Today, two FRC interns and I attended a legislative briefing on matters that should be of interest to home schools and private religious schools. The event was hosted by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS). The background is the possible reauthorization of the major federal education statute, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The three associations that held the briefing are concerned that the following sections in the ESEA remain in the reauthorized statute without modification:
- Section 9506 (20 U.S.C. 7886) (protecting home schools and nonrecipient religious and private schools from any regulation by the federal government) (Will Estrada of HSLDA characterized this provision as the heart of the ESEA provisions that protect home schools and private schools);
- Section 9527 (20 U.S.C. 7907) (prohibiting federal funds from being used to establish a national curriculum);
- Section 9529 (20 U.S.C. 7909) (prohibiting federal funds from being used to establish nationalized testing);
- Section 9530 (20 U.S.C 7910) (prohibiting federal funds from being used for any program of national teacher testing or national teacher certification);
- Section 9531 (20 U.S.C. 7911) (protecting the privacy of student data by prohibiting federal funds from being used to create a national student database).
The Family Research Council takes the protection of homeschooling and private schooling seriously. Along with HSLDA, ACSI, and AACS, FRC wishes to preserve the statutory language referenced above in order to: 1) preserve the primary role of the parents in educational decision-making; 2) maintain the autonomy of Christian educational institutions; and, 3) and safeguard the possibility that religious parents can educate their children in a manner consistent with their faith.
Emily Ahrens, of Cedarville University, and David Ferkaluk, of Cedarville University, assisted in the preparation of this report.