Today I was looking up the website for the Home School Legal Defense Association for my homeschooling website. I can never remember if they are a .com or a .org. I may not agree with their political stance most of the time but I have to acknowledge that they are a homeschool resource that some people may want. While I was on their website I came across a link that took me to a brief article on the Education Begins at Home Act and why they are watching it. I was sure that they were over-reacting to something and had to look up the full text of the bill myself.
It was the Education Begins at Home Act, otherwise known as H.R. 2343 and S. 667, that prompted me to start a political blog. I had one up briefly when I was convinced that a friend of mine was running for congress, but now I am not sure if he is serious about it because he has a lot on his plate right now. I guess I will find out soon enough. I have to admit that I was happier before I became interested in politics. I was living in ignorant bliss which is a hell of a lot less scary than know what is going on. Over the last several months I have found myself saying that people do not become interested in politics until something affects them directly. Today I wonder if people just don’t ignore it and hope it goes away.
I found myself wondering why more people don’t speak up about political circus that our government has become and realized that more often than not people don’t know what is going on, or they don’t care. Maybe it is a combination of both. I don’t know. For those that do care but don’t know what is going on, I am going to start with H.R. 2343.
It was introduced into the House in February 2007 by Rep. Danny Davis (D) from Illinois where it has 41 cosponsors. In May 2007 it was introduced into the Senate as S. 667 by Sen. Christoper Bond from Missouri (R) and 30 cosponsors there. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton support this bill. I bring the two of them up specifically because they are battling for that party nomination for president.
The purpose of H.R. 2343 is: to expand quality programs of early childhood home visitation that increase school readiness, child abuse and neglect prevention, and early identification of developmental and health delays, including potential mental health concerns, and for other purposes.
On the surface it seems benign enough but as you continue to read through the 56 pages that make up this bill and outline where $50,000,000.00 is to be used between 2008 and 2010 to carry out this program it becomes clear that if this bill is indeed passed it comes very close to violating, at the very least, the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. What seems like a good idea to expand and improve programs that are already in place, this bill, if it were to become law, opens up the door of everyones family to government involvement.
Congress finds that
Section 2(a)(2) – through parent education and family support, we can promote parents’ ability to enhance their children’s development from birth until entry into kindergarten thereby helping parents to prepare their children for success in school.
Section 2(a)(5) – early childhood home visitation leads to positive outcomes for children and families, including readiness for school, improved child health and development, positive parenting practices and reductions in child maltreatment.
The purposes of this Act are as follows:
Section 2(b)(1) – To enable States, Indian tribes, tribal organizations, territories, or possessions to deliver quality programs of early childhood home visitation to pregnant women and parents of children from birth until early entry into kindergarten in order to promote positive outcomes for children and families including: readiness for school, improved child health and development, positive parenting practices, reduction in child maltreatment, and enhanced parenting abilities to support their children’s optimal cognitive, language, social-emotional, and physical development.
Section 2(b)(6) – To make available for parents of newborn children parenting classes that convey information about the importance of proper care for newborns, including information about symptoms of abuse , head and other injuries.
Scared yet? You should be.
Section three goes on to define what constitutes an eligible family for these services. A WOMAN WHO IS PREGNANT AND THE FATHER OF THE CHILD IF THE FATHER IS AVAILABLE.
This isn’t targeted at low income families or other families that are otherwise considered “at risk” by the government. This is targeted to everyone including primary caregivers who maybe grandparents, other relatives, foster parents, and noncustodial parents. States will be eligible for grants to help carry out this program provided they share all their reports with the federal government in the name of research, including information what parenting classes that the parents took and how well they did in them.
Any state receiving grant money shall
Section 4(c)(2)(f)(1) – provide to as many eligible families in the State as practicable, voluntary early childhood home visitation, on not less frequently than a monthly basis with greater frequency of services for those eligible families identified with additional needs through the implementation of quality programs of early childhood home visitation that –
Section 4(c)(2)(f)(1)(I) – ascertains what health and developmental services the family receives and work with these providers to eliminate gaps in service by offering annual health, vision, hearing and developmental screen for children from birth to entry into kindergarten, when not otherwise provided.
I am not going to argue that there aren’t crappy parents out there. There are. However, that number is relatively low. When you consider that 51% of all reports made to Child Protective Services turns out to be false and that 49% of the cases that the Department of Social Services feel need to be investigated are unsubstantiated reports the numbers don’t add up to the entire population of parents needing a government babysitter.
Picture for a moment that you find out that you are finally pregnant and go to your doctor. Your doctor will then have to report that you are pregnant. You will then be visited by some government person whose job it will be to ensure that you go to government approved parenting classes and attend all your prenatal appointments. After your child is born this person will continue to visit you once a month until that child is five to make sure that you are taking proper care of your child, that you are following the vaccine schedule approved by the CDC, that you are making routine and regular doctors appointments for your child, that your child undergoes screening for learning disabilities, developmental delays and any other form of mental disability. If you are eligible you will have to send your child to preschool in the form of Head Start, enroll in WIC, the food stamp program and state funded health insurance, even if you don’t want to.
Is this how the average person wants to live, constantly under the supervision of some government agency being told how to raise their children? Prince George’s County in Maryland recently forced a large number of parents into court ordered vaccines or risk jail time and fines. How much control do we, as a society, want the government to have? Where do we draw the line?