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PUH-LEEZ!

Filed at 12:42 am under by dcobranchi

This he said/she said piece on HONDA is really pretty poor. First, it’s about 80 percent for the “pro” position. And the proponents don’t seem to know a whole lot about what the bill would or wouldn’t do:

Lowes said getting her daughter Victoria’s homeschool hours accredited for college admittance will be difficult if they don’t go through some of the homeschool programs that have online classes… The bill would make it easier on homeschoolers across the nation if there were nationwide standards for college admittance, Lowes said.

Like what? A GED? And why should private colleges not be able to discriminate if they so choose? All of which is besides the point since HONDA doesn’t really address college admissions. Here’s the bit of 20USC1001 the bill seeks to modify:

For purposes of this chapter, other than subchapter IV, the term “institution of higher education” means an educational institution in any State that–
(1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate;

No nationwide standards for admission. And someone holding a GED would already be covered.

The next bit is just plain dumb:

The bill also would allow federal education savings accounts to be used for homeschool expenses.

Ray said she would be interested in using those accounts for her homeschool expenses “if there’s not a lot of strings attached.”

It’s the federal government; of course strings are attached. And of all the bits in the bill, this one would have the least impact. Think about it– we mostly live on one income. For many home educators homeschooling expenses are hand to A beka’s mouth. Coverdell ESA contributions are not tax deductible. Only the income is tax free. So, unless you’re financially well off (in which case home education expenses are of relatively little concern), funding a Coverdell and then taking the money out a year or two later won’t generate enough interest or capital gains to be worth the trouble. An example– The annual limit for a contribution is $2,000. Let’s say you contributed the maximum for six years and then started making withdrawals so that the money would be exhausted after twelve years of homeschooling (It wouldn’t make any sense to make a withdrawal and a contribution in the same year.) Further, let’s assume you earn a nice safe 3 percent on your money. At the end of the 18th year, you’ll have earned $3,595.92 in interest, or an average of $299.66 per year of homeschooling. At the 30 percent tax bracket, you’ll save an average of $89.90 in federal taxes. Contribute only $1,000 per year and your tax savings drop to $28.95. Yeehah!

And, BTW, it appears that many home educating expenses may already be covered by Coverdell ESAs.

Eligible elementary or secondary school. This is any public, private, or religious school that provides elementary or secondary education (kindergarten through grade 12), as determined under state law.

Qualified Elementary and Secondary Education Expenses. 3. The purchase of computer technology, equipment, or Internet access and related services is a qualified elementary and secondary education expense if it is to be used by the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s family during any of the years the beneficiary is in elementary or secondary school. (This does not include expenses for computer software designed for sports, games, or hobbies unless the software is predominantly educational in nature.)

Are some home educating families discriminated against in the current regs? In those states that define homeschools as a separate category from private schools, yeah. Will this make a difference in anyone’s life? Hardly. Will I go to the mat over this section? Nope.

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