September 1, 2017

THSC Hurricane Harvey Response

Our friends in Southeast Texas are suffering historic, unprecedented devastation due to the rain and flooding that have resulted from Hurricane Harvey. I’ve read news accounts of some of these situations that have stirred up a flood of emotions and driven me to my knees in prayer for my fellow Texans.

This event is unlike any other in history and will not be over soon—the loss faced by families and businesses will take many years to overcome. Please join me in praying for all of Southeast Texas, for first responders still rescuing people and for those families who lost everything they own including their homes.

One of the characteristics of Texans is a willingness to help our neighbors in times of crisis. Homeschoolers are even more willing to answer the call because of our strong sense of community.

As we did during hurricanes Rita and Katrina, THSC is encouraging homeschoolers to make tax-deductible contributions to THSC so that we can provide financial help to homeschool families in Southeast Texas who have suffered through this tragedy. All funds donated for this purpose will be given to homeschool families in need. Thank you for praying for the affected families and joining with us to help those in need.

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September 8, 2017

Special Session of the Texas Legislature

Earlier this summer, the Special Session of the Texas Legislature ended early due to self-serving tactics from House leadership. Although some key bills passed during the special session, key political figures including Governor Abbott were not pleased with the results.

If you recall, THSC had a successful regular session passing historic CPS reform measures to protect children and families. This success was despite facing roadblocks on our parental rights legislation and the Tim Tebow Bill in the House that many other conservative groups faced with their legislative agendas.

These issues are important to homeschoolers because of the ongoing attacks against the God-given, fundamental right of parents to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children. Today, Texas families face the critical issue of who should decide what is in the best interest of a child: parents or the government? We must be involved in this battle, both politically and legislatively, because our rights as parents are at stake.

Now we wait to see if Governor Abbott will call the legislature back to Austin for another special session. In the interim, it appears that we are headed for an election cycle that could determine whether there is new leadership in the Texas House.

There is a push to adopt rules to require Republicans to choose their nominee for Speaker in Caucus. This vote as a block is gaining momentum and could be a litmus test in the primary. The rule would also eliminate the opportunity for Democrats to choose the Republican Speaker, which happened ten years ago.

In other political news, the criminal prosecution of political opponents in Texas took a new turn. The courts recently rendered a devastating ruling in the sordid prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Now, it is clear even to casual observers that this is a politically motivated effort to destroy a man for political reasons.

One observer wrote: ”Weaponizing the courts for political gain is a refuge of scoundrels and needs to be policed by the courts…this looks like a trumped-up case intended to take down a politician who made himself unpopular with the grandees of the GOP establishment.” I couldn’t agree more.

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September 22, 2017

Law Professor Believes All Parental Rights Come From the State

I often give credit for my involvement in the political and public policy process to former Texas Attorney General Jim Maddox.

In the 1980s, Jim Maddox responded to the Leeper case filing by clarifying that he did not believe parents were qualified to raise their children—much less teach them at home.

That was the moment when I realized there were people in our government who had a fundamentally different worldview than my family. Although the legal battle was centered on whether homeschools in Texas were recognized as a type of private school, the real issue was that some individuals on the left of the political spectrum, like Jim Maddox, did not want parents to have the ability to make such decisions for their children.

Despite great progress with homeschooling accepted as a legitimate educational alternative in Texas and across the country, there are still opponents who assert that parents are not qualified to teach their children. Additionally, these opponents take the position that they simply do not want parents to be able to teach things they disagree with.

It is clear that the critical issue facing homeschoolers today is who decides what is in the best interest of a child: the parents or the state. This includes medical issues, educational issues and a multitude of other issues.

In fact, a prominent university law professor recently asserted that he believes parents only have authority over their children, the right to educate their children, and even the ability to take their children home upon birth because the state gives them that right. Jim Dwyer, the professor from the College of William and Mary, also takes the stance that “it is not a good situation that regulation of homeschooling has largely disappeared.”

In Texas, we believe that parental rights are God-given, fundamental, and constitutional to direct the care, control, and upbringing of our children.

The homeschooling movement has always been about more than the right to educate our children. It’s about the right to raise our children. Homeschoolers in Texas are the guardians of parental rights by educating our children, teaching them life values, and helping set goals.

Jim Dwyer and individuals who share his mentality lack an understanding of the fundamental nature and responsibility of parenting. Unfortunately, there appears to be members of the Texas Legislature who agree with Mr. Dwyer through their actions during the special session earlier this year blocking key legislative items that would have extended and protected parental rights.

We will not be deterred, though. THSC already realized legislative victory this year when we worked with the homeschool community and legislators who share our beliefs to help pass dramatic CPS reforms.

Now, the election season is upon us. THSC will be working diligently to educate the public and evaluate candidates running for political office in Texas. We will also work hard to hold elected officials accountable to support and defend the parental rights of Texas families. Our freedom depends on it. Together, this is how we continue Keeping Texas Families Free.

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September 29, 2017

The “S” Word

If you have homeschooled your children for any length of time you have likely been confronted by the “S” question. What about socialization?

A friend recently shared an article with me by a public school teacher offering her opinion that homeschoolers lack socialization. This teacher argued that public school students benefit from collaborating with students who don’t agree with them, unlike homeschoolers. That is an ironic argument in light of the growing number of college students who oppose free speech on campus for those with whom they disagree.

The interesting thing that many homeschoolers have pointed out about the teacher’s argument is that there is no data or studies cited to support this tired, discredited attack against homeschooling.

Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the idea that homeschoolers are not socialized. The conclusion is this is a myth. In fact, here are two important conclusions from these studies:

  • Compared to children attending conventional schools, however, research suggest that they have higher quality friendships and better relationships with their parents and other adults
  • An alarmist view of homeschooling, therefore, is not supported by empirical research.

When this issue comes up during media interviews, I always point out that much of the questioning about socialization of homeschooled students stems from the misperception that homeschool students are isolated at home and do not have interactions (or enough interactions) with others.

In actuality, a brief look at typical homeschool activities should convince critics that there is a “whole lot of socialization going on out there.”

My experience with these “S” questions is that they are usually asked in regard to younger children. The assumption is that elementary age children cannot possibly learn how to get along with other students unless they spend 6-8 hours per day with 30 other students their age.

However, any parent of a student in a public school setting will tell you that most of what those students learn from their peers does not reflect positive socialization. Many parent of junior high or high school students are concerned about negative peer influences related to drugs, alcohol and sex. Those issues, my friends, represent real socialization concerns.

For homeschoolers, socialization is a non-issue, which is why we usually smirk or laugh when the question is asked. Perhaps next time a public school teacher or administrator approaches the socialization topic, they should consider meeting face-to-face with a homeschool family like yours to see how well they are faring. Together, this is how we continue Keeping Texas Families Free!

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