- March 20, 2019—Why Homeschoolers Are So Free in Texas
- March 6, 2019—Increased Regulation Will Not Improve Homeschooling—Freedom Will
March 20, 2019
Why Homeschoolers Are So Free in Texas
Twenty-five years ago this summer, the Texas Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision ending almost 10 years of litigation to stop the state of Texas from prosecuting homeschool families. During this time, attorney general of Texas Jim Maddox said that he did not believe parents were qualified to even raise their own children, much less teach them at home.
Even some in the homeschool community strongly disagreed with the class action lawsuit against the state that was pursued to end the legal harassment of families. Some told me that they had never had a problem and questioned why we should “draw attention to homeschoolers” with this legal action.
This is sometimes characterized as the difference between major surgery and minor surgery. Major surgery is when something happens to your family. Minor surgery is when it happens to someone else.
Shelby Sharpe, the attorney who argued—and ultimately won—the Leeper case, discussed how there was even a motion presented by some families to get the lawsuit dismissed.
Thankfully, the homeschool community at large banded together and defended the right of families to raise and educate their children, and we were ultimately successful.
Those who hope to stay out of sight to protect their freedom misunderstand why we are free. Homeschoolers in Texas are free today because homeschoolers fought the state of Texas for a decade in the court of public opinion, in the legislature and in the judiciary.
Today, we still hear those who argue that we shouldn’t pursue some changes to give families more choices in education because it draws too much attention to homeschoolers and could result in legislation being adopted to restrict our freedom.
In fact, some have adopted the mantra of the public school lobby that as a homeschooler you made your choice, and now you must accept the status quo.
That has never been the position of homeschoolers in Texas. Over the last three decades, we have fought to make changes to require homeschoolers to be treated fairly for college admission, dual credit classes, PSAT testing, parent-taught driver education and a host of other issues.
As we watch homeschooling come under attack in Texas and other states, I still hear people say we should keep a low profile to “avoid problems.” However, Texas homeschoolers’ mantra is “the best defense is a good offense.”
Texas became one of the best places in the country to homeschool because we fought to get that freedom and we continue to fight to keep that freedom in the court of public opinion, in the legislature and, when necessary, in the courts.
So while we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Texas Supreme Court’s Leeper decision, we also celebrate those pioneer homeschool heroes who had the courage to fight those battles and we dedicate ourselves to continue to fight to protect the freedom that we have and work to eliminate other areas of discrimination.
Will you advance family rights alongside us during this legislative session? Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 67076 to receive legislative alerts!
March 6, 2019
Increased Regulation Will Not Improve Homeschooling—Freedom Will
I’ve been recounting the national effort by various groups who are campaigning for what most would consider radical regulation of homeschooling. One of our readers/viewers recently told us he supported regulation of homeschoolers because he had met some who were not doing a good job.
Let’s break down the argument for state restriction of homeschooling.
Homeschooled Students Score Higher on Standardized Tests
First, data shows that homeschoolers as a group score 15-30 percentage points above the national average on standardized test scores. It is very clear that homeschoolers as a group do very well academically and socially and yet some argue that the state should set standards or regulations to “make sure students do not fall through the cracks.”
Study Shows That Greater Regulation of Homeschooling Does Not Correlate to Academic Success
Secondly, Dr. Brian Ray with the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) has reported on how increased restrictions on homeschoolers does not result in better academic results when compared to results of homeschoolers in states with little or no regulation.
People who want the state to restrict homeschooling base this position on the premise that things regulated by the state are better or safer. That is demonstrably untrue. Look at public education.
I rarely hear people say they’ve met public school students who are not doing well so we need more regulation of public schools. In fact, the public school lobby continues to push for more and more financial support every legislative session, but strongly oppose any increased regulation of that system.
Freedom Fuels Caring Families
I like to remind people that homeschoolers have been successful because families care for their children and when they have freedom to make more of the decisions regarding the education of their children they do very well. I reminded legislators two years ago that accountability in homeschooling resides with the family, not the state, and that’s why homeschooling is growing so fast.
In 2017, more than 20,000 students withdrew from public schools to homeschool in Texas. Today well over 350,000 students are homeschooled in Texas. Why? Because homeschooling works!
Those who believe that more regulation produces better results than more freedom can are repeating the same failures countless generations before us have done. Freedom works. Let’s not abandon it for the delusion that government is better equipped to raise children than families are.
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