By CHEC Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
The United States Supreme Court has long recognized that it is the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. It is my contention that not only is it a fundamental right, long recognized in the United States, but it is also an unalienable God-given right, a right that cannot be infringed without a clear and present danger to the life of the child.
This right comes with much responsibility. As Christian homeschoolers, our highest aim is to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. In His Word it is clear that the responsibility to educate and disciple children falls to the parents whom God blesses with those children. While this does not mean that we never allow anyone else to teach or mentor our children, it does mean that we are the ones ultimately responsible for the choices we, as parents, make.
The Scoop on HR 610
Some questions have been raised about CHEC’s stand against the recent bill in the US Congress, H.R. 610. This bill, among other things, would establish a voucher program for all methods of education including homeschooling, essentially providing monies to homeschool families for “appropriate educational expenses.” It would also require the state to keep track of all “eligible” students aged 5 to 17 years old.
Currently in Colorado, local school districts that receive notices of intent (NOI) from homeschooling families do keep track of those families. The information stays within the school district where you file your NOI. In the past, I have seen an aggregate of the number of homeschoolers in a district, but no other information is sent to the state department of education.
Parents who are certified teachers or who enroll their children in independent schools, like CHEC’s, are not required to file any information with the state at all. While local school districts might use the information on your NOI to send out promotional materials about their homeschooling programs, they have no authority to ask you what curriculum you are using, what extracurricular activities your child is engaged in, or what health problems your child has.
The Threats of HR 610
We have been fortunate so far this year that none of the lawmakers in Colorado have attempted to alter our wonderful homeschool law. The threat of increased control by the government over all forms of education is ever on the horizon, and several states are currently fighting to keep more regulation of homeschools from creeping into their laws.
The proposed federal bill, H.R. 610, has the potential of altering every homeschool law in the nation. First, it would encourage every state to count all students who are eligible to receive grant monies, including homeschoolers. Second, it would allow someone other than parents to define what appropriate educational expenses are. HSLDA has additional concerns, and we should all take heed of them. If you haven’t had a chance to read their concerns, please go here.
Responsibility often requires sacrifice. Is it too much of a sacrifice to say no to government money, which seeks to entangle you with its demands? I believe the pioneers of the homeschooling movement would reject this proposal with a unified voice. We should never forget the hard-fought battles they won and the sacrifices they made so that we can homeschool free from government intervention. For CHEC, going back is not an option.
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison