Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tax Credits For Homeschoolers - Bad Idea!

As a homeschooling parent I just don't agree with this one, no matter how well intentioned it is. This represents the continuation of the Federalization of Homeschooling. We already have about a dozen places in federal statute that mentions homeschooling, and that is not a good thing for us at all, nor should it even be. I'll explain in a moment.

I am very dismayed that presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are pushing for this tax credit in order to look good to homeschoolers (of which there are well over 2.5 million in this country). Pandering for their vote like this really is disappointing to me. This originally was a bill that Ron Paul sponsored (HR 1056 - Family Education Freedom Act of 2007).

Here's a snippet from the article, "Romney Wants Tax Help for Home Schooling", written by SEANNA ADCOX for AP news:
Parents who home school their children should get a tax credit to help offset the expense of teaching, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Wednesday.

''I also believe parents who are teaching their kids at home, homeschoolers, deserve a break, and I've asked for a tax credit to help parents in their homes with the cost of being an at-home teacher,'' he said.

Romney supports giving parents more educational options, through charter schools or vouchers, but he said legislation should be done on a state level.

''I really hesitate to have the federal government become too involved in local schools,'' he said....
He should hesitate! It's unconstitutional to have the federal government become involved in local schools! In fact, the whole federal Department of Education should be eliminated! Ron Paul says that himself, along with many others.

This tax credit is a really bad idea because then the IRS, a government agency, gets to define who is and who isn't a homeschooler in order for them to qualify for tax credits. I am sorry, but I certainly do not want the IRS getting mixed into this at all. Every state may or may not already have it's own definition of who or what a homeschooler is or does. Having a federal agency set down it's own rules or definitions on that would not only usurp states' rights but it essentially violates the 10th Amendment. (Although we know that's not a new practice).

According to the 10th Amendment - the US government shouldn't have anything to do with education issues - and yeah I know they do already, but they have done so through the Commerce Clause (as in controlling the purse strings for No Child Left Behind through Title 1 funding), and any other laws they make are really unconstitutional.

The Tenth Amendment states:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The power of education is not one that is delegated to the United States by the Constitution. It is, therefore, reserved to the States or to the people.

While policies and proposed legislation like this at first glance appear to benefit homeschool families, ultimately legislation adopted by Congress establishes the unconstitutional precedent that the federal government has the authority to enact legislation regarding education. When homeschool families do not receive any federal funding or benefits, the federal government has no constitutional authority to enact any legislation. By enacting legislation that provides for federal funding and benefits, Congress unconstitutionally is granting to itself the authority to enact further legislation affecting homeschooling. In addition, because in the federal legislation, the word, “homeschool” appears, and is defined, the definition of that word may conflict with the definition in one or more state statutes. Because of the “supremacy clause” of the Constitution, when a federal law conflicts with a state law, the federal law supersedes state law, thus, placing into jeopardy the validity of all state statutes regarding homeschooling. For these reasons, even seemingly beneficial federal legislation must be defeated or repealed.

As a homeschooler, this is legislation that I will not support, and I hope the presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, as well as every other member of Congress, will think twice about supporting this instead of pandering to special interest groups who are promoting it in Washington, DC to advance their own agenda. NHELD is not promoting this agenda. In fact, they have written about this in the past:
As more and more federal legislation includes the undefined term of "home school" we are giving the federal government the right to legislate what we do and how we do it. Eventually the term "home school" will have to be defined somewhere - either by federal statute or by a federal judge. Most of these bills have to do with what homeschoolers are or are not entitled to. This means we are giving the federal government (Congress) the power to decide that. Even if the statute will do some positive things for homeschoolers in the short run - it will surely hurt us in the long run because we are allowing the federal government to decide to include homeschoolers in various aspects of federal funding (scholarships, IRS code, etc.). Once this happens, we will of course have to show accountability on whatever terms the federal government will decide.
We should stop the Federalization of Homeschooling NOW! Federal legislation which includes and concerns homeschooling is not the way to answer problems homeschoolers face.

For more information on the Federalization of Homeschooling please read NHELD archived articles here and here and here

Instead of targeting any one group in particular for receiving a break on their taxes, how about they give everyone a break on their taxes?