February 12, 2017

More on the (Ugly) Trojan Horse Named Voucher

Yesterday, Nikki wrote about a federal new bill - H.R.610 - that has just been introduced by two supposedly homeschool-friendly U.S. representatives. This bill would ostensibly provide voucher money for every school-aged child in the nation, including homeschooled kids. Nikki outlined a few reasons why this bill - even if well-intentioned - is a very dangerous Trojan Horse, and I wanted to emphasize what she said by adding my thoughts to the discussion.

People often say that vouchers can't be so bad – and they argue that those who don't want them can just refuse the money and be done with it. Of course, those of us who understand how bureaucrats operate know the truth – that any “benefits” provided by the government to home educators are actually ugly Trojan Horses for regulation or control of one sort or another. Nevertheless, we are sometimes viewed – by both the general public and some other homeschoolers - as if we're sporting huge tinfoil hats. These folks feel we should trust the bureaucrats absent evidence to the contrary.

But now we have the evidence, as directly written into H.R.610, which was “miraculously” ready just days after President Trump's voucher-pushing Secretary of (the unconstitutional Department of) Education was confirmed by the skin of her teeth.

Read the bill for yourself, but note as well the insightful summary presented by the Constituional Home Educators Alliance:

The "GOOD"
SEC. 102. Repeal of Elementary and Secondary Education Act and limitation on secretarial authority.
(a) Repeal.—The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) is repealed.
(b) Limitation on secretarial authority.—The authority of the Secretary under this title is limited to evaluating State applications under section 104 and making payments to States under section 103. The Secretary shall not impose any further requirements on States with respect to elementary and secondary education beyond the requirements of this title.

SEC. 105. Education voucher program requirements.
(a) Education voucher program.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The State shall distribute funds received under this title among the local educational agencies in the State based on the number of eligible children enrolled in the public schools operated by each local educational agency and the number of eligible children within each local educational agency's geographical area whose parents elect to send their child to a private school or to home-school their child.
(2) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that States should distribute non-Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in a manner that promotes competition and choices in education.

(b) Identification of eligible children; allocation and distribution of funds.—
(A) LEA IDENTIFICATION.—On an annual basis, on a date to be determined by the Secretary, each local educational agency shall inform the State educational agency of—
(i) the number of eligible children enrolled in public schools served by the local educational agency; and
(ii) the number of eligible children within each local educational agency’s geographical area whose parents elect—
(I) to send their child to a private school; or
(II) to home-school their child.
(B) STATE IDENTIFICATION.—On an annual basis, on a date to be determined by the Secretary, each State educational agency shall inform the Secretary of the total number of children identified by all local educational agencies in the State under subparagraph (A).

Did you catch that last bit? It says, “On an annual basis, on a date to be determined by the Secretary, each State educational agency shall inform the Secretary of the total number of children identified by all local educational agencies in the State under subparagraph (A).”

This means that the states will be mandated to send information about all children – yes, every child using any form of education – to the federal Secretary of Education in order to get the voucher money H.R.610 claims the states are due. Of course, the states will want to report on all the children anyway - more children equals more money for state coffers even if some of us don't take it – but even if a state wanted to behave ethically in order to protect the privacy of home educators who refuse voucher money, they are not allowed to do so under this bill. Thus, any state that currently requires any sort of notification from homeschoolers – information that previously remained at the local or state level - will now violate our privacy by giving information about us to the federal Secretary of Education – without regard to either the 4th or 10th Amendments to the Constitution. And we can expect swift (freedom-stealing) action from states whose homeschool laws currently require no registration/notification. They will assert that they "must" know who the homeschooled children are according to H.R.610...so they can get their blasted voucher money.

In actuality, the Department of Education (DOE) has no constitutional right to exist in the first place, as per the 10th Amendment. Therefore, it doesn't have a constitutional right to any data on any child in the country. However, if we set aside that truth for the sake of argument, we might allow that DOE bureaucrats may have a right to information about those who attend schools - public or private - that receive federal money. However, it has never had authority to collect information on homeschooling families because they do not receive federal money - and the same is true of those who use any private school that likewise steers clear of that money. Thus, even if we allow that a homeschool family foolish enough to take voucher money must be "documented" by the DOE, it is unconscionable that the agency would be allowed to collect data on those wise enough to eschew the funds.

Yet with H.R.610, homeschoolers – regardless of where they live and even if they don't take a dime of voucher money - will have their privacy stolen without recourse by this bill. In point of fact, H.R.610 actually sets up a national registry of homeschoolers - an abomination anyone should be willing to fight to prevent.

Think about it. Let's say you're a homeschooler who wants voucher money – you feel you “deserve” it because you pay taxes, and you don't care about your kids' loss of privacy in exchange. However, your homeschooling neighbor does not want the money and would never take it, on principle. Yet, according to H.R.610 as it's actually written, in order for you to get that money, your neighbor's privacy must be violated. How is that just?

And it's not just this bill. If this is what comes from "friends" of the homeschool community - as asserted by HSLDA - imagine what any of those hostile to us would propose? The fact is that bureaucrats - even Republicans - have never met a regulation they don't like, especially in regards to matters of children's education. Thus, any scheme to provide voucher money will have similar problems – stealing homeschoolers' privacy, and setting up rules and regulations for all to follow...even those who have the integrity to refuse the money. Bureaucrats do not give something for nothing, and they are more than happy to use the selfishness and foolishness of a few to pull us all into the snare.

Be wise. This bill - and any others to promote vouchers for homeschoolers - costs far more in terms of the privacy and academic freedom it steals than the money it would "give."

Take a stand. Contact the representatives pushing the bill and politely but firmly demand - as your employees, which they are - that they remove any and all language pertaining to homeschoolers, including those labeled as "private schools" by their state homeschool laws.

Stay informed so that if the bill proceeds as written, you'll know what next step you'll need to take to protect yourself and your kids.

Photo Credit: The Ugly Truth


Nikki W. (SAHMinIL) said...

I'm so glad you did this post today. I wanted to say so much more, but then all I could think about was your words here (seeing you have posted them on FB too) and I just didn't want to be doing "ditto".

My husband and I talk some last night about all of this and more..... It's alarming, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

You are SO right! There has been talk in the homeschooling community for years about vouchers. I have tried to say this same thing. Any time you get the government involved, you give away freedoms because they have to regulate in order to protect against fraud. Look at the faith based initiative that President George W Bush passed. As a result, churches cannot share the gospel, share their faith or even give a tract to people that they give food or clothing. Most churches have closed their food pantry due to the paperwork. Those who do still have a food pantry have to fill out paperwork on everyone that they give food and can only give to those already getting govt assistance.
Another one that we need to watch is the HSLDA. They are not as home school friendly as most people think! They will take parents to court if they don't agree with them!

Nikki W. (SAHMinIL) said...

Anonymous, I actually agree with about HSLDA not being as homeschool friendly as many would think. Their track record proves that. However, this is the first time I have heard anyone actually accusing HSLDA of taking people to court when they don't agree with that person's parenting choices. Do you any cases, articles, personal testimony, something to back that part up?

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