Homeschool Tax Credit Bill Introduced in DC

Yesterday, Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole introduced H.R. 1850, the Home School Equity Act for Tax Relief.  I wonder who was lobbying for this controversial bill.

Many homeschoolers are extremely wary of federal “home school” legislation.  Illinois is a state with our homeschooling responsibilities wrapped around the private school compulsory attendance exemption.

From Representative Cole’s press release:   

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today introduced H.R. 1850, the Home School Equity Act for Tax Relief. This legislation allows home school families to receive the same tax deduction currently offered to elementary and secondary teachers for education expenses. Currently, home school families are only eligible for this tax credit in states where they are defined as “private” schools; H.R. 1850 would make this definition apply to all fifty states.

“Home school students have increasingly become recognized for their academic achievement and high performance levels,” said Congressman Cole. “As valuable contributors to our nation’s academic future and with more than 1.5 million students nationwide, it makes sense that home school families should also receive this tax credit.

“Choosing to educate children at home is not an easy or inexpensive decision for parents. It requires hours of time teaching and planning, commitment by at least one parent to stay at home and thousands of dollars spent for educational supplies each year. For families in many communities, home schooling is also the only alternative to failing public schools. In order for families to continue providing quality education at home, it is essential that they have the best resources for that success.

“Home school families are directly training up the next generation of leaders. We should support their continued success.”

You may contact Representative Cole.  There are no other sponsors.

Tell Legislators “No Thanks to Tax Credits” Taking Charge - Larry and Susan Kaseman

Interest is increasing in privatization of education, including tax credits for homeschoolers. An example is a January 4, 2011 piece on The New York Times Web site. However, tax credits would undermine our homeschooling freedoms. It is time for us to tell our federal and state legislators that we do not want tax credits, especially since legislators will be hearing directly and/or through the media from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a national organization that supports tax credits and is giving legislators and others incorrect and misleading information.

This column discusses reasons why tax credits would lead to increased government regulation of homeschooling and counters statements by an HSLDA lawyer in the Times piece. It suggests action we can take and includes a sample letter to legislators.

Background

Our previous column (HEM, JF/11, Beware of Privatization of Education) explains why tax credits for homeschoolers are likely to be part of a general move toward privatization of education by the new Republican majority in the US House of Representatives and many state legislatures. Although Republicans have generally been more supportive of homeschooling than Democrats, so-called government “favors” for homeschoolers come with strings attached.

The Times Web site includes a series called “Room for Debate” in which “The Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues.” On January 4, 2011, the topic was “Do Home Schoolers Deserve a Tax Break? Some conservatives want a federal credit for families who teach their children at home. What are its chances in the new Congress?” Seven people with various backgrounds, political affiliations, and perspectives responded. Do Home Schoolers Deserve a Tax Break?

Refusing the Carrot

The NY Times put most homeschoolers into an undesirable, non-bid for fame.  We’ve been profiled as a special interest group wanting something (money) from these “new Republicans”.   I don’t know about many other homeschoolers, but I’d rather step out of this particular limelight of perceived hands held out. As an Illinois homeschooler, my husband and I have known we could use the Illinois Education Tax Credit for some years, but decided it wasn’t worth it for various reasons. We learned some time ago that our freedom is worth more than money. More here


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