March 20, 2019
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 25th 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 919191 to receive legislative alerts!