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What does H.R. 3200 have to do with Education?

by Tammy Drennan

Health Care Bill Endangers Families and Freedom of Education: You Can Help


How would you feel about government employees coming into your home to teach you how best to rear your children?


Sound like the plot of a futuristic novel? Unfortunately, it's not.


That's exactly what H.R. 3200, the national health care bill currently under consideration by Congress and being pushed by the president, provides for.


The bill offers funding to states to send government officials into private homes to teach moms and dads how to rear children according to state-approved criteria developed by “experts” and covering every imaginable aspect of parenting.


Home visits by state officials are, among other things, supposed to promote “activities designed to help parents become full partners in the education of their children.” (H. R. 3200, page 844)


Government clearly considers itself the primary educator of children and parents as potential full-time helpers – with the right training.


The Heritage Foundation points out that “Lawmakers have essentially inserted the “Education Begins at Home Act” – which was introduced in 2008 and again this year… – into the health care bill under the home visitation section.”


While the home visitation program of H.R. 3200 is voluntary, it still poses a great danger to the cause of independent education. The ultimate goal of the bill is for states to reach “as many families with young children (under the age of school entry) and families expecting children as practicable…” (page 842), but the most vulnerable would be targeted first – low income families, non-English-speaking families, those who could most easily be convinced that they are merely junior partners with the state in the education of their children and that their role is only to ensure “school readiness,” as instructed by the state (page 848).


Once trapped in a system of government “help” and surveillance (required under the bill in order to monitor the effectiveness of the program), it would be very hard for families to break free, both psychologically and literally.


“The Education Begins at Home Act” included among its first targets not only the families mentioned above, but also military families. Other families who could easily find themselves targeted as “at risk” include homeschoolers who choose a lower income lifestyle so mom can stay home, parents of special needs children, and families with a large number of children.


Obviously, some legislators (and, no doubt, some special interests goading them on) are bent on robbing the American people of one of the most basic and important foundations of liberty – the right to bring up our children free of government interference.


Without the liberty to rear and educate our children as we see fit, free of state pressure and control, all other liberties are at risk. The state has myriad ways of eating away at our freedom. Exploiting the most vulnerable of society and working up from there is one way.


Here's what some of the groups monitoring H.R. 3200 have to say about it:


The Foundry, The Heritage Foundation: 

Section 440 of the House bill – Home Visitation Programs for Families with Young Children and Families Expecting Children – would provide grants to states to establish home visitation programs to educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills. The “well-trained and competent staff” will:


…provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains…modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices; [and] skills to interact with their child…

Home School Legal Defense Association: 

[This bill should be opposed because it would] [e]ncourage states to pressure families to enroll their children in these home visitation programs... Page 843 requires states that receive grants from the federal government to “provide voluntary home visitation for as many families with young children and families expecting children as practicable, through the implementation or expansion of high quality home visitation programs….

National Home Education Legal Defense 

The House version of the health care legislation, H.R. 3200… contains many provisions that are worthy of questioning, not the least of which is Section 440….  


This section of the bill authorizes the provision of federal money to be given to the states on the condition that the states will develop certain programs that include “voluntary home visits” by government officials.


The visits by government officials will be through the implementation of programs that, among other things:   


“adhere to clear evidence-based models of home visitation that have demonstrated positive effects on important program-determined child and parenting outcomes, such as reducing abuse and neglect and improving child health and development”;


 “establish appropriate linkages and referrals to other community resources and supports”;


 “monitor fidelity of program implementation to ensure that services are delivered according to the specified model”;


 “provide parents with-- knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains…


  • knowledge of realistic expectations of age-appropriate child behaviors;
  • knowledge of health and wellness issues for children and parents;
  • modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices; and
  • skills to recognize and seek help for issues related to health, developmental delays, and social, emotional, and behavioral skills…”


What you can do


It is not our purpose here to address the entire 1000+ page health care bill, but we do feel it is our responsibility to point out parts of the bill that we consider threatening to the right of parents to control the education of their children.


We urge you to consider the provisions and implications of H.R. 3200. A society educated by its government soon has rulers, not representatives. Our children are counting on us to make wise decisions about the future in which they will have to live.


You can read more about the bill at the web sites quoted above. The entire bill can be read here.


Congress is in recess for the month of August. This is a good time to contact them at their home offices, though their Washington offices are still operating and will take your opinions, too. You can find contact information here.


Our children — all children — are depending on us.


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Updated August 7, 2009


Some of the more
well-known signers of our proclamation:

Ed Crane
President, Cato Institute

John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year

Fr. John A Hardon
The Catholic Catechism

Don Hodel
Former Secretary of Interior

D. James Kennedy Coral Ridge Ministries

Rev. Tim LaHaye
Left Behind

Rabbi Daniel Lapin
President, Toward Tradition

Tom Monaghan
Founder, Domino’s Pizza

Ron Paul
US Congressman, Texas

John K Rosemond
Parenting Author, Columnist, Speaker

They and thousands of others have signed Our Proclamation

"I favor ending government involvement in education."

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