Taking Freedom to Protect Children?
From a public policy perspective, opponents of freedom for homeschooling families are using every tragedy to push for government regulation of homeschooling just as they have with the Turpin abuse case in California.
Lawmakers there are now pushing legislation to require a “diverse advisory committee” to look at three specific areas of homeschooling: health and safety inspections, specific curriculum standards and certification of homeschool teachers.
Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, the author of AB 2926, responded to the flood of calls against her bill by saying, “Contrary to the concerns being expressed, the bill does not establish any restrictions or requirements on homeschools.
“Rather, AB 2926 simply requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a diverse advisory committee to provide suggestions to the superintendent and the Legislature on potential changes to the administration of in-home private schools, if appropriate and feasible. I believe this is a modest step to take to ensure we are achieving the best educational outcomes for homeschooled children.”
This is a clear effort to start a process that will end in restricting the freedom of homeschool families in California.
On the Rise: The War Against Families
While these frontal assaults against homeschool families are happening all over the country, we are also seeing attacks against families by medical and dental practitioners using the threat of calling CPS and alleging abuse or neglect if the family fails to follow the direction of the medical provider.
The assault by the state against the family seems to be escalating, and every time we see a horrible tragedy, those who are anti-family always argue that the only solution is more government control.
Homeschoolers should not panic or be fearful. This is not the first time that opponents of freedom for families have used this tactic, and we fully expect them to use the Austin bombing tragedy and the Turpin abuse case to try to justify legislation in Austin next year to limit the freedom of Texas families.
In the meantime, let’s take action in the Republican primary runoff and the general election in November to elect people who believe as we do—that families have a God-given right to raise and educate their children. More information on the runoff election will be coming soon.
Thank you for joining the call for Keeping Texas Families Free!
April 17, 2018
Should Families Have the Freedom to Homeschool? Settling the Debate on Calls for Oversight
Since the modern era of homeschooling, debate has raged between two opposing groups—those who believe that families should have the freedom to homeschool their children without interference, and those who call for more oversight and regulation.
In Texas, where we value freedom and individual responsibility, families consider that a crucial right of parents is the right to direct the care, control and upbringing (including the education) of their children, contributing to successful and responsible future generations.
Those promoting increased oversight of homeschooling families say that academic standards are uncertain and that homeschool students are susceptible to abuse. However, there is no evidence to support such fears. In fact, studies indicate that homeschoolers do better academically and are at less risk of abuse.
The empirical data overwhelmingly shows that homeschooling is a resounding academic success. In fact, homeschoolers score 15 to 30 percent above the national average as a group, regardless of regulation levels. As a result, most states have given families the freedom to homeschool with minimal government regulation.
Another allegation is that some states currently require homeschool parents to be certified teachers, and Texas is an exception. However, no state in the nation requires that homeschool parents be certified. Additionally, states with stricter homeschooling laws have not seen any differences in student performance compared to low-regulation states.
Despite the well-documented success of homeschooling nationwide, some nonetheless argue that homeschooling families should be subject to increased regulation. Although every study on the subject indicates otherwise, pro-regulation groups sensationalize recent news stories, using them to suggest that homeschool families are at greater risk of abuse and must be regulated.
A recent study on homeschooling and child abuse noted that: “A statistical analysis of 18 years of data from all the U.S. states found no relationship between the degree of state control or regulation of homeschooling and the frequency of abuse of homeschool students. … The lack of a correlation undermines the claim that there is some causal relationship between state control of homeschooling and abuse of students.”
There is no relationship between homeschool regulation and abuse. Furthermore, other studies indicate that homeschooled students are actually less likely than public school students to suffer abuse. Homeschooled students are not at greater risk.
In fact, many families choose to homeschool because of safety concerns with other educational environments. Nationally, safety ranks among the top three reasons for choosing to homeschool. A poll commissioned by the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) last year showed that safety concerns were the fourth most common reason for choosing to homeschool in Texas. After the recent school shootings, THSC received a surge of calls from parents deciding to homeschool.
Just as Texas businesses and private schools enjoy great success because of our freedoms, Texas families (and therefore Texas children) thrive when they are free to make their own decisions. But on a hunch and devoid of any evidence, some still recommend that homeschool regulation be radically increased.
For the good of children, we celebrate, support and empower Texas families with the freedom to direct the education of their own children. The premise that homeschooled children live unsafe lives is not supported by the facts. Limiting homeschool freedoms would be a harmful knee-jerk reaction.
We believe that fit families have the right to raise and educate their children as they believe best. Texas families, THSC, and the homeschool community of Texas will vigorously oppose any radical legislation that would restrict this right.