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May 9, 2006

None Dare Call It Socialism

Homeschoolers believe that parents generally provide the best care for children, so when the Wyoming legislature started working on a "Quality Child Care Initiative" this year, homeschoolers got involved. The legislators made quite a few changes as they tried to find some compromise between people who put parents first and those who see the government as the answer to everything. The new law established a "Legislative Oversight Committee" to oversee progress. The Governor appointed a joint task force of the Department of Family Services and the Department of Workforce to make some initial assessments.

On Friday, April 28, the Legislative Oversight Committee held a meeting, and homeschoolers showed up to make sure Wyoming puts parents first. The Chairman, Representative Elaine Harvey (R-Lovell) gave each legislator time to present the concerns that where expressed by the House and Senate last session. Thanks to homeschoolers input during the session, the legislators wanted to address quite a few important issues. How much will this cost? How much the government should be involved in family life. How does the State decide who is "at risk," and what does the State do with such sensitive information?

The Legislature asked the Oversight Committee to look into a number of issues, including whether the whole program is even constitutional. Concerned citizens-including homeschoolers-stood up to express their opinions. Some of the most telling testimony objected to government involvement in the family and free enterprise and the negative effect of early institutionalization of children.

When one homeschool father called the whole Quality Child Care Initiative "socialism," Chairman Harvey objected. Senator Katherine Sessions (D-Cheyenne) chimed in. "This isn't socialism," she insisted. With socialism, she argued, you don't have a choice. She argued that the Quality Child Care Initiative is intended to give parents choices.

Task Force member Becky Vandeberghe responded promptly. "It may not be socialism yet, but it's moving in that direction."

Home School Legal Defense Association agrees with that assessment. If the government allowed you to choose whether or not to pay your taxes, government-funded child care might actually increase "choice." When the government takes your tax dollars to regulate and fund other people's child care, however, the power to choose goes down, not up.

The Task Force will hold hearings from now until late in the year. They are supposed to bring legislative proposals to the Legislative Oversight Committee by the first week in October, which will then try to finalize proposed legislation by November 15. We believe they need to hear from as many Wyoming citizens as possible. We will inform you where and when these hearings will take place. Please be ready to do what you can to speak up for family freedom!