in the U.S. House by Representative Marilyn Musgave (R) of CO. Representative Musgrave introduced the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have amended the US Constitution to ban gay marriage. Representative Musgrave introduced the Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2003 on July 15, 2003 and The Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2005 on September 13, 2005.
The Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2003/2005 was introduced in the US. Senate by Senator Larry Craig (R) from Idaho, also on September 13, 2005.
When the Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2003 was first introduced there was a lot of discussion about it on the Internet. HSLDA was, and presumably still is, well aware of opposition to it by individual homeschooling families who do not want to see homeschooling federalized. They do not appear concerned about those families in that they have proceeded to re-introduced HONDA at this time.
As the lobbying organization writing and sponsoring HR 2732, HSLDA has taken the fundamental right of homeschoolers to represent ourselves and replaced it with their personal theopolitical agenda that is antithetical to American values. Our representative system of government entitles each person to vote their conscience and represent him or herself. It is unique that each of us can contact the representatives we elect and have a say in how our government operates. When any group usurps that right, it weakens our government allowing lobbyists and special interests to control how our government functions and how it affects each of us.
We encourage each individual family to represent themselves using the tools we have gathered here.
Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act of 2005:
SEC. 6. CLARIFICATION OF THE COVERDELL EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT AS TO ITS APPLICABILITY FOR EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH STUDENTS PRIVATELY EDUCATED AT HOME UNDER STATE LAW.
(a) IN GENERAL- Paragraph (4) of section 530(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to qualified elementary and secondary education expenses) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
`(C) SPECIAL RULE FOR HOME SCHOOLS- For purposes of clauses (i) and (iii) of subparagraph (A), the terms `public, private, or religious school' and `school' shall include any home school which provides elementary or secondary education if such school is treated as a home school or private school under State law.'.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.
While it sounds laudable to include homeschool families under this section of the IRS code, the statement ‘if such school is treated as a home school or private school under State law' is problematic for homeschoolers in states which do not currently ‘treat’ them under state law. In order to qualify for a small tax benefit, states would need to enact laws which would ‘treat’ homeschoolers as a home or private school, thereby removing any independence homeschoolers in those states now enjoy.
Briefly, the savings accounts may be used to pay for elementary or secondary educational expenses related to enrollment or attendance at an eligible school for a designated beneficiary (child) such as tuition, books, tutoring, special needs services, room and board, uniforms and transportation. Computer equipment is included if it is used for educational purposes. The educational institution should be able to tell you if it is an eligible educational institution.
Up to $2000 may be added to each child’s account each year by qualifying parents and relatives and the money then belongs to the child. It is counted as the child’s asset and income when applying for education loans. If it is not used by the time the child is 30 years old, it becomes theirs. It should also be noted that trustee fees to manage the account may exceed the tax-free interest earned and in order to access this type of tax benefit, parents are required to file a tax return.
Since 2003 when Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act of 2005 was first introduced as HR2731 and S1562 some Christian parents have chosen to enroll their children in HSLDA’s Patrick Henry College. Ironically, because Patrick Henry College does not participate in any government funding programs, it is doubtful Coverdell accounts would qualify for use at Patrick Henry College. For more information contact Patrick Henry College or the Internal Revenue Service.
Another alternative to a government program would be to open a tax-free no-load mutual fund to save for your child’s education. To learn more about this type of investment program VISIT
Because these are private mutual fund investments, none of your fellow homeschoolers would have their freedom threatened by federal regulation so you could qualify. No state would have to institute homeschool laws to treat homeschools “as a home school or private school under State law” in states which currently do not regulate them as such.
Additionally, you and your family members would be able to save for your child without any limits on the amount you set aside and your educational choice will not have to be approved by the government.
Homeschoolers need to assess whether this small tax benefit is worth trading for legislation regulating homeschools in those states which do not currently do so.
To learn more about Coverdell ESA’s (Educational Savings Accounts) either request IRS publication 970 - Tax Benefits for Education – or visit their web site HERE
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
HR 3753/S 1691
To read about the first iteration of this federal bill, please read:
- Why all the fuss about HoNDA?
- Say No To The Federal Homeschool Legislation
- Connecticut Homeschool Network HoNDA Analysis
- CHN: College eligibility for homeschoolers; Child Find; Coverdell Savings Accounts; FERPA