Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homeschoolers and the proposed tax credit (PART 1)

   As the Congress resumes their duties, the newly elected Republicans are focusing on a tax credit for homeschoolers that should be thought through before we jump at the proverbial carrot.  I'll state my opinion clearly:  I do NOT support any form of tax credits, nor subsidies for anyone.  Yes, that includes welfare, but for this post I'll focus on why this particular "credit" is not a good idea for any homeschooler.  I would encourage everyone who would be affected to do their research before hearing "tax credit" and taking a big bite of the governmental carrot that is currently being dangled.

   First, let's clarify that the government does not make a dime. ALL money that they write a check for is collected from American citizens in the form of taxes. Period. There are no free lunches. People with no children don't get a tax credit, so why should we? Homeschoolers should think that through carefully.

    Next:  Federal money = Federal intrusion and regulations.  The primary reason that I homeschool is so that I can choose what my children learn, how they learn it and at what pace they learn it.  We are not in educational Olympics, nor is our goal to create "standardized" children.  Before that creates responses and cries that I'm insulating my children or that somehow they will be unable to find a job in the "real world" see here to understand socialization and then check current homeschooling test scores in comparison to public/private educational institutions. We can eliminate those arguments and just stay on track of whether or not homeschoolers should receive a tax credit or whether they should even WANT one.

   The NY Times recently ran a story and here was what one of the contributors had to say:

     In return for the financial help, however, home-schooled students should be required to take state tests, just as they would do in regular school, charter school or virtual schools. And if they don’t pass those tests, either the subsidy vanishes or the kids must enroll in some sort of school with a decent academic track record.

    First of all, most homeschoolers ALREADY take these tests, or at least most of them do. Hence the spanking we are giving public and private institutions on SAT/ACT scores.  So that's a straw man attempt at government regulation on homeschoolers and an attempt at taking over curriculum choices so we can pass the all important TEST. 

Here is an excerpt when lawmakers in VA tried to pass a tax credit for homeschoolers there:

Virginia "homeschool" tax credit bills have included government definitions of bona fide homeschooling expenses, through the bills' clarification of what constitutes the physical elements of a valid home education program. When a law serves to define homeschooling, it creates a means to further regulate it, and who defines homeschooling has the power to control homeschooling. For that and other reasons, a child tax credit would serve home educators-and other families-better. A child tax credit would not discriminate against any particular type of homeschooler, would not affect home education regulations, and would allow all parents the freedom to choose what expenditures will best meet their family's needs.

And another from VA when they tried to pass another "tax credit" back in 2000:

Supporters of a home education tax credit may claim that no family would be required to take a tax credit, so it can't harm objectors. However, such legislation is likely to attract increased monitoring, as illustrated in the 2000 and 2001 Virginia General Assembly sessions. During each session, an amendment involving Standards of Learning (SOL) testing was attached as an apparent backlash against the promotion of a tax credit bill. The 2000 amendment would have affected all home-educated students, not just those of parents who filed for a tax credit.

    You see, proponents love the argument that you don't HAVE to file this on your taxes, and if you don't then it wouldn't affect you.  WRONG!   Any credit will attract increased monitoring.  Period.  The government has no right, and certainly no Constitutional right, to interfere in the home education of my children. 

     Money has always been the great scale balancer on so many political debates.  This is essentially the government saying that they will give you money if you'll outsource your parenting to them and allow them to tell you what to teach, and more importantly, what NOT to teach.  The answer is NO! Keep your money and keep your hands off my kids.  You're doing a poor job with many of the ones you've already managed to snag. No one can argue that point.

   Here is one last excerpt from Neil P. McClusky of the Cato Institute in the NY Times article that ran just last week:

If nothing else, Washington would need to ensure that credits weren’t being claimed fraudulently, requiring some “proof” of home schooling. Proof, however, could eventually be defined as, say, passing scores on federally prescribed tests – just the sort of dictate many home schoolers despise. And then there’s the matter of making worse a tax code already so complicated you need an army of accountants to figure it out.
Homeschoolers deserve some breaks. At the national level, that means adhering to the Constitution and getting the federal government out of education which would benefit not just homeschoolers, but all taxpayers.

      EVERYONE who thinks that the government should be out of education, most certainly home education, should carefully consider all areas of this proposed bill.  It is NOT about homeschoolers, nor providing easier ways to educate our children at home.  It is not about equality and it is not about "tax credits".  This is about regulation and interference, because homeschoolers are ALREADY scoring higher, graduating more consistently, and colleges and Universities are scrambling to get them.  Yes, that includes Harvard, Princeton, Baylor and other ivy leagues schools. 

More to come on this... 

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6   This is my directive and I take it seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment