“Here’s all [that’s] needed to know to classify [him] as unfriendly: homeschooler.” That’s what one advocacy group wrote recently about State Rep. and homeschool dad Jonathan Stickland. Now they and other groups are coming after pro-homeschool candidates during the 2018 runoff election.
THSC Has a Good Relationship with the Texas Commissioner of Education
For more than 30 years, homeschoolers have fought hard to overcome the adversarial relationship with Texas public schools that arose before and during the Leeper case between 1981 and 1994.
Since 1995, THSC has worked with every new Commissioner of Education to adopt policies for how school districts should interact with homeschool families. As a result, battles between the school districts and homeschool families in Texas have decreased in number and when they do occur, our decades-long relationship makes it easy to resolve conflicts.
In fact, when THSC gets a call about a school district that has stepped out of line, it is almost always solved with a single letter to the school.
However, anti-homeschool and anti-educational freedom advocacy groups and unions in Texas are actively seeking to provoke an onslaught of negative attention from our public school friends. In fact, some groups are organizing a statewide effort to oppose candidates at the ballot box simply because they are pro-homeschool.
Pro-Homeschool Candidates Targeted in 2018
One group recently published a list of voting recommendations for 2018 that could not have been more brazen in its opposition to homeschoolers. For the 150 House districts in Texas, endorsement by THSC or just being a homeschooler was the most-cited reason to vote against a candidate, showing up 47 times in just 38 pages.
A recent article from Empower Texans highlighted how one local ISD went so far as to officially direct teachers to visit the group’s website for voting recommendations, an action which raises significant legal concerns.
THSC-endorsed lawmaker and homeschool dad Jonathan Stickland had this note in his file: “Here’s all [that’s] needed to know to classify [him] as unfriendly: home schooler. Endorsed by Texas Home School Coalition…”
Rep. Byron Cook, who once authored a bill to repeal parent-taught drivers ed in Texas, was listed as “friendly” by the group along with the note: “Against home school.”
A recent article by the “Dallas Morning News” reported that unions and education groups are organizing statewide to convince more teachers and school officials to vote in the primary elections. While encouraging voter participation is fine, you can probably guess which candidates these groups want to have voted out.
This is driven home by taking a closer look at the Political Action Committee (PAC) donations from one of Texas’ four largest education unions, Texas State Teachers Association. The three largest donation recipients among State House candidates are:
- Rep. Gary VanDeaver: A member of the House Public Education Committee who has steadfastly opposed homeschool legislation by THSC.
- Bennett Ratliff: A former liberal state representative from Dallas who was defeated by Matt Rinaldi, a champion of family rights and education freedom.
- Rep. Byron Cook: In addition to attempting a repeal of parent-taught drivers ed several years ago, Cook has been the chief lieutenant of Speaker Joe Straus, whose leadership team in the House has been the single largest obstacle to passing pro-homeschool, pro-family legislation.
The list of donation recipients from other major unions, such as Texas AFT Committee on Political Education, ACT for Texas,and Association of Texas Professional Educators PAC feature some of the same as well as other prominent names.
What Is THSC Doing to Defend Pro-Homeschool Candidates in Texas Elections?
THSC spends months interviewing and vetting pro-homeschool candidates at every level of government from every corner of the state. View the list of THSC-endorsed candidates.
Homeschoolers in Texas are not strangers to the political battlefield. In 1994 we won the battle at the Texas Supreme Court to uphold the right to homeschool. Since that time, homeschoolers have become a well-known, extremely active and highly coveted advocacy group among elected officials in Texas.
Homeschool activism has resulted in a rich history of legislative and political victories.
Public schools and homeschool parents may have significantly healed the deep rift which used to exist between them, but it is clear that major groups here in Texas are now trying to reignite a battle between teachers and home educators.
A recent report by the “Texas Monitor” showed that Texas’ four largest education unions, each mentioned above, collect more than $32 million per year in union dues. THSC’s annual budget is a fraction of that. Additionally, each group’s PAC spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every election season.
THSC and the homeschooling community do not have big money to defend candidates who believe in freedom for Texas families. However, THSC is working overtime to galvanize local communities to support pro-homeschool candidates.
What Can You Do to Help Defend Pro-Homeschool Candidates?
There are an estimated 150,000 homeschool families in Texas, which translates into more than 300,000 potential voters, assuming two voters per household. Factoring in homeschool graduates and former homeschool parents would place that number substantially higher.
Homeschoolers can win this fight, but only with the support of each individual family in Texas. That’s why your help is so critically important. Anti-homeschool groups may have $32 million, but the homeschool community has you.
Here is how you can help:
- THSC needs your help to continue assisting pro-family and pro-homeschool candidates in the coming runoff election. Would you consider a gift of $25, $50, $100 or even more today? Every donation helps!
- Will you help to inform homeschoolers about the pro-homeschool candidates who need their votes? Texas needs every homeschool family to turn out and vote in the May 22 runoff election, and you can help make that happen.
As the saying goes, “The future belongs to those who show up.” We can win this battle, but we need your help to do it.
Thank you for your consistent support to help THSC defend Texas families! We couldn’t do it without you.
We believe that families have the God-given right to raise their children and that homeschooling is the best education model. If our beliefs resonate with yours, please consider donating today!