The bipartisan "Education Begins at Home Act" was introduced by Senators Bond (R-MO) and Clinton (D-NY) in the Senate (S. 667), and Representatives Davis (D-IL) and Platts (R-PA) in the House (H. R. 2343), and would provide grants to help establish or expand voluntary home visiting programs for families with young children. It has been kicking around in various forms for several years and been stuck in committees, but was recently revived and is back under consideration.
Unfortunately, you don't even have to look at the fine print to know that this is another shameless power grab designed to wrest away control from parents and give it to government hacks.
H. R. 2343 To expand quality programs of early childhood home visitation that increase school readiness, child abuse and neglect prevention, and early identification of developmental and health delays, including potential mental health concerns, and for other purposes.
How could anyone be against "child abuse and neglect prevention"? Or any of those other high sounding goals? But let's take a closer look at that last clause.
Potential mental health concerns? As decided by whom? In practice, this will mean government officials will "voluntarily" visit hospitals and homes to promote an agenda that may be diametrically opposed to that of the people they intend to "serve". The program stresses that the visits are "voluntary", at least initially.
Kind of like the "voluntary" Income Tax. What began as voluntary now uses the full force of the State to intimidate taxpayers into compliance.
So, if some bureaucrat determines that your child "needs" medication, or some kind of other "mental health" treatment, will you be allowed to object?
Then there are those "other purposes". What other purposes? That vagueness leaves a hole big enough to drive a truck through. There is no telling what that could mean in the future if the legislative climate changes towards parental rights. If institutionalized Pre-K is mandated in the future, every homeschool family would be subjected to the additional scrutiny currently reserved for those who pull an older child out of school in order to begin homeschooling.
Early education constitutes yet another intrusion of big government, this time imposing itself directly into the home. Institutionalized, government-approved pre-K programs threaten parents’ right to direct the upbringing and education of their children by forcing subjective screenings and state-approved, politicized curriculum upon America’s impressionable youth. Some pre-K bills, including H.R. 2343, include provisions for socio-emotional/mental health screenings, which, unlike vision or hearing tests, are based on inherently subjective diagnostic criteria. After children are identified as needing mental health services or medication, it is not clear if their parents will have the ability to refuse such treatment. Similarly, once trusting parents enroll their children in institutionalized early education, there is no guarantee that they will have any warning or authority over what their child is exposed to in the classroom.
Remember Melissa Busekros, the German teenager who in 2006 was forcibly removed from her family by representatives of the Jugendamt and fifteen police officers and placed in a mental institution? When examined by a psychiatrist, she was found to be developmentally delayed by one year and suffering from - are you ready? - "school phobia". She was only homeschooled for a time so that she wouldn't have to repeat an entire grade, when she only had bad grades in two subjects. The rest of her siblings were in school, so obviously her family was not philosophically opposed to institutional schooling.
What in the world would a similar tribunal decide about American families for whom homeschooling is a lifestyle?
I know, I know. This isn't Germany. But tyranny usually starts with something that seems innocent, and while nobody is paying attention.
The "Education Begins At Home" Act is making a deal with Little Red Riding Hood to hold the door open so the Wolf can come in and eat Grandma, only later to discover that he intends to turn and eat her as well.
HSLDA has issued an ACTION ALERT requesting that you call your U.S. Representative today and urge him to oppose H. R. 2343, The Education Begins at Home Act.
It is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler. You can say something as simple as the following:“I am a constituent and I strongly oppose H.R. 2343. The government should not be involved in funding questionable early education programs, especially at a time of financial uncertainty when our hard-earned tax dollars could be better spent elsewhere.”
You can reach your U.S. representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, or by using our Legislative Toolbox.
This bill has been placed on the House calendar and could come up for a vote anytime this week, or even during the weekend as Congress rushes to finish legislative priorities before they adjourn.