Federal funding for homeschooling a big mistake

Federal funding for homeschooling a big mistake

Republicans are trying to do the right thing, but encouraging home schooling through federal intervention is counterproductive.

Rather than restoring power to parents, House Republicans are proposing legislation which set a dangerous precedent for federal intervention in home school education.

House bill H.R. 610 serves to distribute federal voucher funds to elementary and secondary education in public, private, and home schools. The critical error with this legislation is that in an attempt to encourage choice, Republicans are involving the federal government in homeschooling for the first time.

Family Education, a magazine focused on family and student success, explains that parents choose to homeschool for greater autonomy over their child’s education. The education model is “tailored to a child’s capabilities and personality” with “access to the best teaching materials available… selected based on child’s individual needs and capabilities” is the exact reason why parents pursue homeschooling.

The legislation introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) would give the federal government control to fund, and defund, homeschooling, making it subject to federal oversight.

This has been the exact fear of the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association which explains as follows:

There is no question that many millions of children are stuck in public schools that fail to meet their needs, and school choice would be an incredible benefit to them. But homeschooling families know that government dollars will eventually result in government regulation. Even though the vouchers created by H.R. 610 would be voluntary, we believe that this would be a slippery slope toward more federal involvement and control in homeschooling.”

The federal government should not have a large role in education to begin with. The Constitution gives  Congress no power in this area, reserving education to state and local governments. This bill simply increases the federal government’s influence over a sector in which is already unwelcome.

The slippery slope created by H.R. 610 is immediately clear. The legislation would require states to track and register all home-schooled children being funded, as well as determine the cost of each child’s home school education. Currently these are decisions made by parents without federal meddling.

Nobody should welcome government intrusion into our homes. For example, in New York, a state with the most home schooling regulations, parents must meet certain qualifications to teach their students and the cost of the student’s education ranges based on an individualized plan for home instruction and personalized curriculum.

Now the federal government would be mandating state regulation of these home schools, giving less and less autonomy to the parents and the states.

Republicans have the right idea in mind—they are trying to provide financial opportunity to parents eager to begin homeschooling. However, this is not the job of members of Congress in Washington D.C., it is the job of legislatures at the state and local level.

If states wish to, they could provide tax credits for home schoolers — and to attend private schools for that matter — to incentivize school choice.

On a federal level funding home schooling will allow a future administration to come into office and regulate home schooling.

Rather than intruding on states’ responsibilities, legislators in D.C. should be getting out of the business of education—truly providing parents with control over their children’s education.

If the Department of Education is going to exist, if there is going to be funding anyway, then having block grants to the states is preferable. But including homeschooling in a scheme of federal funding—and inevitably regulation—is a big mistake.

61 comments

Latest Articles

  • Sailblazer

    I’m from the Department of Education, and I’m here to help.

  • RubyTwoThree

    That is an oxymoron if I have ever seen one. Just say NO.

  • Jeanine Martin

    The link to the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association has some great information, https://contentsharing.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?message_id=13945841&user_id=HSLDA&group_id=2871491 written by Loudoun’s own, Will Estrada.

    • Rocinante

      Never, EVER, get on the wrong side of Will Estrada, you’ll never see it coming. He is the velvet Lee Atwater.

  • Warmac9999

    Home schooling is a good step toward vouchers. Homeschoolers already pay massive taxes for public schools, and get nothing in return. Same with private schoolers. At the very least, home and private schoolers should be tax exempt for the portion of their local taxes that go to public schools.

    • daverkb

      The always make this money linkage. But I am with you on ‘tax exempt’ as stated.

      Good point.

  • Rocinante

    Which Repubs be needing the hammer on this?

  • SD

    Yes, let’s all pay for crazies to keep their children out of public schools where they might learn about those different from themselves, the greediness of wall street, how to keep our world clean, the benefits of a healthy nation, and god forbid, how some people love each other despite no being white, born again, or straight

    • mark Jawsz

      You rant about prejudice, and yet you stereotype homeschoolers. Leftist pig. Public schools for the most part have deteriorated into Liberal Indoctrination Centers, which is what you and your ilk really wish to perpetuate.

      • SD

        Liberal Indoctrination – especially when it comes to calculus, chemistry, writing, shop classes. how dare they teach kids that they HAVE to wear safety goggles, how to determine the derivative of an equation, punctuation, and the periodic table.How dare schools preach science, math, and grammar. Yes, keep you kids away or they might become educated citizens

        • Mick Staton

          If public education stopped at that, you wouldn’t have anyone complaining. The problem comes from

          Teaching sex ed to grade school children.

          Having students write papers on why they should feel guilty about being white.

          Putting books in schools like “Heather has two mommies.”

          English classes that assign books with pornographic content, and then trying to deny parents the right to even review what their children are being taught.

          Trying to force little girls to share the bathroom with boys and grown men.

          Attempting to remove any mention of God, going so far as to stop saying “Merry Christmas” in schools.

          When I went through public school in the 70’s and 80’s, this kind of crap wasn’t anywhere in evidence. We need to go back to those days.

          • Rocinante

            Stop-making-me-upvote-you!

          • SD

            the good ol’ days of the 70s and 80s? Back when we were allowed to pick up people for who they were, the color of their skin, etc? Back when a woman knew her place and girls did not take jobs away from guys? Back when we were allowed to tell pollack jokes or black jokes or jewish and everyone knew we were just joking, only we were not only joking. Back before black history month was forced on us and we had to learn about the contributions to our world of those people? Yes, the goold ol’ days

          • Mick Staton

            The decline in the quality of our public school education system is fully on display in your reply. If the only play you have is to scream “Racist!” at anyone who disagrees with you, then you really shouldn’t be playing this game.

          • Warmac9999

            A clear hatred of what has made America a great society to live in. There is no reasoning with those who will not apply facts and logic to the world. He cannot even cope with the idea that people are running to America because of a desire to be free and, in doing so, overwhelming the goose that lays the golden egg. Am guessing he thinks that Obama was a great president.

          • SD

            Maybe you are right? Since apparently you cannot read. Where do I use the word Racist? Where am I even wrong about you the other alt right radicals here?

          • Mick Staton

            Instead of addressing the main point of what I said, you instead attempted to de-legitimize my comments by making the insinuation that I long for the return of a racist, sexist culture. Did you actually use the word, “racist?” No, but it was blatantly implied.

            I commented that the problem with public schools today is a shift away from strictly teaching basic curriculum and instead are piling on social engineering of a political nature that should not be there. I mentioned that when I went to school this type of indoctrination was not present. You chose to attempt to change the subject away from a discussion of public school curriculum to an indictment of the 70’s and 80’s as a time of racial and social injustice that is not even in line with the facts. Your screed was more in line with the 50’s, not the 70’s.

            Do you believe that public schools should be used to indoctrinate children into holding social and environmental beliefs that are contrary to the beliefs and wishes of their parents? Would you want public schools to have mandatory Bible study classes, or require students to learn that global warming is fake? If not, then you shouldn’t support having public schools teaching children that businesses are evil, that religion has no place in society, or that it is perfectly normal for a boy to believe they are a girl.

            Not only does this social engineering crap have no place in public schools, but it is pushing other, more important classwork out of the curriculum. In Loudoun County they are teaching sex ed to grade school kids and providing classes in “Global Social Issues” (an actual course from the LCPS course catalog), but the closest thing you can find to a computer science course is writing java applets (which NOBODY uses anymore) . I was taking Computer Science courses in 1985 in Mt. Vernon HS in Fairfax County, long before the PC ever gained popularity. Now, though, when kids are carrying around phones with computers in them that are more powerful than mainframes were in the 70’s, it is inconceivable that we don’t offer any real computer science courses in Loudoun County public schools.

            Do you really think our culture is better now than it was in the 70’s and 80’s? We live in an age where any disagreement is treated like a “micro-aggression” and college kids are rioting to silence speakers they don’t agree with, all in the name of “tolerance.” Black students are spitting on the memory of Martin Luther King as they demand segregated (separate but equal) student unions, and we are closer than ever to the idea of “crimespeak” that George Orwell invented in “1984.” Is this really the society you want to live in? A world where everyone is so sensitive that even stand-up comedians are being hounded off of college campuses?

            BTW, I played sports in little league and high school all throughout the 70’s and 80’s, both in WV and here in VA, and we were never forced to say the Lord’s Prayer.

          • SD

            But did you and the teams pray before games? We did.

            Anyone who says they long for the old days has turned into the parent who said the same things. Maybe you are living a miserable life but there were lots of problems back then. These days kids know about respecting each other and tolerating differences

          • Mick Staton

            “These days kids know about respecting each other and tolerating differences”

            Are you serious? Our society is becoming more tribal and intolerant than ever. When saying “all lives matter” is considered racist hate speech, you don’t have a tolerant society.

            What we DO have is a society where any and all ideas of moral decency are being thrown away, where deviant behavior is “celebrated” as normal, and where children with mental illness so severe as to deny their own biology are being enabled by their parents and progressive politicians looking for the next social “cause celebre.”

            The state is trying to force these indecent ideals on children whose parents are trying to raise them with a strong moral, ethical, and religious education, and that is not the state’s job.

            You never answered my question. Do you believe it is the job of the public schools to indoctrinate children with beliefs and morals that are in direct conflict with the wishes of their parents?

            BTW, I am living a fantastic life, and I thank God every day for the blessings he has bestowed on me. I have a beautiful wife, wonderful kids, and a job that I love that allows me financial freedom and the ability to spend a lot of time with my family.

          • SD

            Paranoid much? Indoctrination? This is why people think homeschooling parents are loony? Maybe if you kids wore tin foil hats they could resist this indoctrination

          • Mick Staton

            indoctrinate (v.) – teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

            Choose your own synonym if you don’t like that word. Then answer the question.

          • SD

            Irrelevant question since no indoctrination occurs in public schools, especially LCPS. Though, I expect you are taking more about respecting others and understanding that there are opposing viewpoints as being indoctrination.

            The would is just not going to allow bullies like the alt right to rule anymore and that has you afraid and throwing around words like indoctrination or calling anyone opposed to blatant discrimination a racist

          • Mick Staton

            On the contrary. Students are being taught that there are no opposing viewpoints when it comes to liberal socialization. I had children go through LCPS, with one son who graduated HS in 2015. He would tell me all the time about liberal teachers pushing liberal ideology on students. Last year a friend of mine told me that his 4th grade son was so freaked out by the sex education class he took that day that his son asked him to opt him out of the class.

            Don’t tell me that it doesn’t take place when I know perfectly well that you are wrong.

            As much as you might want to try and pigeon-hole me and dismiss my views by calling me “alt-right,” it just shows how little you know about me, but then again, I wouldn’t expect much from someone who throws stones behind a fake name.

          • Rocinante

            Yeah, what he said, and we won’t let Mick into the alt-right until he repents.

          • SD

            apparently you are one of the alt right so you opinion of the world is through the eyes of someone used to getting their own way without regards for others. Your son learned this from the indoctrination he received at home. Thousands and thousands of kids have progressed through LCPS without any harm but your son cant take it when presented with view of the world other than his old man’s? Maybe the problem is you, not LCPS

          • Mick Staton

            So my son being ridiculed by teachers and other students because he said he is a Republican is my fault?

            A 4th grade child telling his father (my friend) that he was grossed out by the sex ed class he just attended to the point he wanted opted out is his dad’s fault?

            You sure have some nerve calling other people loony when you make comments like that.

          • SD

            plenty of republican students in the schools. Was he ridiculed for being a Trump supporter? I can see that!!! There is a big difference.

            Or perhaps, he just had to tell people when he could have kept it to himself. Was this in a gov’t class or math class.

            Did you address the issue with the teacher or did you immediately go online to post it?

            Maybe you should pull your kids to protect them from the honesty of the world

            An oppressed 4th grader who cannot handle what all the other kids are able to endure says more about that kid and his/her family than the curriculum.

          • Mick Staton

            Your disdain for parents in your last two posts comes through loud and clear. Thanks for letting us all know that you feel perfectly fine with public schools pushing specific political and social beliefs onto students, regardless of what parents think. After all, if the kids can’t handle it, then they must be oppressed by their parents, right? We should probably get social services involved and get those kids out of that oppressive home life, right?

            Big Brother would be proud of your Goodthink.

          • SD

            actually, I am proposing less govt oversight of personal lives. Yank your kid from public schools if you want. Just don’t expect anyone else to buy into you narrow view of the world. You don’t own us and you cant bully us anymore, unlike in the 502, 60, 70s

          • Warmac9999

            Your racism is showing. Sounds like you have been well indoctrinated by the ideology of socialist and globalist totalitarianism. Christianity would have saved you but at this point you are long gone.

          • SD

            wow, Christianity would save me? Maybe you don’t realize it but there are those who are other than Christians in the world. I realize that you cling to some strange belief that only Christians are worthwhile and everyone else is nothing but rotting excrement. This does not make you correct but it does bolster my position that your choice for hiding your children in homeschool should not cost me or my children.

          • Rocinante

            I guess only you have the truth and must force it on others using government.

            When the pendulum swings, and the shoe is on the other foot, would you then be homeschooling as well?

          • Warmac9999

            So, you are both a racist and opponent of religious freedom. By the way, homeschooling costs you absolutely nothing as homeschoolers and private schoolers pay for what you enjoy and get no benefits. Even with a local tax exemption, they would still pay state and federal school taxes.

            By the way, tens of thousands of public school parents are trapped by your hatred of any alternative to the public school governmental monopoly. The response to deVos by the teacher’s unions is most revealing as their claim of doing for the children is a demonstrable lie.

          • SD

            Not and opponent of religious freedom at all. I do remember in the 70s been forced to say the Lords prayer. But I guess as long as it was a Christian making me do what they wanted to do their religious freedom counted as you do today. BTW. Which flavor or Christianity is the right one?

            Go ahead and homeschool your kids all you want just leave the money in public schools

          • mark Jawsz

            Nobody was forced to say the Lord’s prayer in school in the 1970s. Not only are you an anti-white bigot, you are also a profound liar. And by the way, the money comes from the taxpayers. I don’t know what planet you have been living on, SD, but if you were to ask the average high school graduate simple questions such as (a) In what century was the Civil War fought? (b) From which country did we gain our independence? You’d be surprised at the answers you would get. So I ask myself, “WTF has the liberal establishment been doing all these years?” I don’t blame this fiasco on the teachers, but on (a) a welfare state that has produced totally dysfunctional children through no fault of their own, (b) Open Borders, and (c) the liberal educational establishment.

          • SD

            Except in the 70s, we said the Lord’s Prayer before games. This went on well into the 90s. And if you think a kid could have stepped away and still be part of the team, you were not paying attention

            But the real question is why should you get off for paying for public schools simply because you want more God in them?

          • HomeschoolingMama

            You are wrong. I went to school in Fairfax County from 1986 to 1991 and we NEVER said the Lord’s Prayer in school, at a football game, or at any other school event.

          • SD

            Not everyone was in your same school. Not everyone grew up in Fairax or even Virginia. There is a would beyond the beltway. We still saw teams huddle together to say prayers up into the 90s and beyond.

            Getting off point though but it does support my disagreement with taking money out of public schools to pay for those who choose alternative ways to teach their kids. You do what you want but you still get to pay for the benefits of an educated country

          • HomeschoolingMama

            Prior to Fairfax I lived in South Carolina, ya know….the Bible Belt. NEVER said the Lord’s Prayer in school or for games there either. I wouldn’t consider what the public school’s are turning out “an educated country”. Conservatives are not the only ones abandoning the public schools. Liberals are turning to homeschooling in vast numbers as well. The religious aspect is only one of many reason we don’t trust the public schools.

          • SD

            never seen football players or basketball players gathering before a game to pray? Really? Maye you just were not allowed near the players before the games? How about on TV – used to see it all the time

          • HomeschoolingMama

            Oh my goodness, seriously, so in a huddle…by themselves. BIG DEAL if some players want to pray before a game. If a player wants to pray then let him pray, be patient for a few moments and then play the game. Maybe I just didn’t realize that’s what they were doing BECAUSE they were keeping it to themselves.

          • SD

            really – you have never seen players, with their coach and even a miniter, praying before the games – all the players. You simply were not watching – it happened then and continued way into the 90s at many high schools and still happens in colleges. The problem here is that you think it is normal and that there is something wrong with people who do not want to say the lords prayer. After all, apparently in your thinking, anyone who is not Christian is going to hell anyway

          • HomeschoolingMama

            I didn’t say there was anything wrong with someone not saying the Lord’s Prayer and do you understand that praying doesn’t necessarily mean reciting the Lord’s Prayer? What I SAID was if a player or coach wants to pray then let them pray, be patient and then play the game. I DIDN’T say everyone must join in the prayer. Be respectful and sit or stand quietly for a moment if you don’t want to pray. I’m going to pray specifically for you. That God will show you how much He loves you, you are His creation and He desires a relationship with you.

        • Rocinante

          You can’t be missing the point like this. Look at the scholastic scores, so many people home schooling and private schooling is telling you something right? Don’t be a cartoon.

          • SD

            here in Loundoun, academics is a good reason to home school. Across the country, there are more great school systems than not. Look at the scientists, doctors, artists, teachers, writers, engineers, programmers, etc. who come from public schools. Here in Loudoun, unless there is a specific issue with an individual child, and especially among the loonies here, they reason most are homeschooling has to do with a religious position that decries access to the world as bad.

          • Warmac9999

            You are utterly lost.

          • Chad Davis

            You have no factual basis to support your argument that only religious loonies are homeschooling. Is your criteria that merely believing in God makes you a religious looney? Belonging to certain denominations makes you a religious looney? When your favorite rhetorical device is ad hominem attacks, you need to be very careful or you risk turning undecideds off by your bravado.

          • Warmac9999

            I remember when the Fairfax schools were the best of the best – and then Fairfax went full sanctuary and turned the schools into chaotic messes. The best schools today aren’t in the population centers run by socialist Democrats but in the rural schools where common sense still matters.

    • You’re a bigot.

    • daverkb

      Ah! The Marxist Control State Creed in all its glory. The only problem with it is that people have had too much experience with state school mind control and can no longer abide by the Upside Down House Society created by all the Marxist Control State cant. Amazingly, public education has gotten so off the rails that those in Generation Z (born after the year 2000) are rejecting what they are ‘being told’ to think in public schools. They are rejecting the programming.

      My vote is for the ‘crazies’ who are smart enough to keep their children out of state schools. These ‘crazies’ will be happier people in their homes, families and life in general.

    • Rocinante

      Glad we’re on the same page now, welcome aboard!

    • Chad Davis

      You seem to have a lot of stereotypes about homeschoolers. Did you know that Dr. Francis Collins, both of the human genome project, and President Obama’s choice to head the National Institute of Health was homeschooled. The valedictorian at my public university my sophomore year was homeschooled. She was a double chemistry-biology major. Her parents felt that the school curriculum in Montgomery County, MD was too political and wanted her to have a different option. While it is not for everyone, homeschooling is a legitimate option to many. So be sure to dig a little deeper before you pronounce all homeschoolers as religious loonies.

      • SD

        Were they homeschooled to protect them from the evils of public school teaching or was there another, more individual reason. If took the time to read what I write, you would see that my main objection is the pay for those who hide their kids in homeschool because they think public schools are evil and teaching about bad things like health, alternative religions, and open mindedness

        • Chad Davis

          The valedictorian that I referenced in my post had parents who were concerned about the political agenda in the schools in large part as to why they homeschooled. Additionally, most people on this blog are already opposed to paying homeschoolers directly. It appeared to me though that your opposition to paying for them was veiled in a larger jab of a stereotype that religious people are unenlightened and anti-science.

          • SD

            No jabbing. Do what you want.

            Many here see conspiracy in public schools where there is merely impatience for intolerant people.

            And many here want to stop paying for public education.

            The statement that we should go back to the gold old days of the 70s gave me plenty of fuel, thought

          • Warmac9999

            I want to pay for the education of American children not for their indoctrination as globalist slaves.

        • Warmac9999

          Open mindedness? You have got to be kidding. Just ask a Trump K-12 supporter about his or her experience with open mindedness. Wear a confederate flag patch? Oppose open borders and the destruction of the USA? Think guys ought to use guy bathrooms? I could go on and on about how bad the situation is for a conservative kid in today’s institutions of liberal indoctrination.

  • daverkb

    ‘Voucher’ legislation is very carefully calculated legislation designed to place anyone who has managed to escape the State Educational Gulag right back into the state run camps. The bribe is money in exchange for state qualification (determination) of schools, programs and curriculum. When you take the bribe, you sign up on the dotted line for the state to ‘qualify’ your child’s education. Legally speaking, you are entering into a compelled performance contract with the state.

    The state has seen tens of thousands of kids escape their grasp, and were unable to stop the homeschooling movement with intimidation by state force. The only weapon they have left in the arsenal is to corrupt the people by holding out fists full of money. This is rule by corruption thinly veiled as ‘doing good, giving choice and Liberty.’ But there is no Liberty in this deal.

    Those at the very top of this public policy pyramid know exactly what they are doing. Some of the legislative promoters, but not all, are low information people easily duped. Useful idiots abound.

  • HomeschoolingMama

    As a homeschooling parent I don’t want any “help” from the federal government in regards to schooling my children. Government money ALWAYS comes with strings attached. NO THANK YOU! I’m open to a tax exemption of some sort though. Or maybe a write off for the curricula and supplies purchased.

  • Lawrence Wood

    Here is what I frankly don’t get about the homeschooling angst over the Fed and general funding issues. In Virginia as I understand it today the homeschooling process is under the ultimate authority of Virginia education law in the form of the Code of Virginia, 1950, and it’s subsequent amendments. The Code of Virginia was produced by the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond and managed via oversight and regulation by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and locally by elected school boards.

    This is an existing funded system overlayed by several significant laws related to home based education such as Compulsory Attendance Code (§22.1-254) and Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1). §22.1-254 and §22.1-254.1 that clearly “regulate” the legal options for homeschooling in Virginia, including actual instruction, the approved tutor(s), annual reporting and testing/evaluation options and on and on.

    All of this regulatory content as well as funding formats sits primarily under the oversight of the VDOE. In Virginia the fixed education budget line sits in a revenue category defined as Nongeneral funds comprising a 63.4% majority of all state revenue allocations of which 36.8% is generated via Federal grants and contracts. Considering only these Nongeneral funds, e.g. funds that are “earmarked by law for specific purposes” (in other words non discretionary), the majority goes to education at around 34.5%. This isn’t the only education funding generated by the state but just the hard wired year in and year out cash flow to the local districts.

    Ok. I’ve thrown a lot of potential boring facts at you and you may well ask so what, is there a point. There indeed is and it is the source of my confusion regarding homeschooling reaction to those awful Feds. Federal funding is already and will continue to be inextricably intertwined in the support of the Virginia education system including homeschooling. This is a plain fact of reality and will continue to be so unless home school movement is prepared to develop and implement their own self funding cash flow models and are able to rewrite existing state law code to do so. The voucher system is primary a choice mechanism NOT a funding methodology.

    You don’t want to pay for the public school system that your children don’t use. I get it, but you can’t have it both ways and continue to consume the fixed, built in federal funding allocations from the state’s Nongeneral revenue sources and meanwhile want a homeschooling tax discount for purported services not consumed ( a lousy argument if the first place as if logically followed to it’s conclusion why should individuals like myself with no children in the school system for decades pay ANY taxes related to school funding). There may well be some fair compromise to be developed here for homeschooling but blaming the Feds or wanting a tax refund isn’t either of them.

Fun Stuff

Advertisement

Advertisement

Sign-up for Email Alerts

Select list(s):

Advertisement