Deborah G. Stevenson
P.O. Box 704
Southbury, CT 06488
Office: 860 354 3590
Cell: 203 206 4282
Fax: 860 354-9360
NHELD IS HERE TO HELP AND EMPOWER YOU.
We are here to help you defend your legal right to educate your own child.
This is a right we always have had, but there are many ways today that the right is being threatened.
Our goal is to bring to you news about current events that may affect your right, and to assist you in determining how you can protect that right.
Our motto is: Knowledge through Freedom and Freedom through Knowledge. What does that mean?
Knowledge through Freedom - our children are best able to learn according
to their needs when they have the freedom to
Freedom through Knowledge - we can remain free only through knowledge
about how we obtained our freedom in the
first place, and knowledge about how we can
keep our freedom today.
Therefore, you will see articles and posts about home education, but also about current events, which, at first glance, do not directly affect home education, but which may have some potential to affect it in the long term.
We urge you, as always, to have an open mind about all information, and conduct your own research into each topic, article, post, entity, and individual involved.
Some things may appear, at first glance, to be wonderful, but upon deeper review, may be extremely detrimental, now, or in the future.
Be on guard, be aware, share information appropriately, and together we will prevail.
AMENDING FEDERAL LAW TO INCLUDE MEMBERSHIP OF HOMESCHOOLERS IN JUNIOR ROTC PROGRAMS -
ANY PROBLEMS WITH THAT?
January 20, 2020
In a word, yes, quite possibly.
It is reported in the Military Times that in the newly approved National Defense Authorization Act a provision was added allowing homeschoolers membership in Junior ROTC programs.
You can find the article here:
While, on its face, this appears to be a very good thing, but, sometimes good things come with unintended consequences.
First, it is always better to go directly to the actual source to read the entire bill, rather than relying on any internet source for a synopsis.
In this case, the actual source lies at <congress.gov>.
Federal bills tend to be very lengthy, and this one is extremely so. The provision about homeschool membership in Junior ROTC is one small part of it. It is Section 513 of Part B of the bill. You can find it here:
Of course, that Section is to be added to the existing law, which is 10 U.S.C. §2031. That law can be found under the United States Code, which can be found here:
Section 513 of the National Defense Authorization Act, when signed by the President, will be added onto the end of 10 U.S.C. §2031 as Section (g).
Putting all of that together for your ease of reference, you can find it below this article.
Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Consider the highlighted portions in particular.
Two things are important to remember: (1) anytime the term, “homeschooler”, appears in a federal statute, unintended consequences could follow; and (2) the language in the statute, itself, could lead to unintended consequences.
“Homeschooling” is a term coined recently to describe the unalienable right of parents to the upbringing and education of their own children. Right now, each State determines whether, or not, to “regulate” that right.
The Constitution provides for the military, and Congress, can adopt laws affecting the military. Anyone enrolled in a military program, undoubtedly, must follow those laws.
Placing the term, “homeschooling” into a federal law of any kind, however, can have unintended consequences because, now, rather than the State, and the people in that State, having control over whether “homeschooling” is “regulated”, the federal government has interposed itself into that arena, even if intending to “help” homeschoolers.
As we all know, it is far easier to influence local legislators, than it is to influence legislators in Washington, D.C.
Will there come a time when legislators in Washington, D.C. will adopt more laws affecting homeschoolers? It is possible.
Will those additional laws all be for the benefit of homeschoolers to remain free to homeschool as they and their children need? It is possible, but how many laws does Congress adopt each year that are all for the benefit of anyone to remain free to do as they need?
Even though this law may benefit many children, look at the language in the law again.
In plain English, the new amendment says that public schools shall permit membership of homeschoolers into the Junior ROTC program at that public school.
The original federal statute says the Secretary of each military department shall establish Junior ROTC units at public schools, and the public school agrees to limit the membership in the unit to students “whom attain acceptable standards of academic achievement and conduct, as prescribed by the Secretary of the military department…” In other words, the public school will still limit the membership to students who “attain acceptable standards of academic achievement” developed by the federal government.
That raises several questions.
What are those “acceptable standards of academic achievement” for homeschoolers?
We don’t know yet.
We do know that the Secretary of each military department will establish those “acceptable standards of academic achievement”.
The Secretary is in Washington, D.C.
Do you have a lot of influence on what those acceptable standards for homeschoolers will be?
How will those standards for homeschoolers be deemed “acceptable”?
Who will deem them “acceptable”?
Will the public school hosting the program be in charge of that?
Will whoever is in charge need to review your homeschool program and approve it?
How will that be done? In your home? At the public school?
Will they review what the homeschooling program that you did before the child entered the program and determine the child is not eligible for the program, unless you do as they say?
Will you have to re-do your child’s homeschool program in order to enter Junior ROTC?
Did the legislators, or other supporters, of this new law ask those questions before adopting the law?
If they did, what are the answers to those questions?
If either the military, or the public school, is now allowed to review your homeschool program and “approve” it, how will that affect homeschoolers long term?
Certainly, those involved in the program will be entering the program voluntarily and agree to these terms. If that is something that an individual family wants, that is their choice. Understand, however, that homeschooling for that family will no longer be under the control of the parent. That means loss of freedom. Understand that full well, before making your choice.
Understand, also, that the unintended consequences may be that freedom for other homeschoolers, who do not join the program, may be affected long term, as well.
It is possible that this could be a first step to making it easier for public schools, or any government officials, to have a say in how they homeschool. One thing is for sure: the more laws that are put in place, the harder it is to roll them back. After all, remember, also, that historically, incrementalism has worked to chip away at other freedoms.
Is it possible this will make it easier for government officials to do the same with homeschooling freedoms? Maybe.
Time will tell.
This is only one example. There are many well-meaning people in government trying to help people with all kinds of issues. One thing that they must consider, however, regarding any law they propose to adopt, each time they propose to adopt it, is whether the law will have unintended consequences in the long term that will make it easier to lose our freedom.
We must all be vigilant against losing our freedom, every day. Just ask Thomas Jefferson. He warned us to do just that.
If you value your freedom, regardless of whether you are a lawmaker or an individual, always think before you support what seems to be a good idea.
Think of the long term unintended consequences, and choose wisely.
The full statute is below:
§ 2031. Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps
(a) (1) The Secretary of each military department shall establish and maintain a Junior
Reserve Officers' Training Corps, organized into units, at public and private
secondary educational institutions which apply for a unit and meet the standards
and criteria prescribed pursuant to this section. The President shall promulgate
regulations prescribing the standards and criteria to be followed by the military
departments in selecting the institutions at which units are to be established and
maintained and shall provide for the fair and equitable distribution of such units
throughout the Nation, except that more than one such unit may be established
and maintained at any military institute.
(2) It is a purpose of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps to instill in students in
United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service
to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.
(b) No unit may be established or maintained at an institution unless-
(1) the number of physically fit students in such unit who are in a grade above the 8th
grade and are citizens or nationals of the United States, or aliens lawfully admitted
to the United States for permanent residence, is not less than (A) 10 percent of the
number of students enrolled in the institution who are in a grade above the 8th
grade, or (B) 100, whichever is less;
(2) the institution has adequate facilities for classroom instruction, storage of arms and
other equipment which may be furnished in support of the unit, and adequate drill
areas at or in the immediate vicinity of the institution, as determined by the
Secretary of the military department concerned;
(3) the institution provides a course of military instruction of not less than three
academic years' duration, as prescribed by the Secretary of the military department
(4) the institution agrees to limit membership in the unit to students who maintain
acceptable standards of academic achievement and conduct, as prescribed by the
Secretary of the military department concerned; and
(5) the unit meets such other requirements as may be established by the Secretary of
the military department concerned.
(c) The Secretary of the military department concerned shall, to support the Junior Reserve
Officers' Training Corps program-
(1) detail officers and noncommissioned officers of an armed force under his
jurisdiction to institutions having units of the Corps as administrators and
(2) provide necessary text materials, equipment, and uniforms and, to the extent
considered appropriate by the Secretary concerned, such additional resources
(including transportation and billeting) as may be available to support activities of
the program; and
(3) establish minimum acceptable standards for performance and achievement for
(d) Instead of, or in addition to, detailing officers and noncommissioned officers on active duty
under subsection (c)(1), the Secretary of the military department concerned may authorize
qualified institutions to employ, as administrators and instructors in the program, retired
officers and noncommissioned officers who are in receipt of retired pay, and members of
the Fleet Reserve and Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, whose qualifications are approved by
the Secretary and the institution concerned and who request such employment, subject to
(1) A retired member so employed is entitled to receive the member's retired or
retainer pay without reduction by reason of any additional amount paid to the
member by the institution concerned. In the case of payment of any such additional
amount by the institution concerned, the Secretary of the military department
concerned shall pay to that institution the amount equal to one-half of the amount
paid to the retired member by the institution for any period, up to a maximum of
one-half of the difference between the member's retired or retainer pay for that
period and the active duty pay and allowances which the member would have
received for that period if on active duty. Notwithstanding the limitation in the
preceding sentence, the Secretary concerned may pay to the institution more than
one-half of the additional amount paid to the retired member by the institution if (as
determined by the Secretary) the institution is in an educationally and economically
deprived area and the Secretary determines that such action is in the national
interest. Payments by the Secretary concerned under this paragraph shall be
made from funds appropriated for that purpose.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, such a retired member is not, while so
employed, considered to be on active duty or inactive duty training for any
(e) Instead of, or in addition to, detailing officers and noncommissioned officers on active duty
under subsection (c)(1) and authorizing the employment of retired officers and
noncommissioned officers who are in receipt of retired pay and members of the Fleet
Reserve and Fleet Marine Corps Reserve under subsection (d), the Secretary of the
military department concerned may authorize qualified institutions to employ as
administrators and instructors in the program officers and noncommissioned officers who
are under 60 years of age and who, but for age, would be eligible for retired pay for nonregular
service under section 12731 of this title and whose qualifications are approved by
the Secretary and the institution concerned and who request such employment, subject to
(1) The Secretary concerned shall pay to the institution an amount equal to one-half of
the amount paid to the member by the institution for any period, up to a maximum
of one-half of the difference between-
(A) the retired or retainer pay for an active duty officer or noncommissioned
officer of the same grade and years of service for such period; and
(B) the active duty pay and allowances which the member would have received
for that period if on active duty.
(2) Notwithstanding the limitation in paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned may pay
to the institution more than one-half of the amount paid to the member by the
institution if (as determined by the Secretary)-
(A) the institution is in an educationally and economically deprived area; and
(B) the Secretary determines that such action is in the national interest.
(3) Payments by the Secretary concerned under this subsection shall be made from
funds appropriated for that purpose.
(4) Amounts may be paid under this subsection with respect to a member after the
member reaches the age of 60.
(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a member employed by a qualified
institution pursuant to an authorization under this subsection is not, while so
employed, considered to be on active duty or inactive duty training for any
(f) (1) When determined by the Secretary of the military department concerned to be in
the national interest and agreed upon by the institution concerned, the institution
may reimburse a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps instructor for moving
expenses incurred by the instructor to accept employment at the institution in a
position that the Secretary concerned determines is hard-to-fill for geographic or
(2) As a condition on providing reimbursement under paragraph (1), the institution
shall require the instructor to execute a written agreement to serve a minimum of
two years of employment at the institution in the hard-to-fill position.
(3) Any reimbursement provided to an instructor under paragraph (1) is in addition to
the minimum instructor pay otherwise payable to the instructor.
(4) The Secretary concerned shall reimburse an institution providing reimbursement to
an instructor under paragraph (1) in an amount equal to the amount of the
reimbursement paid by the institution under that paragraph. Any reimbursement
provided by the Secretary concerned shall be provided from funds appropriated for
(5) The provision of reimbursement under paragraph (1) or (4) shall be subject to
regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for purposes of this subsection.
SEC. 513. INCLUSION OF HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS IN JUNIOR RESERVE OFFICERS’ TRAINING CORPS UNITS.
Section 2031 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘‘(g)(1) Each public secondary educational institution that maintains a unit under this section shall permit membership in the unit to homeschooled students residing in the area served by the institution who are qualified for membership in the unit (but for lack of enrollment in the institution).
‘‘(2) A student who is a member of a unit pursuant to this subsection shall count toward the satisfaction by the institution concerned of the requirement in subsection (b)(1) relating to the minimum number of student members in the unit necessary for the continuing maintenance of the unit.’’.
January 11, 2020
ANOTHER GOVERNMENT FAILURE LEAVES YET ANOTHER CHILD DEAD.
There is an article about the very tragic case of a child’s death at the hands of an abusive father in the news.
You can read the article here:
NHELD (National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC), hopes you take the time to read the article, and also to think critically about it.
So many things are wrong with this article, that I hardly know where to begin.
First of all, this has nothing to do with homeschooling.
How do I know that?
If we can take the “facts” reported in the article at face value, the article says two things:
“Collins died on Dec. 13, 2019, a year and a half after relatives pulled him out of Dayton Public Schools to for home-schooling.”
“Police say Collins suffered from years of extreme abuse by his father, and that the boy showed signs of being severely beaten.”
If both “facts” are true, obviously this is not about homeschooling.
The child was “pulled” from public school for homeschooling only “a year and a half” ago. But “police say” the child “suffered from years of extreme abuse by his father”.
Logic dictates, then, that the abuse was occurring well before any homeschooling.
In fact, it was occurring while the child was enrolled in the public school.
Apparently, enrollment in the public school, under the so-called watchful eyes of all the folks in that school, including possibly the school social worker and guidance counselor, did not prevent the child from undergoing “years” of abuse.
How do I know that? I know that because the article says,
“Teachers at Collins’ school had repeatedly called authorities about the matter in 2018, but authorities closed the investigation after their house calls went unanswered.”
Assuming those “facts” are accurate, the teachers in the public school knew about the abuse, apparently for years. They, rightfully, reported the abuse to the proper “authorities”. Nonetheless, the child continued to be abused.
The public school teachers could not prevent it.
This is a story about abuse. It is not a story about the type of education the child was receiving while he was being abused.
Obviously, the type of education the child was receiving had absolutely nothing to do with the child being abused.
What the heading of this story should be is this:
Despite having sufficient laws on the books to prevent abuse of children, and despite having established a plethora of “authorities” to investigate reports of child abuse, and to ensure the safety of a child alleged to be abused, the “authorities” failed to do their job again, and another child is dead because of it.
Each state has laws against child abuse.
Each state has “authorities” dedicated to investigating child abuse and preventing harm to the child.
Those laws are designed to investigate child abuse wherever it occurs, regardless of the type of education a child receives.
The problem lies not with the laws. In addition, of course to the abuser, the problem lies with those charged with enforcing and implementing those laws.
Read the most crucial phrase in the story again. It is this: “but authorities closed the investigation after their house calls went unanswered”.
If that “fact” is accurate, the “authorities” seemed to have knocked on the door of the house where the child lived, and when no one
opened the door, they went away.
They “closed” the case.
That’s dereliction of duty.
Those “authorities” who just went away and “closed” the case when the abuser failed to open the door should be fired.
As an attorney, I know that there are many things those “authorities” could have, and should have, done to prevent that child’s further harm.
One very simple thing that they could have done is this:
Assuming they had more than enough probable cause to believe the child was being abused, since the public school teachers “repeatedly” called them and told them he was being abused because “the boy showed signs of being severely beaten”, the “authorities” could have gone to a judge and asked for a court order to enter the home to view the child, or to take temporary custody of the child for a physical examination. At the very least, at any point, those “authorities” had sufficient probable cause to ask the police to do a “welfare check” on the child.
If the “facts” in the article are accurate, apparently the “authorities” did not even do that.
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and time will tell whether the father was the abuser. If he was, then he should be punished to the full extent of the law.
However, the abuser is not the only one to be blamed here.
The “authorities” also share the blame.
They knew about the abuse.
They failed to take the steps they could have.
A child is dead as a result.
This is not about homeschooling. It’s not about public school. This is about the evil of child abuse. But it’s also about properly implementing the laws against child abuse that already exist.
We trust our “authorities” to do their job. Once again, they have failed to do so. A child is dead because of it.
His name was Takoda Collins. Never forget that name. He didn’t deserve to die.
Unfortunately, this same thing happened in Connecticut not long ago. That child’s name was Matthew Tirado. Never forget his
name either. He also didn’t deserve to die.
His abuser was punished.
The “authorities” in Connecticut, who also failed to do a “welfare check” on the child, and walked away when the abuser did not open the
door, have not been punished.
They have not even been fired.
Will those “authorities” in Ohio be punished for not doing their job?
Will they even be fired?
Will the people of Ohio stand up and demand the “authorities” come to terms with their failures?
Or, will they be duped by headlines highlighting the type of education the child received, and allow the “authorities”, once again, to go unpunished for their failures and their part in the death of yet another child?
Time will tell.
WHAT IS ALEC AND WHY DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
ALEC stands for American Legislative Exchange Council.
You can find it here: https://www.alec.org
It purports to be a non-profit organization providing a forum for state legislators from all across the country to discuss business and economic interests facing the states and to exchange ideas for solutions. Alec also claims to “value” “public-private partnerships” in policy discussions.
Legislators attend meetings and events set up by ALEC, which are held in private. No one from the public is allowed inside such meetings.
ALEC then assists the legislators by providing them with “model bills” that the legislators can take back home and introduce them into their own House and Senate. In effect, ALEC drafts legislation for the legislators, doing the research and leg work for them, making the legislators’ lives easier. The legislators, in turn, after having been pitched the ideas in these “model bills”, accept them as valuable, and promote them for acceptance in their States.
This is one reason why you see the same idea for legislation, virtually the same bills, appear in State after State.
This is no accident. This is the goal.
Sometimes, you may approve of the content of such bills, other times, you may not. The point is, you need to know who is promoting the bills, and why they are doing so.
Understand that hatever the bill is, it may not be an original idea of your local State Senator or Representative. Your local State Senator or Representative may have attended an Alec meeting sometime prior to proposing the bill. Although he thought he was engaging in a free exchange of ideas, in reality, he may have been manipulated, unknowingly, into buying into an idea that was part of the larger agenda of ALEC, and the folks who pay for the existence of ALEC. In other words, your local State Senator or Representative may have been targeted by well funded lobbyists working in the guise of a great sounding “non-profit” organization.
There are pros and cons to everything, of course, but you need to know what those pros and cons are before you act. Check out the ALEC website, but also check out the websites of ALEC critics, such as alecexposed.org. The more you are informed about both sides, the better decisions you can make. Keep in mind, this is not just a right wing or a left wing tactic employed by these well funded organizations.. Both sides engage in this sort of lobbying.. This is about the same things most things are about: money, power, and control. This is about you, as an individual, recognizing what is happening, taking appropriate action to hold your elected officials accountable, and retaining your authority as free people.
Remember, ALEC is not the only such organization that may have an ulterior motive or agenda, that sounds like a great organization doing great work, but may not be so great after all. Anytime you see one State after another proposing similar or identical bills, especially on critically important issues, you should think about organizations such as ALEC, do your research, and ask your legislators where they came up with their idea, and why. Ask who is lobbying your legislators, and who actually is writing the legislation? ,
Remember also, according to the U.S. Constitution, and most State Constitutions, only elected legislators have the constitutional authority to write legislation. They do not have the authority to delegate that duty to anyone else, not even to staff lawyers, let alone powerful corporations or non-profit entities. Tell your legislators that when they do delegate that authority, they do so unlawfully. Tell them to do their own work and to accept their own responsibility. After all, that is what they were elected to do, and that is what they swore under oath to do. Hold them accountable to their word.
ALEC PROPOSES MODEL LEGISLATION FOR HOMESCHOOLING
BUT DON’T BE DUPED
A while ago, NHELD warned about a group called ALEC. American Legislative Exchange Council. Basically, it’s a national lobbying group that writes bills on a variety of topics and persuades legislators in each state to adopt the bills as their own. That way, ALEC promotes its own agenda across the country.
It seems that ALEC now has written a bill regarding homeschooling. Do not be duped by this.
You can see the summary of what they are calling the “Homeschool Credential Recognition Act” at their website.
This is what they call a “Model Policy”. This one was drafted on November 5, 2019, and is quoted below.
Issuance of a diploma or other appropriate credential
(a) A diploma or credential issued by a person who administers a program of secondary education in a home school setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the recipient meets the requirement of having a high school diploma or its equivalent.
(b) No state or local agency or institution of higher learning in this state may reject or otherwise treat a person differently based solely on the source of such a diploma or credential.
Verification of enrollment
The parent or guardian shall have the authority to execute any document required by law, rule, regulation, or policy to evidence the enrollment of a child in an educational program provided in a home school setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements, the student’s full-time or part-time status, the student’s grades, or any other required educational information.”
On first reading, it sounds kind of innocuous, right? Even helpful? But let’s think about it more closely, and consider possible consequences.
When a legislature proposes this as its own bill, how will they define a “program of secondary education”? How will they define a “home school setting”? Could the legislature define these terms in such a way as to eliminate the freedom parents have now to instruct their own children?
More importantly, is homeschooling considered “an exemption from compulsory attendance” in your state, or, is homeschooling simply a modern day term we call what parents always have had a fundamental right, and freedom, to do? There are states where it has been the right and duty of parents to instruct their own children since the days of the colonies. Public school was a much later development, and compulsory attendance in a public school was developed later still. Yet, the language in this Model Policy, if adopted, would place in statutory law that homeschooling is only an “exemption” to compulsory education, in essence, making public school the norm, rather than the rights of parents the norm.
In addition, what will be the definition of “Verification of enrollment”? in fact, “enrollment” traditionally is a term used by public and private schools. No child is “enrolled” in a family or homeschool. Could “enrollment” come to mean “registration” with the state? Could “verification of enrollment” come to mean that?
How will the phrase, “qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements” be defined? What if a homeschool doesn’t “qualify”? Who will determine “qualification”? Who will determine “verification of enrollment”?
If a legislature proposes such a bill, seemingly the government would be granting to itself the power to “give” to parents “the authority to execute any document” required to evidence enrollment in a qualified home school program. Parents already have that power. It’s called being a parent, and having a fundamental Constitutionally protected right to the upbringing and education of children. Do you really want the government to tell you that you only have the right to issue a document about the education of your children when the government tells you that you can?
Basically, government would be inserting itself in yet another way into the education of your children in your home.
The only difference is that they would be doing it in a way that makes you think that they are doing you a favor and “protecting” you from discrimination.
NHELD opposes this kind of legislation.
NHELD supports the freedom that parents already have to the upbringing and education of their children. Be careful when you read about government “helping” you. Research before you draw conclusions. Think before you act.