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July 14, 2015

Tell Your Senator that Expanded Federal
Pre-Kindergarten is Not the Answer!

Andrew Mullins,
Deputy Director of Federal Relations

Andrew MullinsAndrew Mullins has been deputy director of federal relations since 2014.

Call your two U.S. senators now and ask them to oppose Sen. Bob Casey’s “Strong Start” amendment. Encourage them to vote against expansive government involvement in pre-kindergarten programs.

You can reach your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking for them by name. You can also use HSLDA’s legislative toolbox to find your U.S. senators and their contact information.

Background: ESEA Reauthorization

July heat isn’t the only thing warming up Washington, D.C. this summer. As Congress decides whether to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), debate on this 800-page education bill has ranged from provisions surrounding the controversial Common Core State Standards to the inclusion of the “A-PLUS” amendment.

The House passed its version of the ESEA reauthorization (The Student Success Act) last week. Now legislators on both sides of the aisle are focused on adding amendments to the Senate’s version of the ESEA reauthorization (known as the Every Child Achieves Act).

Homeschoolers are exempt from the provisions of both the House and Senate versions of the ESEA reauthorization. Nevertheless, amendments that seek to increase government involvement in preschool education still pose a threat to homeschool rights.

Attempts to Expand Federal Involvement in Pre-Kindergarten

The Strong Start for America’s Children Act, an amendment proposed by Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, seeks to fix failures in America’s school systems with exactly the wrong solution—increasing the federal government’s role in pre-kindergarten programs.

The amendment’s stated purpose is “to promote access to high-quality kindergarten and high-quality early childhood education programs and settings for children.” But it intends to do this by pressuring the states to increase enrollment in preschool and kindergarten programs.

Such an approach ignores the fact that parents are best equipped to educate their children when they are kept free from burdensome regulations. By incentivizing state adoption of early education programs, parents will be pressured to turn over the education of their youngest children to expansive federal pre-kindergarten programs. This pressure to increase enrollment in early education programs will spill over into homeschool rights, and will make it harder for parents to teach their kids at home without government interference.

The immediate impact of this amendment on homeschoolers could range from Common Core-like provisions that collect data on young students to state legislative efforts that seek to reduce the compulsory attendance age to 4 or younger.

Now is the time for you to get involved. As the Senate continues to debate the ESEA reauthorization, call your senator and voice your concerns about expansive pre-kindergarten spending. For more information about HSLDA’s position on the Every Child Achieves Act, visit our bill page.

If you have any questions, please contact us at federalrelations@hslda.org or call us at 540-338-5600

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