Introducing H.J. Res. 42
The introduction of the Parental Rights Amendment in the U.S. Congress (H.J. Res. 42) was announced at a press conference yesterday afternoon (4/1/09). Below is the body of parentalrights.org president Michael Farris's powerful speech from that event. If your Congressman or Senator is not already onboard, we urge you to copy and paste that message into an email or letter to send to them, along with your own personal message. (Check the sponsors list; find contact info.) This message clearly articulates the need for the Amendment; it is imperative that we get it into the hands of all of America's lawmakers.
Statement of Michael Farris
President of ParentalRights.org
March 31, 2009
On behalf of ParentalRights.org and the rapidly growing number of allied organizations, I want to thank Senator Jim DeMint, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, and my own Congressman Frank Wolf for their leadership on this important issue.
There are two basic reasons that the Constitution has been amended throughout our history. Sometimes the need is to preserve our law and traditions from potential threats and erosion of our rights. The Bill of Rights serves as the chief example of amendments designed to preserve the existing rights of the people.
At other times, it is absolutely necessary to change the existing law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were clearly necessary to end the evils of slavery and establish the principle of equal protection for all Americans.
The Parental Rights Amendment follows the pattern of the Bill of Rights—the goal of this Amendment is to preserve our existing law and traditions against judicial erosion and the ever-growing threat of international law.
Sections 1 and 2 of this Amendment do nothing more than restate the time-honored doctrines of the Supreme Court on parental rights. We are simply changing parental rights from an implied right based on judicial opinions to an express right based upon actual constitutional text.
Section 1 faithfully employs the words and phrasing of the Supreme Court's decision of Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), to declare that the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
Section 2 carefully follows the words of the Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), to declare that parental rights, while very important, have limits. The government may intervene when the interest is of the highest order and not otherwise served. This section is a correct statement of current law. Today, when the government has proper evidence of child abuse or neglect, it may and should prosecute a parent who is responsible for such behavior.
Section 2 ensures that this principle remains intact. Parental rights are fundamental, but they are not absolute.
Section 3 preserves the current principle that only American laws govern the relationship between parents and children in this country. The use of international law is a rapidly growing trend in our judicial system. One federal district judge in New York has on two separate occasions ruled that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child already binds the United States under the doctrine of customary international law. An Ohio court ruled on an obviously flawed premise that this treaty had already been ratified by the Senate, and therefore ordered parents to stop smoking because it harmed the health of their children.
Section 3 makes it clear that the only law which can be used in American courts regarding American families is the law made in America by our legislatures or the people themselves. The use of international law for domestic purposes is utterly contrary to the idea that this nation is a self-governing Republic.
This section is necessary especially in the context of international law. Under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, international legal obligations are of superior rank to national law—even if that law is from the national constitution. However, there is an exception. Article 46 of the VCLT says that when the national constitution makes an exception concerning the power to enter treaties, then the national law still triumphs even in the face of an inconsistent treaty obligation.
Section 3 makes it unconstitutional for this nation to enter into a treaty that gives away our sovereignty on the subject of American parents and American children.
This should be a bi-partisan issue. President Obama recently declared, "In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father." Every member of Congress who agrees with the President on this principle should be in favor of this Amendment.
Every member of Congress who believes that Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), was correctly decided should be in favor of Section 1.
Every member of Congress who believes that Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), was correctly decided should be in favor of Section 2.
And every member of Congress who believes that only American legislators should make public policy for American families should be in favor of Section 3.
On this last point, a post-election Zogby poll (sponsored by WorldNetDaily) makes it clear that virtually every sector of the American public agrees with this last proposition.
When asked if they wanted American judges to use American law alone or to also consider international law in making decisions, by an overwhelming margin, the American public rejected the idea of using international law for these purposes.
This is a bipartisan issue in America among voters, and I truly hope and believe that it will become a bipartisan issue on the Hill. The gap between the values of Capitol Hill and the values of the American people has grown too large on too many issues. This is the very best place to show the American public that we all can work together for shared values.
- The majority of Republican voters reject international law.
- So do the majority of Democratic voters.
- Those who voted for McCain reject international law.
- A majority of those who voted for Obama reject it as well.
- Union members reject international law.
- NRA members reject international law.
- Every region of the nation rejects international law.
- Every age group rejects international law.
- Every racial group rejects international law.
Both political parties say they are for family values. And this will demonstrate meaningful support for the family.
This Amendment preserves two essential values: the value that good families, not government, have the right to make decisions for children; and that America, not the UN or any other nation, gets to make our public policy to govern the critical relationship between parents and children.
Checklist for Starting a School Year
by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Pray for wisdom, guidance, and strength (Prov. 3:5-6). Make a daily quiet time with God top priority.
Maintain good communication with your spouse at each step in the process. One parent may do most of the research, planning, or teaching, but the other should be informed and involved in decision-making, especially setting goals.
Write out, or review, your long-range goals and philosophy (fundamental convictions) for your children's education and training. Include Bible verses and plan for both academic subjects and nonacademic areas such as character and life skills.
Make changes or additions as you gain insight and experience.
Take inventory of each child's knowledge, skills, and character. You may use standardized tests, publishers' diagnostics, or homemade oral or written tests in addition to your everyday observations.
Set objectives for each child that will move him toward your long-range goals. (Several children can share similar objectives in subjects like history or science. They would usually be at different levels in math and have different needs in character development.)
You may find a publisher's scope and sequence or a list of concepts usually taught at each level helpful for ideas or a guide in choosing materials to fit your objectives.
Discuss these objectives with each child privately, and explain how they fit into the big picture of his future.
Consider various teaching methods, curriculum, and other available resources. Basic differences involve the degree of structure or flexibility you wish to use at each stage of your child's development.
If possible, visit a curriculum fair.
Rework your budget, allocating funds for educational materials. You may be able to spend less on "school" clothes or transportation and emphasize learning tools, books, and games for gifts. Less expensive foods that require more preparation cut costs and also provide life skills education.
Add to your family's library of reference books, quality literature, and educational audio-visual and software aids that will help meet your objectives.
Learn how to use your local library system and how to reserve books or order them through interlibrary loans. Explore the reference section. Also browse through your church library.
Choose and list the methods and materials that you will use to meet your objectives for each child this year. Then, ideally, order or collect materials early!
Textbooks or workbooks can be supplemented with unit studies, games, projects, etc., to cover all objectives.
You may select only parts of some books if the other material will be (or was) covered at another time.
Decide which of your children could be taught some material together for most efficient use of time and effort.
For example, you could read a Christian history text at an intermediate-level to all your children, assigning age-appropriate projects such as oral discussion or a play for young children, extra reading or research for older children.
To comply with your state laws as fully as possible, contact your state organization and consider joining Home School Legal Defense Association.
Do a thorough cleaning of your house. Get rid of unused items and store little-used ones out of the way. Designate a place for everything, including space for books and school supplies.
Reorganize your family's schedule and chore assignments to fit your educational activities. Train children to do household tasks and establish regular meal and bed times.
Deal consistently with behavior or attitude problems.
Be prepared to handle opposition or lack of immediate success through prayer, adjustment, and perseverance.
Establish nonacademic (e.g., Bible, life skills) portions of your program several weeks before other studies begin.
Study basics of math, phonics, and spelling to prepare for presenting them to your children. Look through an English handbook that you will use for reference. You can learn or review other material with your children as they study it.
Plan your year's calendar, marking school days, test days, vacations, and special events.
Familiarize yourself with your curriculum, noting unit divisions, and collect any needed supplementary materials.
Decide and list which topics, units, or subjects you will cover during which weeks or months to make an overall year's plan.
For example, you could plan a certain number of pages per day in math and language, a chapter every two weeks in history and science, or a history chapter each week in the first semester and a science chapter each week in the second. Units can also be shifted to coincide with related events or seasons.
Use your plan to develop your daily and weekly schedule of studies.
Decide how you will record planned and actual activities.
Gather record-keeping and filing supplies, general school supplies, and special project supplies.
Plan your first week or unit, referring to your overall plan.
Plan special celebrations for the first day of school and for the completion of the first week or unit of study as well as for the mastery of significant skills.
Carefully explain your expectations and procedures to your children.
Get started and keep going. Make adjustments as needed. Enjoy this privilege of investing your life moment-by-moment in the lives of your children!
Home Education Week
WHEREAS, the State of Wyoming is committed to excellence in education and to public policy that strengthens the family and recognizes the importance of parental involvement in education; and
WHEREAS, home education is a viable option in the State of Wyoming, providing parents the authority and responsibility for the care, upbringing and choice of education for their children. The purpose of home education is to promote academic achievement and character development in a nurturing home environment; and
WHEREAS, from the earliest days of our nation, there have been prominent Americans who were home educated; and
WHEREAS, educated children exhibit self-confidence and good citizenship and are fully prepared to encounter the challenges of today's society; and
WHEREAS, the State of Wyoming appreciates and celebrates the commitment and determination of Wyoming home educators and home instructed students and recognizes their efforts and contributions to quality education in this great state.
NOW THEREFORE, I, DAVE FREUDENTHAL, Governor of the State of Wyoming, do hereby proclaim Friday, May 13-19, 2007, as "HOME EDUCATION WEEK" in Wyoming.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Executive Seal of the Governor of Wyoming to be affixed this 2nd day of May, 2007.
Dave Freudenthal, Governor
Here is a link to the governor's website with the proclamation!
Don't forget to let Governor Freudenthal know you appreciate his acknowledgement of home educators! Thanks and gratitude are in order here! If you are going to the convention this weekend, there will be a card for you and your family to sign (designed by Riverton homeschool students). The official proclamation will also be available for you to see. If you can't be there, you can use this link to leave an email of thanks for the governor.
Or you can email him directly at:
Reasons to Not Enroll in the Wyoming Virtual School
The Wyoming Virtual School claims to combine "the best of home-based education with the support and accountability of a regular public school." Home School Legal Defense Association respectfully disagrees. The best parts of homeschooling are faith and freedom, which no government-funded program can provide. Here are three reasons why we urge our Wyoming members to "just say no" to public school at home:
The Wyoming Virtual School, to its credit, never claims to be the free, private homeschooling that has been so successful for many years. The enrollment form clearly states the "strings" that are attached:
- The Wyoming Virtual School is a public school, subject to the restrictions of the Wyoming Constitution. Article VII, section 8 prohibits "any portion of any public school fund" from ever being used "to support or assist any private school, or any school, academy, seminary, college or other institution of learning controlled by any church or sectarian organization or religious denomination whatsoever."
- As soon as a child receives some portion of the Wyoming school fund, the program that provides the funding must constantly guard against violating the Wyoming Constitution. In other states with similar "virtual school" programs, HSLDA has observed that more and more regulations are gradually placed on the enrolled homeschooling family each year. If the family does not comply with the regulations, the "virtual" school administrators believe they have to demand return of the computer, curriculum, etc., or they lose their funding.
- HSLDA defends liberty for citizens who assert it, but we are unable to help parents who voluntarily trade their family freedom for government benefits. We therefore must terminate the membership of any family that ceases to homeschool by enrolling in a public school program of this sort.
These requirements may be acceptable to parents who are used to public school restrictions, but not to freedom-loving families. It clearly represents itself as a "public school option," and it may well be a big step forward for children who feel trapped in traditional schools. For free and independent homeschoolers, however, it is a step in the wrong direction.
- I understand that by submission of this form I am requesting to enroll my student in a public school with attendance requirements of 26.5 hours per week for grades K-6. Attendance hours must be supervised by the primary teaching adult including online and offline educational activities.
- I understand that public school enrollment includes participation in the required state testing program in addition to school testing requirements.
- I will follow the guidance and support of a certified teacher in implementing the K12 program with my student.
- I understand that regular attendance and progress is a requirement of WYVS and that I will be responsible for logging accurate attendance and progress daily.
- I understand that WYVS is a full-time public school and that my student may not be enrolled or participate in any other public school or public school activities.
- I understand failure to comply with any school policy may result in my student's voluntary withdrawal from WYVS.
Additional Resources on Virtual Public Schools
For more information on similar programs, please read the articles on virtual public schools that have recently appeared in HSLDA's Home School Court Report and on our website, including: "Charter Schools: The Price is Too High" by Christopher J. Klicka.
Virtual or Free?
Some of our membership may have recently received materials via US mail or seen advertisements in a local newspaper touting "Wyoming Virtual School". In a nutshell this is an effort on the behalf of our State Government [albeit, through a "vendor"] to lure selected homeschooling families away from the freedom and security they presently enjoy and captivate them within the public school system.
As with any of the opposition's allurements there is a "reward", so-called. It is "free" use of a computer and "free" curriculum. It is very similar in purpose to the politician running for office who promises a "chicken in every pot". We know that kind of politician wants something from you [your support/vote/contribution] so he/she can get what he/she wants [power/money/influence/recognition]. The government schools want your participation in their programs and the tax dollars that come with that choice. They also want to lessen the ranks of homeschooled families in general.
Freedom isn't free in the national/world political scene. Our forefathers, and members of our military since, have given their lives/fortunes and in some instances their sacred honor to obtain/hold that precious commodity – freedom. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ died on a cruel cross for the sins of mankind so that men might be free from the bondage of sin – should they place their faith and trust in His blood sacrifice.
Our homeschooling freedoms aren't free either. They have come at a price – they are maintained at a price. Like any enemy who cannot storm the gates by force, the government schools seek to infiltrate our ranks with any number of "Trojan horses".
We invite them in at our own peril.
Is the ability to teach our children whatever God commands and the means to do so on a "shoestring budget", if necessary, worth giving up for a "bauble" or "trinket" held out to us by the government schools in the form of an appliance [computer] we won't own ourselves and a curriculum that is denuded of Biblical values?
The most honest thing about this "offer" is the forthrightness of the government in stating clearly that this Virtual School is "public school". Indeed it is. So, be warned. To enroll in its program is to end your freedom as a homeschooled family in the true sense of the word. A member of the Virtual School becomes a public schooler "at home". The government is now in charge of your child's education and you are merely one of their "agents" participating in the process. Such a family has ceased to be a homeschooled family.
For an excellent treatise on the negative aspects of the Wyoming Virtual School please follow this link to Homeschool Legal Defense Association's website
Al and Sheryl Schmidt
Legislative Liaisons for
Homeschoolers Of Wyoming
2537 Plainview Rd.
Cheyenne, WY 82009