Call Today to Pass Tebow Bill

For the Tebow Bill, kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9. If the Tebow Bill wins, home schooled students who live within a public school’s district will be allowed to try out for that public school’s interscholastic activities. Sports and other extracurricular events like music and academic competitions will become accessible to home schoolers for the first time since UIL changed its rules to exclude home schoolers in 1915. (For more information visit: thsc.org/tebow)

Give your children the opportunity to participate in official competitions by:

1. Coming to the hearing and registering in favor of the Tebow Bill – officially known as House Bill 1374. For more information about attending the hearing, visit: http://on.fb.me/Z3wIAH

Where: Room E2.036, Capitol Extension, Austin

When: April 9, 2:00 p.m.

2. Calling or emailing the House Education Committee and letting them know that you are for HB 1374.

Tebow Tidbits to Share

  • It Works. 27 states already allow home school students to participate in UIL activities.
  • Cost Shouldn’t Be the Issue. There are an estimated 320,000 home school students in Texas. Since the Texas comptroller estimates that educating a single student costs $11,000 annually, home schoolers save the state an estimated $3.5 billion annually.
  • HB 1374 Helps Rural Home Schoolers. Many home school students who do not live in the metropolitan areas of Texas do not have opportunities to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities. Oftentimes, the nearest home school family may live 50 miles away, even though a public school may be nearby.(For more factoids about the Tebow Bill, visit: thsc.org/tebow)

House Education Committee

Please call these members of the House Education Committee:
Rep. Marsha Farney – (512) 463-0309
Rep. Ken King – (512) 463-0736
Rep. Bennet Ratliff – (512) 463-0468
Rep. Mike Villarreal – (512) 463-0532

Please thank these committee members for supporting the bill:
Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock – jimmie.aycock@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Alma Allen – Alma.Allen@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Joe Deshotel – joe.deshotel@house.state.tx.us

The bill author and bill co-authors in the committee would appreciate your thanks as well:
Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr. – harold.dutton@house.state.tx.us
Rep. John Davis – john.davis@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Dan Huberty – dan.huberty@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Justin Rodriguez – Justin.Rodriguez@house.state.tx.us

Town Hall Meeting for Your Tebow Bill Concerns

Occasionally, a home schooler comes to us concerned about the Tebow Bill, the bill that would allow home schoolers to participate in UIL activities. “Will government start to regulate home schoolers because of this bill?” they ask. Others are just curious and want to know how their home schooled students would participate in public school sports and other extracurricular activities.

If you, too, have questions or concerns, you are invited to share them with Tim Lambert during an Online Town Hall Meeting. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. tonight, Monday, April 8. Put it on your calendar and feel free to invite your friends!

To participate in this interactive event, register at: thsc.org/townhall

Tim Lambert – has written 163 posts on this site.

43 Comments on “Call Today to Pass Tebow Bill”

  1. No, no, no! Why would we encourage the State to be involved at any level? Once we open the door for this, we are opening the door for so much more. I am so shocked that you guys are supporting this. We have been great supporters of THSC, but I am concerned why you guys are on board with this Bill.

    Ask yourself, why are you homeschooling?

    And we cannot compare this to Arizona’s low regulation situation. In Arizona you are required to provide information to local schools (birth certificates) when you homeschool. I do not want public schools involved in or tracking our education what so ever.

    Research this thoroughly and call your State Rep for further information. Your State Rep is voting on your behalf today!

    • Crystal,

      This bill only applies to home school students who wish to participate in UIL. This will require NO regulation or oversight from the public schools to home schoolers.

      • I get that, Tim, but once you open that door you are opening many other doors that potentially compromise our freedoms.

        If we allow them to regulate a homeschoolers involvement of UIL competitions/activities, where do we then draw the line?

        • Crystal there have been attempts every session to regulate or limit our freedom. Changing the law to prevent discrimination against home schoolers doesn’t “open the door.” Every time the legislature meets we are at risk and that’s why THSC spends so much time and money watching for legislation that is a threat to home schoolers and parents. This was going on before we filed the bill and it will continue whether we are successful or not. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

          We should not fail to work to eliminate discrimination against home schoolers because we are afraid of “potential”danger. In order for them to regulate home schools they will have to pass legislation in the House and the Senate and get the Governor to sign the bill into law. We will continue to do what we’ve done for the last 25 years to keep that from happening. My point is not passing this bill does not guarantee our freedom it only perpetuates discrimination against home schoolers.

      • I *think that should read This will require NO regulation or oversight from the public schools to home schoolers.

      • Jelaine Walker

        Mr. Lambert, Don’t be naive! This will give the state a foothold into our homes. Sir, I’ve always believed you had the best interest of homeschoolers in mind but you’ve come down on the wrong side on this one and appear to be blind to the dangers. We are not fearful as you suggest; we are just intelligent enough to recognize the tyranny of the small steps. This is a step into relinquishing the freedoms we enjoy in Texas. I pray that you, too, will recognize the danger in this bill and withdraw it. I will actively lobby against you on this one, sir, and I’ll be keeping an eye on you in the future. You no longer deserve our blind trust.

        • Jelaine,

          I’m not the one being naive. As I’ve said before, in order for the state to take our freedom they will have to pass legislation in the House, Senate and get the Governor to sign the bill. We have and will continue to watch for such legislation and sound the warning to kill such bills. The current bill does not affect anyone other than those who want to participate in UIL therefore it is NOT a step in relinquishing our freedom. I have never deserved (no does anyone) blind trust and I’m happy to discuss this or any other issue you have concerns with.

          • Jelaine Walker

            So, there’s absolutely no chance that this will affect any homeschooler other than those participating in UIL? Is that a guarantee, Mr. Lambert? You don’t see the potential for the SBOE, in the event a few students don’t pass these “tests” calling for examinations/regulations for all homeschoolers? Why do you think after eight years of trying to get this bill through it finally is seeing daylight? Could it be because the SBOE sees its chance to get a foot in the door now that you’ve agreed to testing? And are you guaranteeing us that forevermore the House, Senate and Governor will not sign a bill in favor of regulating all homeschoolers? While I completely agree that in our current Texas government losing our homeschool freedom is highly unlikely, I can also see that the demographics of our state may or may not support conservatism in the future and I, for one, am not willing to give an inch. I believe many who are supporting this bill are doing so because we have always known that you have our best interest at heart and so we trust you. I think as more realize what this bills means to all of us, the support for it will dwindle. I know you believe you are doing the right thing. I have no doubt your heart is in the right place but I think perhaps you’ve become so determined to get this measure to pass that you’re willing to make too many compromises and are ignoring the potential implications of such concessions. I pray this bill doesn’t make it out of committee.

          • There is absolutely no possibility that the SBOE will be able to use this because they have no statutory authority over home schools. As I have said and will keep on saying, in order to take our freedom the legislature will have to pass a bill in both houses and the Governor sign it into law. That is not going to happen as long as we continue to be vigilant and respond in opposition to such bills as we have done for the last 25 years. We are praying that the bill WILL pass.

        • I am sorry that the person who wrote this post believes that this bill puts her liberties in danger. I believe she has made some points mistakenly:
          1. Mr. Lambert is not naive. As a seasoned representative of home school families, he has spent years researching home school legislation and has invested unending hours listening to home school families in Texas. His decisions and that of the THSC are researched and informed and they are a representation of home school advocates, including the hundreds and thousands in small towns in Texas in which there are NO OPPORTUNITIES for our junior high and high school students to have activities like sports, choir and band except at the school. Years ago, and then again this past year, I spoke with Tim personally at Amarillo home school events about how our family and many others (who live in our small town an hour away from Amarillo) sincerely support a bill that would open UIL participation to home school students.
          2. The state will not gain a foothold into our homes via this bill. ONLY home school students who choose to participate in UIL will even be known to exist. Their choice will have no bearing on those home school families who want to “stay off the grid.” We have had 3 of our children go to school part-time (3 to 5 hours a day) over the past 10 years. Their participation did not in any way result in any extra regulation of the rest of our own home schooling day or any other of our younger children, and it certainly had no effect on any other home schooling families. Our older children have taken choir, band, and art classes in junior high (although as per UIL rules they could not participate in UIL events like contests), Algebra 1, speech and computer. They received grades in these classes, but we did not have to have any of the rest of our home schooling scrutinized at all. The right to part-time enrollment has not resulted in any kind of tyranny of small steps over the course of 10 years, 3 different children of ours, 2 different superintendents, 2 different junior high principals and many different teachers. In fact all have been very encouraging to our children. We have not had a bad experience with administration in all these years. Our first child is now going to graduate from college, and we are so thankful for the experiences she was able to have in those part-time classes.
          3. This will not be a step into relinquishing our freedoms. Our family has not relinquished any kind of freedom over the last 10 years by participating in some school classes – in fact in those areas we have had more freedom – freedom for our children to develop talents and skills otherwise not accessible to us, and also freedom for our children to be a light in the areas we chose for them. Our son was able to give a persuasive speech on the existence of God. Our daughter was able to play first chair flute. Another daughter was able to go to All-Region Choir (which is run by TMEA not UIL). They were able to get to know public school kids and invite them to church and small group Bible studies. They were able to improve the public school’s vision of home schooling because they brought character, leadership, and excellence to the classes and activities in which they participated. They had good relationships with their teachers and good relationships with their peers.
          4. I do not believe home school families support THSC in “blind trust.” A person’s leadership capabilities can be judged by the fruit of his/her labor. THSC has much “fruit” to be admired. Because of vigilant efforts of the THSC and Tim Lambert over many years of hard work, we enjoy the “fruit” of a very good environment in which to home school. This organization listens to ALL home school families and tries to support legislation to provide the best environment for home schooling students to succeed.
          5. The “wrong side of this one” assumes there are right and wrong sides of this bill. In our view, the bill is a “win-win” situation. Home school families who choose not to be involved in UIL can simply choose not to, just the same as with part-time enrollment, in which most home school families simply choose not to. Those who want to consider UIL can weigh the benefits v. the requirements. We see many benefits in that if home school students are allowed into UIL events, our children will have opportunities to develop God-given talents; they will have opportunities to walk among sinners and believers (like Jesus did) and learn to sharpen their faith by having to live it in the midst of those who don’t know Christ; they will have the opportunity to know this is not an “us” (the home schoolers) and “them” (the public schoolers) world – this is a world of people including ourselves who all need Jesus. As our children have to undergo (alongside public school kids) the demands and stresses of UIL events, such as long and grueling practices, working with a group for the best performance possible, and experiencing both victories and defeats, they will have the freedom to express their faith and Christlike character among their peers by leading their teams in prayer, encouraging fellow teammates, persevering under duress, showing respect to authorities, and potentially starting student-led Christian groups like chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. At our high school one of our children started a devotion and worship time on the high school lawn called Lunch on the Lawn on Mondays that has been going now for three years. Home school families will be able to walk along public school families at the games and concerts and performances and reach across barriers to have programs and people who are affected by the love of Christ as we live it out among them.
          6. It is sad for me to hear the tone in the words “I’ll be keeping an eye on you in the future.” Our brother in Christ who is working so hard to represent home school families as a whole does not deserve that kind of disciplinary tone. Certainly, we all should be cognizant of legislation. But the implication that someone is untrustworthy and has made a decision blindly is a harsh criticism to make in a public forum. Disagreeing with someone’s perspective is different than criticizing his or her character, and I believe that is a distinction that should be made.
          I know I speak for many home school families in our town and small towns all across Texas who long to continue home schooling, but who also highly value opportunities for our children to work hard in their areas of talent and interest, all the while being taught God’s values at home and being able to walk them out among their peers in settings that we might choose as we believe they are ready to do so. Those who do not believe their children are ready for these kinds of challenges, simply can choose not to participate. If a family wishes to remain as far from public school as possible, they can! If home school groups want to continue having an organization of home school teams and competitions built on Christian principles, they can! I would think that would be an attractive option if we had any such opportunity nearer than 150 miles away. All the Tim Tebow bill does is open the door for more freedoms and a greater variety of opportunities if we choose them, and opportunities for us and our older children to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations …” (Matt. 28:19). For “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:47) May God give us as home schooling families the energy and wisdom to pursue any and all of the options that would be available to us if the bill passes, and the peace and unity He would want among His people.

  2. I am so excited about the possibilities that this bill has to offer. My children want to participate in band, and especially in our area, this will only be accomplished by participating in the public school program. This is completely voluntary, and demonstrates to the rest of the world that homeschoolers are not seeking to separate themselves from society, but rather take charge of their children’s education as they see fit. I see it as homeschooling at it’s most free!

  3. 2 pm can’t get here fast enough….I hope it passes.

    • Still waiting for the bill to come up. It may be late.

    • I’m with you Jasmine. I live in a rural community and this bill will open up so many positive opportunities for my children .Praying it pass.So are my children :)

  4. These sports are at least loosely funded by tax payer dollars (i.e. the governement). If you press for homeschoolers to be allowed in, it will come with a price. The government doesn’t give anything away for free. Yes, they will see this as giving something away and sooner or later they will want to start making demands on us using this as their doorway. It’s always this way. Government money comes with a leash…….always. Do we have a right to this, yes. We paid taxes into this. However, I pay school taxes every year and don’t use the schools, either. I won’t fight for or accept the vouchers idea either, for this same reason. The less connected we are with the public school system the better. Sports is not important enough to risk our freedoms as homeschoolers. There are more important things at stake.

    • Ruth,

      We have worked to change the law to require home school graduates be treated the same as public high school graduates in college and that community colleges treat our students the same as public high school students for dual credit classes as well as many other issues. None of these things “received from the state” have led to a loss of our freedom. We don’t have to choose between doing away with discrimination against home schoolers or our freedom. Our experience has shown we can have both!

      • They are not funded by the government. They are funded by the taxpayers. Including homeschoolers.

  5. AH!! I just read more of this bill. REALLY?!?!?! Why is THSC supporting this? Are you for us or against us?
    Haven’t you read the part below (I pasted)? This isn’t just “getting to play”. This is them telling you how to homeschool i fyou want to participate! This will bleed over onto the rest of us. It is wrong to put all of us at risk for a few who want to play sports with the public school system.

    I’m begging you to stop this! I have children who would like the same freedoms we have enjoyed in homeschooling their own children. PLEASE put things in perspective. It’s SPORTS, that’s all. We will not die without sports. I can’t believe the risk people are willing to take and put onto the rest of us for this.

    (b) A home-schooled student who seeks to participate or who
    participates in a league activity on behalf of a school is subject
    to the relevant policies that apply to students enrolled in the
    school, including policies regarding registration, age
    eligibility, fees, insurance, transportation, physical condition,
    qualifications, responsibilities, event schedules, standards of
    behavior, and performance.
    (c) As a condition of participation by a home-schooled
    student in a league activity under this section, the individual who
    primarily provides instruction to the student must submit a written
    verification to the school indicating whether the student is:
    (1) receiving a passing grade in each course or
    subject taught; and
    (2) maintaining satisfactory progress towards
    academic advancement or promotion.

    • Ruth,

      It will not “bleed over” to all home schoolers. To do so would require legislation in the House and the Senate and being signed into law by the Governor. No one will force anyone to participate in UIL. It is strictly voluntary.

  6. Family of Six

    Homeschools in the Texas have been determined by the Texas courts to be Private Schools. Therefore Private Schools and Homeschools are NOT regulated by the state. This is how we are protected. This is a huge blessing!! We cannot be in both camps. Homeschooling is a choice and every choice we makes has pros and cons.I agree with the others–we are inviting in unnecessary trouble. Look at the homeschool laws in Florida where Tim Tebow played High School. The district has a homeschool representative…

  7. I applaud Tim Lambert and the THSC and fully support their position and actions regarding the Tebow bill. Without their constant vigilance and work on this issue and many others in Texas legislature and the courts our homeschooling freedoms would already be greatly compromised.

    The objections made are not specific, but vague and do not demonstrate a knowledge of exactly HOW homeschoolers are in jeopardy, that is, by what policies will the state limit their freedoms. Meeting UIL requirements imposed on all students to participate is not the same as being regulated. I would like to know by what exact rulings or legislation we are in danger from UIL participation.

    The fact is, UIL access will greatly strengthen the position of Texas homeschoolers across the board. Their presence at competitions and in the community will become standard and more familiar. Just this past weekend our speech team competed in an open tournament as the only homeschool team (with great results!), but we were announced as a homeschool COOP (bok, bok!) because they really don’t know who we are or what a co-op is. We are different, but we are legitimate and we care and work very hard in our programs.

    Further, being invisible to the state and to our communities only sends the wrong message that homeschooling is not really a legitimate type of education, that we are too afraid or too incompetent to compete. Texas homeschoolers today should be proud and confident to compete with all other Texas students. We know that competition helps everyone to improve, therefore, the UIL should accept the challenge and not outlaw homeschools.

    WAY TO GO TIM LAMBERT AND THE THSC!!!!

    Heather Isenhower
    THSC Member

  8. Can you confirm that this bill distinguishes home schools different from private schools? Doesn’t it contradict “In Texas, a home school is a private school and private schools aren’t regulated?” Are you saying other laws have been passed that already contradict that and those haven’t impacted our freedoms so we shouldn’t be concerned in this case? In the current political climate in which we are being asked to sign presidential petitions (German family seeking asylum for home schooling in Germany) and the CNBC propaganda for more public Ed funding because “Children don’t belong to their parents or families…” is it wise to distinguish home schools as a separate group than private schools? Why not treat them the same if “a home school is a private school and private schools aren’t regulated?”

    • Julie,

      Home schools ARE private schools but we have distinguished between home schools and other private schools because in some cases they are different as in the Perez case with regard to the Gun Free School Zone case and being able to have a gun in our home school because it is different from a traditional school. Failure to make that distinction can result in harm or discrimination. However, this does not mean that a home school is not a private school.

      These laws do not contradict that a home school is a private school but distinguishes between a home school and other private schools. For example with regard to requiring public schools to allow a home school student to take the PSAT the legislature did not want public schools to offer this to traditional private schools.

      The answer to your question is we treat home schools different in some circumstances to address specific needs that do not apply to other private school as in the PSAT situation above. If we strictly abided by the requirement not to distinguish between home schools and other private schools these discriminatory circumstances would not have been changed. We believe it more important to address discriminatory issues than not distinguish between home schools and other private schools and we have not seen a loss of freedom due to these distinctions.

  9. Thank you THSC and Mr. Lambert for filing the Tebow Bill and working towards providing more opportunities for homeschoolers in Texas. We are very blessed to homeschool and we should not have a spirit of fear. Numerous other states allow homeschoolers to participate in UIL activities and what a great opportunity. It is a CHOICE to participate and what a great option! Thank you! Tim Tebow and Collin Klein are just two examples of awesome character witnesses for Christ that have impacted so many others. Perhaps the future ones will come from Texas!

  10. Robyn Rittenhouse

    I admit, I have not read the bill, don’t need to. I took my kids out of public school for a reason! I am not going to send them to public school just to play sports or do other activities. I have a great idea: how about the government exempt homeschoolers from paying TAXES for public schools! Then we homeschool parents can spend our $$$ on OUR KID’S! For me this is not about fear, it’s about freedom. When to gov. takes my money to pay for service’s that I don’t use….that’s not freedom!

    • Robyn,

      I would encourage you to read the bill. This bill will not impact your family in any way.

  11. Tim,

    You are doing a great thing. I really dont get the encroachment or domino theory that concerns others on this bill. No homeschool family has to particpate, it will remain a choice. This does not open the proverbial door for more regulations on home school kids. Thus for those that homeschool that do not want this bill it really has no effect. We know alot of homeschool families and only those that are not properly educating their kids are really concerned. Some are pure freedomist and do not want to allow any intervention but most are not. Most want what is best for their kids and this Bill is a great thing for anyone who homeschools that wants it and nothing to those that don’t.

    My kids may or may not choose to particpate as a result, but having the choice with my taxpayer money should be avaliable. I personally hope they do as I know the value of organized athletics in personal development. In 2007, I was asked to help start a homeschool football team for a group of young men as I used to Coach for a living. My kids were just born and I felt I was called to do this. It was a blessing and where we really learned about homechooling before we had kids. We did it for a few years until I had to move and I know there are many families out there that homeschool and want their kids to participate in these events at their local school. I also understand the concerns from the UIL and Coaches and feel the Bill is well written to cover for those as well.

    For those that dont want this bill, again that is your choice. I know my kids are getting a great education and I have no issues with them taking tests to guage their levels. In fact we ware doing this now as I want to know we are doing our best for them.

    We want this bill, keep up the good work.

    Walter Dale- Pearland.

  12. Tim
    Where does the “pending” status leave the bill after last night?

    • The bill could be voted out of committee as early as next Tuesday and we are working to accomplish that.

  13. Mr. Lambert, I am very, very grateful for all the THSC does for homeschoolers. There is much to be done, but this bill is NOT one of them. Please direct the efforts, time and resources of THSC towards worthwhile endeavors.

    You are lobbying in Austin on behalf of homeschoolers and give the impression that a majority of homeschoolers wish to have this ‘opportunity’. I have been a THSC member for 8 years and never have I been asked if I support this issue. I would be curious to know if the majority of members support this (I suspect not).

    I am including a copy of the letter I sent to the members of the house committee this morning. (and yes, I did discus this with my TX Hist class today and not ONE of the students is willing to have this bill pass for the chance to do UIL.) There is much more to life than UIL…much more. It’s time to move on.

    To the elected representatives of our great state of Texas,

    I write to you as a homeschooling parent (and former public school teacher) and I ask that you oppose HB 1374. While THSC and some home schooling families support this bill, I believe passage of this bill would infringe upon the current status of home schooling in Texas. I realize the current status of the bill is ‘pending in committee’ and hope that it will remain in committee to die.

    Under the 1991 Leeper decision, home schooling is defined simply as a “private school”. To define homeschooling differently than private schools with regards to this bill is a slippery slope. Changing the definition of homeschooling is the first step to regulation. How long until another bill or a court declares that the home schooling defined in this definition is the only kind of home schooling allowed in Texas, as other states have done?

    This bill also brings testing and grade reporting into the picture for home schoolers. It’s optional right now, but it is not likely to stay that way. During the debate on this bill in committee, some of the proponents were even talking about “increased rigor” to home schools as a result of this testing (as though that would be a good thing). Others who do not typically pay attention to home school issues were asking how home schools are regulated and tested now.

    I am grateful for the freedom I have to home school my children as we see fit. My three children have always been home schooled and unless the Lord leads me otherwise, they will always be home schooled.

    I appreciate the service each of you provide to our great state and consider it a privilege to teach Texas History, including how our Texas government operates, to our local home schooling students. I can assure you we will be discussing this bill during our class today. Our family will also be visiting the state Capitol on April 20th with TeenPact and look forward to seeing you and our other elected officials in action. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or further concerns you may have.

    Thank you.

    Marcie Taylor-Conroe

    • Marcie,

      In the 1980s there were so few home school students that we adopted the strategy of not making any distinctions between home schools and private schools. However, we have distinguished between home schools and other private schools for many years to make sure that harmful or discriminatory issues against home schoolers were resolved.

      The first such instance was in the 1990s when HSLDA filed a federal lawsuit in San Antonio called the Perez case, after a THSC Director. In this case they argued that a home school was distinct and different from a traditional school and should not fall under the same restrictions applied to schools under the Gun Free School Zone Act. This was done to protect the second amendment right of home school families. It did not change the legal status of home schooling in Texas or result in a loss of our freedom. To the contrary it enhanced it.

      Since that time a definition of home school (which tracked the Leeper decision language and was approved by Shelby Sharpe, the attorney in that case) was added to the Texas Education Code (TEC) when we passed legislation to force public schools to allow a home school student to take the PSAT, which in many areas is offered only in public schools. This was necessary because legislators were not willing to pass a bill that forced public schools to allow all private school students to take the PSAT at public schools. Passing that legislation did not change the legal status of home schooling in Texas or result in the loss of freedom, rather that freedom was enhanced.

      Finally, your assumption that allowing home schoolers to choose to participate in UIL will change the status of home schooling in Texas is incorrect. Nothing will change. That, of course, is not to say that there will not be attempts to limit our freedom as there have been this session and have been in virtually every legislative session since the 1990s. There are no guarantees of continued freedom except through eternal vigilance, but we should not avoid giving home school families more choices out of fear that this will somehow put our freedom at risk in the future.

      • Mr. Lambert,

        Thank you for your detailed reply. Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree on this area. I understand what you are saying and you certainly have the inside track in Austin and have greater faith in our government than I do in this area. I do hope you are right but will continue to believe that this bill is simply not worth it. UIL is not all there is. Homeschool students can be VERY successful without UIL participation and in fact, thrive perhaps more so. Choice for some students will likely mean more regulation for all students. Again, I appreciate your professionalism and all that THSC does. I know it is a weary process all that THSC has to do in the short legislative time period. Thanks again.

        • Marcie,

          Thanks for your kind response. I don’t have faith in our government, but in our Lord and elected officials who are in office and have proven over the years that they will go to bat for us with bureaucrats who overstep their bounds when it comes to home school freedom. If necessary we will go to court to protect our freedoms. UIL may not be an issue for some, but it is for many and we want families to be able to choose to continue to home school and have options for their children. God bless you, friend.

  14. Mr. Lambert,
    We are a homeschool family of 17 years. Due to the discrimination within the UIL, our family has had to make some very hard decisions. We live in a rural town,110 miles from the nearest homeschool league, and one by one have transferred three of our four children into public school in order to participate in team sports. Without this discrimination, we would have been able to continue our dream of homeschooling all our children while they pursued their own dreams of athletic competition, not to mention academic UIL competition. One of our sons has now completed his first year of college football- a dream he had in following his daddy’s footsteps.
    Were we forced to participate? No, we used our freedom. We as parents have dreams; likewise our children have their own – the mind of Christ.
    Is this about sports? I don’t think so.
    We appreciate your tireless efforts to protect our freedoms as a family and also fight discrimination against us. We have enjoyed and do not take for granted the years granted to us to school our children. Thank you for your shepherding and sacrifices. May His Kingdom come and His will be done here in this place.

  15. Can you tell me how Tebow-style legislation in other states has affected those homeschooling communities at large? Did they go into it with the belief that the regulation would not “carry over” into the general homeschool population, and not just those that choose to participate in U.I.L. activities? While I appreciate all that you work for, I just worry that we are sacrificing the good of the many for the good of the few, without even realizing it. I realize that this is a choice, I can choose whether or not my children participate in U.I.L. activities at the school district we live in, I just have a nagging feeling that we are letting the state get a leg in the back door toward increased regulation of homeschooling in Texas, and once they get a taste they won’t back down.

    • Katy,

      I’ll have to do some research to be sure, but I’m not aware of any state that saw more restrictions added after they were able to participate. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t attempts. No guarantees of freedom. Eternal vigilance is the key.

      • Mr Lambert,

        Is there a single state where this legislation is in effect that did not already have regulations? You say “eternal vigilance is the key” but aren’t you waving a red flag in front of a bull? Doesn’t it make more sense to stay out of the bull ring than to try to avoid/kill the bull once he’s charging? Contrary to what you’ve represented, I don’t think the majority of your membership is in favor of this bill. I think the majority of us would prefer to stay out of the bull ring.

        • Ms. Walker,

          Your assumption that to seek this choice for home schoolers is “waiving a red flag in front of a bull” is the same one that home school opponents of the Leeper case filed in the 1980s made, as I mentioined recently in this blog. By suing the state to stop the unlawful prosecution of home schoolers they argued, we were drawing attention to home schools and asking for trouble for all of us. Their proposal was to do nothing and let individual home school families fend for themselves when prosecuted. They were wrong and Leeper case settled the legal status of home schooling in Texas for good.

          Ms. Walker, would you have made the same argument then? What about in 1995 when we pushed the legislature to allow parents to teach their children to drive and refused to “cut a deal for only home schoolers”? How about in 2001 when we changed the law to require that home schools be treated the same as private and public schools by community colleges for dual credit classes? Or in 2003, when we changed the law to require that home school children receive child support on the same basis as students in other schools? Would you have opposed changing the law in 2005 to require state colleges to treat home school students the same as public high school students for college admission? Would you have opposed the change in the law requiring public schools to let home school students take the PSAT?

          Your assumption that we will not be the target of state regulation if we don’t pursue UIL participation for home school students is false. We have been threatened with legislation to deal with “diploma mills” in the last two sessions and again in this one which would directly impact home schools. Our response has been to tell the legislators contemplating such legislation that we will vigorously oppose any legislation for whatever purpose that will negatively affect home school freedom. We are also working to change the law that allows grandparents to sue single parents when they disagree with legitimate parenting decisions that sometimes include the choice to home school. This session there is a bill that we have opposed in the Senate and will oppose next week in the Texas House that would expand this law to allow a grandparent to sue intact families as well. These are all threats to our parental right to home school our children.

          Perhaps you have been unaware of these situations and have wrongly concluded that there have been no attempts to change the law in Texas that would be detrimental to home schooling. Our organization’s purpose is and always has been to defend home schooling and to vigorously oppose discrimination against home school students and families.

          Finally, Legislative offices that have been taking calls on the HB 1374 and SB 929 have told us that the calls are running 4 to 1 in favor of the legislation. Obviously, this something that the home school community in Texas supports.

  16. Mr. Lambert,

    Is there a clear procedure concerning standardized tests, for students who are in public school this year, who might choose to withdraw at end of the year to homeschool in fall of 2013? Would they be required to take tests in the fall or will the STARR EOCs from this year suffice for the first year of eligibility?
    Thanks!

  17. I support the bill and THSC. I am surprised at the opposition from home schoolers, but in our system of government they have every right to not agree. That is how it works. Majority rules. I just hope we can get the bill passed, but if not, the people have spoken.

    I am just surprised that when homeschoolers get the chance to increase their kids extracurricular activities and socialize with their public school peers they oppose it so vehemently.

    The way I see it if you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to, but please let the rest of us have a chance. I am fairly sure the home schooled kids will outperform their peers.

    I hope our voices are not drowned out.

    I know there are people who are not homeschooling with kids in public school who have joined the anti-THSC bandwagon, and that is a shame. Although any taxpaying citizen living in Texas has the right to voice their concern. I just hope they disclose the fact they are not homeschoolers who would be affected.

    I would love my kid to be able to participate in cheerleading or band or whatever they can.

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