I published my article “Cruz homeschool bill will bring homeschoolers under Federal regulation” because I earnestly believe it is a bad idea. I have grave concerns about homeschoolers being entangled in federal programs that by definition come with federal jurisdiction and thus federal regulation. The article, however, drew several questions as well as several unfounded accusations. Some of these are worth a little more time to address:
I was asked if I thought this was some nefarious scheme on Ted Cruz’s part. I don’t think anyone who read the article could have come to that conclusion. There are a couple articles out there making such a claim, but I made it clear I did not agree with those articles entirely. I have no idea what Cruz’s motivations are, but were I to guess, I would say he’s quite in earnest here. Nevertheless, bright and earnest people sometimes support measures that could have bad unintended consequences. My article was about the measure not the man.
This is quite contrary to certain supporters of the bill. They have reacted to concerns against the bill by attacking others’ apparent lack of credentials, and restoring to the fallacy of epithet—sweeping away legitimate concerns under hyperbolic labels such as “laughable,” “lies,” “non-sense”—and making comparisons to obscure conspiracy theories about chem trails and aliens. They offer no discussion of the facts of the argument, only contradictions of it, and grand assertions about how friendly and helpful Ted Cruz is for homsechoolers.
Folks, that may be true, but it is one hundred percent irrelevant to the facts of the case. The facts are this: S.306 specifically defines homeschoolers as “private schools” for the purposes of allowing them to utilize 529 accounts. 529 accounts are Federal IRS programs that are already subject to federal regulation. Particularly, the funds held therein can only be utilized for “eligible” educational purposes. What is “eligible”? It includes accreditation by the Department of Education.
These are current facts, not conspiracy theories. They have nothing to do with personalities, political candidacies, personal agendas or anything else. They are current facts. S.306 would by definition bring any homeschool family that decides to use such accounts under this federal jurisdiction and thus under the federal regulations attached to those accounts. This bill by definition would expand federal jurisdiction, and thus expand federal regulation. Those pundits who say there are absolutely no strings attached don’t know what they’re talking about.
Now, as I said in the original article, the current regulations may not seem onerous. But first, this is not to say they will not change after this bill. They could easily. Second, there is currently no precedent whatsoever for how homeschoolers would be viewed in light of the already-existing accreditation requirements mandated by the DoE and 529 plans. You think this question would never come up? You think the 529 homeschoolers would be allowed to operate with zero accountability in this area, unlike everyone else? Of course not. But who would set the standards? Think through this: it would not take long before Common Core or other federal standards could, and probably would, be a reality.
I don’t know why the uncritical supporters of this bill won’t engage these issues. I know that HSLDA supports this measure and has for a long time. Our differences here are based on differences in our ideas of constitutional freedoms. They think it comes through a more centralized, top-down, federal government means than I do. I wish I could change that.
Yes, I know other homeschool personalities and pundits disagree with me. Yet where have they engaged the deeper facts other than merely to contradict them? They show no acknowledgement, let alone understanding, of what federal jurisdiction is, or how regulation is de facto a part of it. They think the tax break is purely free I guess—because that’s how the IRS and the DoE roll.
Several people linked me to an article written by two HSLDA lawyers, allegedly debunking my view. Note: my article had already linked to that article and stated why I disagreed with it. Those who sent me this showed how little they paid attention (this includes, btw, at least one state Supreme Court Justice). Second, that article is written by men who are personally invested in the campaign of Ted Cruz—not my venue, people. I am concerned for the issue. Third, their article was not addressing my argument per se (it was written before), does not address it, and thus cannot be an answer to it. Fourth, their alleged debunking was mainly of the epithet and hype-Cruz variety described above.
Now, several people said my headline was misleading. It was accurate. It said the bill will bring homeschoolers under federal regulation. I did not say it would bring all homeschoolers under it or that they would be brought under involuntarily as some assumed. But since the bill is by definition an expansion of federal jurisdiction and regulation—for those homeschool families who naively walk into it voluntarily, they will by definition be subject to federal regulation. Therefore, the headline is perfectly accurate.
In the end, homeschoolers homeschool, as I said, because they want the government out of their educational decisions. A program that would put them under more of it seems counter to that goal in my opinion.
If it is a question homeschoolers being free from taxes, there is one option that is consistent with a biblical view of liberty. It is not federally-regulated savings programs. It is tax exemptions (not merely tax credits or vouchers, but exemptions) from local and state education taxes for those who don’t use the system—including homeschoolers so defined.
That may sound like a mere difference of opinion in your eyes, but it is really the difference between liberty and looming government control. I can’t help the fact that others have a view of liberty that is dependent upon Federal government programs, but if you’d like to know more about my view, which is not, for a limited time you can download for FREE my book Restoring America One County at a Time and judge for yourself.