June 26, 2018
Texas Supreme Court Undermines Families
We live in a society in which the God-given right of fit parents to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children is under constant assault. The term in the best interest of the child is used most often by a judge who is making a decision that he or she thinks is best for that child. Often it is used to replace the decision of a parent who is not charged with being neglectful or abusive—a fit parent.
We have recently seen a court remove a child from fit parents who would not acquiesce to the child’s desire to have hormone therapy to change gender. The court placed the child with non-parents who would approve the medical procedure. The question then is who gets to make decisions for a child—the parents or the state?
Unfortunately in more and more cases we are seeing loving, caring parents overruled by a judge.
Hitting Close to Home in Texas
The Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling that undermines the right of parents to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children. In a 5-4 decision in the 16-0715 In the Interest of H.S. a Minor Child, the court reversed a lower court and an appellate court decision and granted non-parents standing to sue fit parents for custody of their child.
Justice Lehrmann, a former family law judge, wrote the opinion that was determined by the court’s definition of “actual care” and “actual control.” Justices Hecht, Green, Boyd and Devine agreed with the opinion.
Essentially, the court ruled that any number of people whom a parent delegates limited authority to can potentially share “actual care, control and possession” of a child at the same time that each of those people is entitled to sue the parent for custody of the child.
Justice Blacklock wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justices Johnson, Guzman and Brown. He said, “Today the Court holds that nearly anyone who has ‘played an unusual and significant parent-like role in a child’s life’ may sue for legal rights of visitation and control over the child even if the child’s parents remain actively involved in the child’s life and oppose the non-parents’ wishes.” Justice Guzman also wrote a dissenting opinion.
This decision is deeply disturbing since it continues a trend of undermining the God-given right of families to raise their children. Sometimes we are questioned as to why THSC is involved in cases such as this one that do not directly implicate homeschooling.
The answer is simple.
The fundamental, constitutional right of families to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children is the foundation of our right to homeschool. The erosion of that parental right will lead to an erosion of our freedom to homeschool. Therefore who we elect as judges is critical to the protection of the right of families to raise their children and to homeschool.
We believe that homeschooling is the best education model and we support families in making and carrying out that decision. Will you help us continue Keeping Texas Families Free to homeschool? Please donate today.
June 19, 2018
Republican Party of Texas Convention Deals with Homeschooling
Wow! What a weekend at the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Convention in San Antonio. It was the ugliest battle I have ever seen for chairman of the party in 30 years! James Dickey was elected and he ran his campaign with grace and dignity. I was proud to support him.
The Truth on Opposition to UIL and Educational Choice for Homeschoolers
There was a small group of homeschoolers at the convention that sought to weaken the planks (which are key issues and objectives to the party) in the RPT platform that support UIL participation for homeschoolers and educational choice—based on their contention that doing so would result in a loss of freedom for all homeschoolers.
Thirty-four other states allow homeschoolers to participate in UIL sports alongside public school students (going back decades), and none of those states have increased regulation on homeschoolers. A poll commissioned by THSC last spring showed that 77 percent of Texas homeschoolers support the opportunity for families to make this choice for their children.
Convention Results for UIL and Educational Choice
Plank 122 of the platform was weakened by taking the term UIL out but still says, “We encourage the legislature to find ways to allow non-public schools students participation.” The amendment which would have fixed this on the floor was not able to be offered due to time constraints caused by the lengthy fight over the chairmanship. We will strengthen that language at the next convention.
We were successful in replacing the educational choice language in plank 133 that had been artfully gutted by requiring an amendment to the Texas Constitution (which in effect would mean never).
We substituted this language [Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, using tax credits or exemptions without government constraints or intrusion.] from the Republican primary ballot in March that was supported by 79 percent of 1.5 million primary voters—and we defeated an effort to remove homeschoolers from that language.
Our poll last spring showed that 71 percent of Texas homeschoolers support educational freedom through school choice. Thirty states have enacted some measure of school choice (going back decades) that has not resulted in regulation.
THSC believes that families have a God-given right to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children (including education). Obviously RPT delegates agree with us since over 85 percent voted for the educational choice plank in the plank-by-plank voting after the convention.
Thousands of homeschoolers were in attendance and we talked to many of them. Thank you for your help!
We believe that parents should be empowered to raise the next generation of leaders, which is why THSC is Keeping Texas Families Free. Please consider joining as a THSC member or making a donation to THSC today!
June 12, 2018
Homeschooling Surges Amid Calls for Regulation
While I’ve been blogging for months about the concerted effort across the country and in Texas to generate legislation to restrict the freedom of homeschoolers, an amazing thing has happened. Homeschooling is surging across the country, along with those who think parents’ rights to make educational decisions for their children should be limited.
Beginning with the public school shooting in Florida, THSC began to see a sharp increase in the number of inquiries that we received about homeschooling. In fact, those inquiries more than doubled from around 600 per month to over 1,300—and they have continued unabated.
Many of these parents are calling because of a renewed concern about their children’s safety in public schools. The same thing is happening across the country.
I have often noted that state compulsory attendance laws require student attendance in a public school, but the public schools cannot be held liable for the safety of those same children. So what many parents are doing is taking a look at their options and deciding that the safety factor has pushed them into getting information about homeschooling their children.
THSC just held its second homeschool conference of the year, and I spoke with one mom at the conference who told me that her daughter had a bad year in a private school. When she explained to the superintendent that she was exploring homeschooling, the private school official pleaded with her “not to do that to the child.” This is another example of officials putting the financial well-being of an institution ahead of what is best for a child.
Today across the country, parents have a choice when it comes to the education of their children that they did not enjoy 30 years ago—and more and more of them are deciding it is in the best interest of their children to take full responsibility for their education.
THSC plans to keep working hard to make sure that families continue to have the right to raise their children without restrictions from the government.
We believe that parents should be empowered to raise the next generation of leaders. As a THSC member, we support your family to do just that! Have you joined? If not, check out our membership benefits that are Keeping Texas Families Free.