Wisconsin Parents Association Newsletter #78 pp. 7-8 - December 2003
H R 2732 is a bill currently before the U. S. House of Representatives. (Its companion bill in the U. S. Senate is S B 1562 .) Its supporters claim it would provide greater opportunities for homeschoolers. However, in reality the bill would undermine our homeschooling freedoms by increasing opportunities for federal regulation of homeschooling, threatening gains we have made, increasing backlash against homeschoolers, and increasing homeschoolers' dependence on experts. In addition, the six specific provisions of the bill either are unnecessary or would not accomplish what the bill's supporters claim.
Fortunately, the bill is still in committee, which has not taken action. Also, concern over and opposition to the bill are growing among homeschoolers across the country.
Homeschoolers who oppose the bill should register their concerns with their federal representatives. If they don't, legislators may well assume that most homeschoolers support this legislation because the legislators have heard primarily from those homeschoolers who support the bill, headed by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
Homeschoolers who oppose this bill but have not yet called their federal representative should do so now. Also please call Representative Thomas Petri (see below).
• When you reach your representative (or, more likely, his or her aide who handles education), you can say something like:
—I want to register my opposition to H R 2732, identified as “The Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act.” Its provisions would introduce homeschooling language into several federal statutes that do not currently mention homeschooling. This, in turn, could lead to federal regulation of homeschooling, which I strongly oppose. Homeschooling, along with most other education matters, should be governed by the states, not by the federal government. The so-called benefits of this bill are slight and do not begin to outweigh the drawbacks of the bill.
—Specific provisions in this bill would introduce the term "homeschooling" into several federal education statutes that do not now include it. This would increase opportunities for federal regulation of homeschooling. During the past 25 years or more, thousands of homeschooling families have shown how well homeschooling works without federal regulation.
—I want you to know that although I am a homeschooler, the homeschooling organization that has helped introduce and promote this bill does not represent me.
• For more details about H R 2732, see Newsletter #77, August, 2003, pp. 7-11.
• Call Representative Thomas Petri from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Calls from people who live in his district will carry extra weight. (His district includes Calumet, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Manitowoc, Marquette, Sheboygan, Waushara, Winnebago, and parts of Adams and Jefferson counties.) But the more Wisconsinites he hears from, the better. Petri is both a co-sponsor of the bill and the second ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, so he can have extra influence in determining whether the committee holds hearings, moves the bill forward, or lets it die in committee.
You can reach Petri’s offices in Washington, D. C. at 202-225-2476, in Fond du Lac at 800-242-4883, and in Oshkosh at 920-231-6333.
You can say something like: I am asking Representative Petri to withdraw his co-sponsorship of H R 2732 and to vote against it if it comes before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce or the House of Representatives.
To join homeschoolers across the country in expressing opposition to H R 2732, go to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/807813448 for more information and a petition to sign.