Golden Opportunity Turns Into .....

*** G O L D E N . V I C T O R Y ! ***

(Almost)
See Cold Water but Probably Accurate commentary below.

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Praise the Lord, we won! Last Friday, April 17, we asked you to contact your U.S. Senators with the following message:

- "Vote for Sen. Coverdell's A+ Education Savings Accounts Bill (HR 2646)"

- "Vote for Sen. Ashcroft's Amendment to this bill which will stop funding for National Testing"

- "Vote for Sen. Gorton's Amendment to block-grant approximately $10 billion to the states; to restore local control of education and to defund failed programs like School-to-Work and Goals 2000"

- "Vote against Sen. Glenn's Amendment which would limit the A+ Accounts to public school children"

On Monday, we helped organize a rally and visited 30 Senators with our Congressional Action Program volunteers. Meanwhile, your calls poured into the Senate offices.

On Tuesday, April 21, we defeated the Glenn Amendment by a vote of 60 to 38, which killed Glenn's attempt to exclude home schools from the A+ Accounts.

**** Wednesday, the Gorton Amendment passed 50 to 49 in a straight party line vote. This will eliminate Goals 2000 and School-to-Work through a $10 billion block grant to the states. [The only Republicans who voted wrong on this amendment were Senators Jeffords (VT), Chafee (RI), Snowe (ME), and Specter (PA)]

**** Wednesday afternoon, the Ashcroft Amendment passed by a vote of 52 to 47. This will ban national testing. [The only Republicans that voted wrong on the Ashcroft Amendment were D'Amato (NY), Jeffords (VT), and Specter (PA). The only Democrat who voted right on this Amendment was Senator Feingold (WI)]

Senator Dan Coats from Indiana deserves special appreciation because he courageously stood on the floor of the Senate, changed his vote (from his compromise testing amendment last year), and voted with Ashcroft to ban national testing!

Senator Lott's office called to tell us they thought they should not go forward with Ashcroft's Amendment because they were sure it would lose and set us back. We insisted that we needed to take it to a recorded vote. We also explained that based on our lobby visits to the Senate Monday and the amount of calls pouring in from the homeschoolers, we thought we were very close to winning. As a result, Lott's office agreed to do all they could to push the Amendment.

The only item left on the agenda was the actual Coverdell bill.

In a last minute surprise, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) came out on the Senate floor in favor of the Coverdell bill. He said, "Although I do not agree with all the amendments, I believe it is innovating. It deserves a chance."

He then proceeded to say, "As the Bible says, Solomon prayed to the Creator of the universe for wisdom and knowledge. He did not pray for riches. He did not pray for honor. He did not pray for the lives of his enemies. He prayed for wisdom and knowledge. Perhaps we in the Senate should do the same."

Soon, Democrat Senators Lieberman (CT), Graham (FL), and Torricelli (NJ), joined Senator Byrd and publicly supported the Coverdell bill (HR 2646) although they voiced discontent with the Gorton and Ashcroft Amendments. Finally, the vote was taken on HR 2646, the entire package, and it passed 56 to 43 sealing the victory! [The only Republicans who voted wrong where Senators Chafee (RI), Jeffords (VT), and Specter (PA)]

We urge you to write thank you letters to your Senators who voted right on the Gorton and Ashcroft Amendments. It took some backbone to make these principled stands.

Now the battle shifts to the Conference Committee over the Gorton Amendment. We are told Ashcroft's national testing ban will automatically pass out of the Conference Committee since the same language has already passed in the House.

We were told over and over again that this could not be done in the U.S. Senate! This is an amazing victory!

Many staffers in the Senate have told us that the thousands of calls from home schoolers, combined with the lobby visits from our CAP volunteers on Monday, literally turned the tide. One U.S. Senator's office in Oregon said they had received about a thousand calls. During the votes, staffers from over a dozen offices reported they were receiving hundreds of calls. Some of the comments included, "We are receiving way too many calls"; "Fifty calls in the last hour and a half"; "We have received kajillions of calls."

Thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for taking time to make calls to your U.S. Senators. Thank you for caring enough to get involved. You made the difference. For this to happen in the U.S. Senate is nothing less than miraculous.

All glory and praise to God!

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The National Center for Home Education P.O. Box 3000 Purcellville, VA 20134

V: (540) 338-7600

F: (540) 338-9333

E: cap@hslda.org

Web: http://www.hslda.org

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Follow up Comment

From: "Roxanne Sitler" <sitler@plix.com> (by way of Jimmy Kilpatrick <jimmyk5@swbell.net>) Subject: Re: VICTORY UPDATE -- April 23, 1998-no victory

Jimmy, would you please post to loop - thanks

Am responding to the "Victory" post below from HSLDA.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but block grants will NOT stop STW and Goals 2000 as stated in this victory message. The money will just go to fund what is already in place and institutionalized. Does our legislatures have any control over these funds??? Money directly to LEAs and SEAs??? I'm sure that these schools who all have these systemic programs in place are all just going to ditch the programs and go back to traditional educational programs prior to Goals 2000/STW/1209 etc. - and violate the law. Let's get real here - we have really won nothing to actually stop this whole thing - thus there is no "victory".

As for a ban on national testing - that is almost laughable. Achieve is already proceeding with their work on nationalizing standards, assessments, accountability systems and technology plans. They are unelected, accountable to NO ONE and are in essence the National School Board. They have formed powerful alliances with state agencies, big business (Chambers of Commerce, National Alliance of Business and many others). Already 32 states have submitted their educational systems "voluntarily" to have achieve benchmark these systems nationally and internationally. 20 states have met to work on assessment system to develop a set of common items to be embedded in each states assessment system. This shadow government has no need of any legislative authority to develop a totally nationalized education system.

I am sorry, but the day of total institutionalization of this system is upon us - we just don't seem to recognize it. Homeschool groups involved in political activity need to come to grips with the fact that for the most part they are relying on information from the "top" and the top doesn't always give out the best of information. This is evidenced by HSLDA's analysis of 1186 where they flatly state that it is no threat to homeschoolers and has nothing to do with STW (first of all this is a FALSE presupposition but even if it were true its like saying that because it doesn't present a "threat" to homeschoolers it doesn't matter - this is selfish reasoning and in my opinion lacks the true sense of Christian duty ) They need to get their collective heads out of the sand and realize that dangerous legislation is dangerous legislation and if it effects any part of this nation, not just a particular group, it should foster a strong warning and evoke some action on their part. Kind of like that saying about Germany where it said (and I am paraphrasing), "first they came for the Jews - and I was not a Jew - so I did not worry....you know the rest. Anyway - a false sense of security or "victory" contained in these kind of releases to "groups" is a little disturbing.

These Republicans are making good with conservatives who are desperate for solutions but they are either really ignorant and misled or very cunning - passing something that really means nothing but tickles the ears of those who truly do not understand the breadth and depth of this whole national disaster. Just look at the funding which is appropriated by this congress for all these programs which have institutionalized this whole reform. In time (and I believe a short time), hard core experience will finally teach that which we cannot seem to effectively warn others about. Reality has always been a hard schoolmaster.

Sorry if this sounds particularly harsh - I guess it's because I am just so exasperated by "solutions" which take an ice pick approach to the iceberg and the Titanic is about to strike the iceberg and sink. We effectively are told here that Goals 2000 and STW will just go away........it just ain't so.

Roxanne Sitler
 

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