Tebow Bill Update

The “Tim Tebow Bill” that would allow Texas home schooled students to take part in extracurricular activities in the public school district in which they reside passed out of the Texas Senate on Thursday. While news articles accurately say the bill passed on a 21-7 vote, that is not the whole story. If all members had been present, the vote would have been 23-8. While two Republican senators voted against the bill, six Democratic senators voted for the measure. Senators Ken Paxton and Donna Campbell, joint authors of the bill, worked very hard with all senators for this historic vote.

This strong bipartisan support and what the media reports as “mild opposition from some public education groups” indicate this measure has increasingly strong support and could become law. The Senate bill (SB 929) will now go to the House Public Education Committee, where the House version of the measure (HB 1374) had a hearing on April 9 and has a majority of members of the committee in support of the bill.

The deadline for House bills to be voted out of the Texas House is the second week of May. However, since SB 929 has now passed, that deadline is no longer an issue since the House can act later on a Senate bill.

Comments

  1. politicaljules says

    I’ve heard the bill is being held up in committee by Chairman Aycock. I am also part of a liberal homeschooling group in Austin that refuses to support the bill and is actively recruiting people, friends and family of theirs who are not homeschoolers to bombard the House of representatives with opposition to the bill. I support this bill, but I am concerned this group of liberal homeschoolers will out weigh our voices.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Aycock has told us and others that he supported the bill but people are beginning to question this since he has still not allowed the bill to be voted out of committee. This is not just about how many people call but the arguments that are made in support or in opposition to the measure. We saw this week the Texas Senate pass the bill with 21 votes but we actually had 23 in support and two of those were absent. Our opponents made lots of calls to the Senators but the argument that the bill would lead to regulation of home schoolers did not make sense to most. I believe if we can get the bill to the House floor we will see a victory similar to what we saw in the Senate.

      • politicaljules says

        Are there any letters I can write or representatives I can call to help voice my support? I did send Representative Aycock a letter, and an email respectfully asking him to let it proceed with my reasons why.

        • Tim Lambert says

          We are continuing to work with all members of the legislature to find ways to pass this bill into law. We’ll keep you informed. Thank you for your prayers and support.

  2. Rachel says

    Tim, now that it has passed in the Senate, does that mean it still has to pass out of the House PEC to make it to the House floor? We have called and emailed Chairman Aycock several times urging him to allow the vote. I could overhear him during the committee hearing as he kept pushing the bill back when others on the committee would ask “is this the UIL bill?” Oh, the politics! :)

    • Tim Lambert says

      Rachel, SB 929 will likely be referred to the House Pub Ed committee and we will be looking for other avenues for the bill to pass as well.

  3. Jay Adams says

    We are active home schoolers and have home schooled for eleven (11) years now. But, we do NOT support thus bill.

    Why would any desicated home school parent go to all of the trouble to rear — and educate — their children apart from the influences of public school and, then, place these same children into the apex of many of those same public school influences? Think about it … You’re about to subject your children to the pinnacle of adolescent idolatry of sports; winning at all costs; and, some if ‘the’ worst behavior — usually by parents — that the world has to offer.

    And, why would any dedicated home school parent invite the opportunity (a proverbial “foot in the door”) to bring the regulatory authority of politicians into our homes? Think about it … “Little Johnny” cannot pass the rigor of public school, so we’ll pull him out and give this home school thing a try. And, not too long after that, the popularity will prompt some politician to say, “Well, now. We need to more-closely monitor the academic rigor of home schoolers.”

    The push behind this bill is laced with pride; poorly scoped; and, the long-term impacts extremely short-sighted.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Jay,
      Your comments are certainly reasons that many, perhaps most, would not choose UIL activities for their children. However, the basis for our defense of home schooling has always been the fundamental right of parents to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children. We believe that all parents should have the right to make educational decisions for their children.

      As you have so clearly demonstrated, we will not all agree on what is best for children, but from a public policy perspective we believe we should let the parents make those decisions rather than a government bureaucracy. This bill would simply allow the home school parent to make that decision instead of school superintendents.

      Back in the 1980s it was the state that was arguing that we should not allow parents to make the decision to teach their children at home because they were “not qualified” and government officials might disagree with what they parents decided to teach them. That argument is not all that different from yours: You don’t want to allow home school parents to make that decision (UIL participation) because you don’t believe it would be best for the child. That is a slippery slope. What other decisions for their children should the state not allow parents to make???

      • Julie says

        My reply to this is that it is a narrow-minded view in my opinion that goes against what Christ-Himself taught, “To be in the world, but not of it” and to love others. UIL includes not just sports – as Tim Tebow himself played, but marching band, orchestra, band, choir, color guard, drama, art, and other clubs and organizations.
        There are students on swim and diving teams who have opportunities to even go to the Olympics if this is passed.
        We and MANY others who homeschool believe that our kids should have the ability to do these activities. I know it is probably hard to believe, but there are those who are in administration and even teachers/coaches who are Christians who look out for kids and require parents to tow the line. Actually – UIL – there are more dedicated parents, in fact you will not find many parents who want to behave poorly and even encourage proper behavior because they want to not only properly represent the team or group their children are participating in, but represent their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and set a good example for the kids. They work hard to support the kids and they cheer the kids on.
        Last – my husband and I believe that parents – ESPECIALLY homeschool parents – should teach their children how to be missionaries in the world they live in by setting a Godly example to those around them and sharing Christ’s love to those they come into contact with and work with. What a wonderful opportunity to minister to others their age than participating in UIL. As a parent – we would still be providing them the education that we believe they are to have!

        • Cindy says

          I am in full agreement with you, Julie! We have home schooled our 7 children for 17 years. We ended up sending the oldest 4 children to high school because we are at least an hour away from opportunities for them to participate in band, choir and sports. Our experience with these programs was extremely good. The coaches and directors held Christian values and allowed and encouraged our children to pray with the team before competitions, to go to church when they went to state, and to invite many of the students to church activities. They learned to live out their faith among unbelievers and share Christ’s love with those who did not know Him.

          We would like to home school our last 3 children through high school, providing them with a godly perspective of all subjects and allowing time for study of God’s Word. But we also would like for them to be have the opportunity for competitive group activities that we are totally unable to create for them. We are an hour away from a large city, and in our small town, there is no way we can create a band and choir and challenging sports teams that the school has within a 10 minute drive for us.

          We are only asking for the freedom to choose this for our children. Those home school families who do not want to choose to do UIL do not have to! They can stay completely “off the grid.” Our older children going to school did not bring on any more regulation of the ones we were homeschooling. We have always sought to have good relationships with the public school and home school community, and I believe we have both. Just because many home school families do not want to have any dealings with public school does not mean that those who do should be prohibited from having the freedom of choice to do so. I believe this freedom would allow home school families a much greater influence for Christ in their communities, something much needed in times like these.

          • Julie says

            Julie,
            UIL has very little to do with Olympic qualification. As a matter of fact they don’t even have the same events in the sport of diving in which I competed in high school. High School UIL in TX is only 1m diving and the Olympics only has 3m and platform events.

  4. Paula says

    Jay, it is not just about sports! In many rural areas, young folks do not have the opportunity to play music with a larger group. Band, choir and orchestra (though attached to public schools) are some of the few opportunites to get that group experience. As it stands now, community children are not even allowed to sit in the stands and play the National Anthem with the band at a football game for fear of the band being disqualified from a future UIL event.

    Entire communities rally around a local team making it to the playoff or finals–no matter if that team is a sports team or a musical team! I want my children to have the opportunity to participate in a community team.

    For many of us UIL brings to mind MUSIC first, not sports.

  5. Jay Adams says

    Paula, you’re right … It should be more about the total package. My applogies. But, in all fairness, this bill has been dubbed “The Tim Tebow Bill,” and Tim Tebow did not gain notoriety for his speech, debate, chess or orchestra skills. The reality, whether we genuinely want to admit it or not, is that the primary push is, indeed, for and by sports enthusiasts. And, to that point, public school does not necessarily have to be the sole or even primary outlet for sports, fine arts, etc. interests: There are a number if wonderful, wholesome home school oriented programs out there … You just have to find them. Or, in some cases, it may be you called to start one. :)

    • politicaljules says

      I would like my son to have the chance to play in the band in addition to learning an instrument. I would like my daughter to compete in cheerleading.

      • Jim says

        Sports are not evil. There is good to be found in learning team work, extending yourself beyond limits you have placed upon yourself (ye olde “but, I can’t do it!”) while learning at the same time how to pace yourself. There is nothing wrong with the “thrill of victory & the agony of defeat.” Learning to be competitive. The discipline of physical fitness is not to be sneered at either.
        Yes I am in a homeschooling household (husband and wife). Would I expose our children to that? No, I would not though for personal reasons rather than principle. My point, and the point of this bill, is to allow parents the CHOICE (not “shouting” just have no other means of expressing emphasis) of having their children participate in such events. They can counter the negative aspects of limited exposure that could occur from such interaction, things like instilling the spirit of sportmanship as well as onlookers behavior. Exposure to negative aspects of the world can be life lessons as well as positive. A trip to Walmart is rife with such opportunities, for instance. (Things like calling attention to the appearance of people wearing pj’s in public, or pants hanging far lower than they should just to name a couple of examples…)
        And again, even if you believe sports are the primary motivation, that is still not the sole benefit.
        And again, it’s about choice. You most likely would not send & my wife & I most certainly would not send our kids into that environment. That doesn’t mean we should deny others the right. Individual choices are what individual freedom is about.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Jay,

      I don’t know anyone who would call me a “sports enthusiast.” I noticed that you failed to respond to my comments about parental rights being the driving issue for our support of this measure.

      Whether you want to admit it or not this is about letting parents make the decisions for the education of their children and if you don’t want to make that choice no one will force you to do so. Opposing this because you don’t want home school parents to be able to make choices for their children that you disagree with is short sighted and that mentality is what we have fought against for the last 25 years.

    • Deborah Perez says

      Jay,

      I am glad it is noted that bill in honor of Tim Tebow who is a great Christian example in a world with far too many honorable examples. Had he not been allowed to participate in a UIL sanctioned event in the state of Florida, then he might not be the example to young athletes out there today. It shouldn’t matter if he was in debate, band or sports – but that he was given a great blessing to be able to choose.

      I am a degreed Texas teacher who quit work 13 years ago to homeschool our 4 children. Everyone chooses to homeschool for different reasons. We will never agree with what is right or why we choose to do it. But all we ask, in our family, is the chance to be able to choose for our children to participate in sports (yes, we are sports enthusiasts) in the schools we help fund through our taxes. My sons have played select baseball for 5 years now. We also play in the homeschool league in our city for the past few years. The homeschool group is not near as competitive as our select teams or the high schools in our area. They try, but we just aren’t there yet. Our family just wants the opportunity for them to compete at the highest level possible. All we are asking for are choices.

      Thank you, Tim, for all your hard work for our homeschooling community. You are a blessing to many of us.

    • Geoff says

      Mr. Lambert,

      First, thank you for all you and the THSC accomplishes on behalf of home school families across the great state of Texas. Second, I have to throw my thoughts into this thread to show my support for your work.

      To start, lets look at the education system within the United States. Within that education system, there are private schools, charter schools, home schools and public schools. Now as a parent with qualified children (5-18 years of age), you can choose whichever school you want. If you choose public school, you can enroll them in the appropriate district right away at no cost. If you choose private, charter or home school, you may need to pay some out of pocket expenses, but that is the parent’s right to choose.

      I also see the education system as divided into two sections. First is the compulsory education aspect. You can send your child to school from 8 am to 3 pm and fulfill that aspect or you can do it at home using your own curriculum on your own schedule. The second part starts after the compulsory education is complete. Whether that be chess, sports, debate, speech, band, etc. You can choose to send your child to the YMCA, city leagues or if this bill is passed, to the local public school. Again, I feel this bill opens up another opportunity for a child, who is qualified to participate (right age, shots, good grades, etc), in another competitive league. We must not forget, just because a child goes to public school does not mean they will take advantage of all entitlements, i.e. sports, band, chess, debate, etc. Each family with children in the education system should have the right to make the choice.

      The State of Texas and THSC have spent 20+ years defending parent’s right to choose to home school. I have read in opposition letters that the home school community may receive backlash from this bill as soon as one student gets a starting position over a public school child. Does not this theory sound so familiar when we think about our religious rights being taken away? How many times have we given up our rights because we are afraid of the second and third level effects? If we take that attitude, where will it ever stop? What about a home school student getting a full scholarship over a public school student? What about a home school student getting a job over a public school student? Don’t you think we would receive backlash from those individuals? Their families? Maybe they will want home school to stop because they feel homeschooling produces smarter students. Should we cease to exercise our rights because someone may be offended? Should we close churches because an atheist is offended? Should we remove the Ten Commandments from public places because someone is offended? Of course not…we must not relinquish our rights because someone may be offended…we must not be afraid to “rock the apple cart” because of a “possible” backlash.

      Or better yet…why don’t we stand up for our rights…defend them…and if someone is offended, I am sorry, but everyone will not be pleased. When will society realize that everyone is not going to be rich, smart, get the best job, win a trophy, or be promoted? Have we lost the concept of personal accountability?

      It should be the parent’s right to choose, not the state, not the local school system and not even other homeschooling parents. If other homeschooling parents do not want their children to participate, that is their choice. But those parents should not inflict their opinion on other families who want to exercise their right to enroll their children in public school UIL extracurricular activities.

      I will stand behind the Tim Tebow bill not because I will put my kids in local school activities, but because I want all home school families to have the right to make that choice for their family. I will continue to encourage other families to not look so narrowly at only their situation, but to look at the home school community and what is best to provide equal opportunities and at the same time defend our rights!

  6. Tara says

    Thanks so much THSC and Tim for your hard work! I support you and this bill. I refuse to be afraid of the ‘what ifs’ and will look at the huge opportunities this bill will bring. Keep letting us know who we need to call. God bless!

  7. Suzanne says

    Mr. Lambert,

    I have been struggling with whether to support this bill. I have read where you stand and why you believe it’s so important, and I do not disagree. I have also read leader’s of other homeschool organizations views which are in opposition. My mind tells me that you are right. It should be our right to choose whether our children participate in UIL activities. After all, we are already paying taxes to participate. My heart, on the other hand, tells me that for the last 7 years that I have been homeschooling here in Texas, things have been so smooth. I already knew about the money we would lose in taxes by choosing to homeschool, and it was a sacrifice we were willing to make. My heart tells me that this bill would “upset the apple cart” and cause trouble for us in years to come. I love how Texas leaves us alone. I would never, personally, use anything government schools have to offer. My dreams for my children are way bigger than anything the public school system can give. But I am a believer in liberty. You are right, who am I to jurisdict what others do with their children? I guess my struggle is…..I am afraid, and I don’t know if I am ready to fight for something that I don’t even want for my own children. I would love to see a debate with you and the opposition. It may help me make up my mind. I know these concerns are not new to your ears, and I apologive for asking you to repeat what you have probably said so many times, but please help me make up my mind.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Suzanne,

      I understand your struggle and I think the basis of it is that you’ve had no problems so far and you think that things being “so smooth” are due to the fact that we do not have UIL participation. However, things are not so smooth for everyone. Our office deals with home schoolers who have problems with school districts, colleges, Social Security, CPS, the military and all kinds of other issues where government officials do not understand the law or choose to ignore it almost every week.

      Our job, as the state advocacy organization, is to hold those officials accountable and defend home schoolers and we do so aggressively. That is one reason most Texas home schoolers have it so smoothly because they know that THSC will do whatever is necessary to protect home schooling and home schoolers. In fact, one father dealing with CPS told me that he overheard two caseworkers say that THSC was now involved and they had to be very careful. That is another reason we are suing CPS in a civil rights case in federal court in Houston. We want them to know that they will pay a price for violating the rights of parents in Texas.

      At the same time, we have aggressively pushed for changes in the law to: prevent Texas colleges from discriminating against home school graduates for admission; require community colleges to treat home schools the same as public schools for dual credit classes; prohibit CPS from targeting home school families; requiring public schools to allow home school students to take the PSAT test in the local public school; requiring the courts to treat home school students the same as public school students for child support and this session we are working for the third session to amend the grandparent access statute to restore the parental rights of fit single parents.

      My point is simply that for over 25 years our organization has worked to change the laws that discriminate or harm home school parents and at the same time to defend individual home schoolers when they are the target of government officials. This will not change regardless of whether or not the Tim Tebow bill becomes law. Officials will still ignore the law and we will still aggressively hold them accountable but that is not a legitimate reason to oppose a bill that gives home school families more freedom. I hope that helps.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Suzanne,

      You might want to listen to the recording of our townhall meeting on the Tebow bill that is almost two hours long. I answered lots of questions and comments. You can download it here (http://thsc.org/townhall/)

  8. Maley says

    Hello friends! It would be an incredible challenge to begin a homeschool league in our community in which we are the only homeschool family. Thank you THSC for your hard work!
    Historically, minorities in the fight for Civil Liberties needed the support of those who didn’t necessarily need liberation for their own families. It requires other freedom- minded people to help.
    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Physically living outside the government doesn’t exist. Spiritually living outside the government is our priveledge.
    God is the giver of all good things.

  9. Ginny says

    Mr. Lambert, In regards to the location of the townhall meeting…Was information passed out to the supporters so they would know who to contact since this is Aycocks area? I know Trent mentioned that it would be double points if his constituents called. Thanks…

  10. Julie Jumes says

    Why must the bill distinguish home schooled students from private school students? If this bill is about parental rights instead of football, shouldn’t it be a parent’s right to choose UIL activities for their student regardless of where they get their academics? Many of us count on the THSC to help us understand the issues, but the fact that home schooled students will have to pass a standardized test at grade level (a higher standard than a public school student) and that this bill clearly distinguishes a home school student different than a private school student is concerning & is not being clearly stated in the “call your senator/representative” emails.

    I have spoken to many conservative Christian veteran home schoolers over the past couple of weeks very concerned about this. They didn’t know the yearly standardized test & defining home schools details.

    I was in Killeen too late yesterday after sitting through hours of traffic in Marble Falls (281 shut down for a triathlon)

    The list of questions I have:
    1) If home schools are private schools in TX why must they be distinguished as separate in this bill? (Not if it will have an impact because that is speculation even if it has been done before (much smaller context)…a clear answer why it must be a part of this bill)
    2) Will home school athletes/musicians, already participating in public school sports/other activities because of local level cooperation (not state code specified/dictated) now be subject to yearly standardized tests?
    3) Will home school teams still be able to compete against public & private teams if they already have local level cooperation for participation? Will individual students be subject to yearly standardized testing under this new state regulation?
    4) Will students homeschooled by someone other than a parent or those in co-ops/part-time private school be able to participate under this definition of home schooled student?
    5) What about rural home school students whose local district has limited UIL options. Could a home school student participate in a different district?
    6) If my student wants to participate in UIL solo/ensemble must they attend daily band/orchestra practice within the school?

    Thank you for helping Texas home school parents understand this bill.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,

      As I explained to you in an April 9th post, “Home schools were ruled private schools in the Leeper case for the purpose of exemption from the compulsory attendance laws. 30 years ago we hid behind the private schools because there were so few of us. In recent years we have used the term home school to make a distinction between home schools and traditional private school beginning with HSLDA’s federal suit filed in San Antonio against the Gun Free School Zone Act to clairfy that a home school is different from a traditional private school and the federal law that prohibited guns near or in a school did not apply to a home school.”

      “We have made other changes to the benefit of home schoolers using the term home school for that purpose. Today is not the 1980s and we have more home schoolers and more influence and support than we have ever had.” As to your point about taking a standardized test we took that approach because we will not agree to having to use the state tests used by the public schools. As I have stated before this is only for the first six weeks. This is not any different than a home school student being required to take a test to qualify for taking dual credit classes in a community college or take the SAT or ACT to qualify for college admission.

      The question about why we make a distinction between home schools and private schools is the same answer I gave you above and on April 9th. SB 573 is written for private schools but would not apply to home schools. SB 929 would allow a home school student as an individual to take part in UIL in the school district in which they live. SB 573 would allow a private school team to compete against other UIL teams or individuals representing other UIL schools.

      Home school students are not currently allowed to participate at all under UIL rules and if they are doing so with “local level cooperation” they are in violation of UIL rules and the school and teams will be sanctioned if UIL becomes aware of it.

      UIL officials have told me that this law would not affect the current freedom of public schools to schedule home school or private school teams in non-conference games. The testing referenced in this bill will only apply to students who wish to participate in UIL activities.

      Home schoolers who have students in co-ops, dual credit classes or other part-time situations will be able to participate in UIL under this bill if parents report the students passing all courses after the first six weeks and home school students would be restricted to participating in the school they would be required to attend if they were in the public school, just like public school students. The bill does not require a home school student to attend classes unless a class is required for the activity for which the student is seeking to participate.

  11. Kim Hartman says

    Tim, why offer up testing language AT ALL? If it’s only for the kids participating in the first six weeks then what real value does it offer? What about the baseball kids or kids whose participation does not begin in the first six weeks? Parental verification is good enough for some homeschoolers but not for all? Please elaborate.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Kim,

      We added this language because most legislators do not trust parents to truthfully report their child’s academic progress and to pass the bill we needed to add testing language to gain their support and pass the bill. Our original amendment language tracked Idaho’s statute that requires grade level on a nationally norm referenced test to show academic progress period. Home school students who scored below 50% would not be eligible to participate at all under that language.

      UIL officials suggested we change that to apply to the first six weeks because public school students not eligible the first six weeks can earn eligibility if they pass courses during the first six weeks. This change would allow a home school student who did not score at grade level on the standardized test to earn eligibility for the second six weeks if during the first six weeks they passed all couses and the parent verified that to school officials.

      Of course, we are trying to pass this legislation and to do that you have to sometimes agree to language that you would prefer not to have. That is also why we accepted the language in SB 929 that “sunsets” or deletes this from the statute in 2017. This means that if this bill passes, we will have to come back to the legislature no later than the 2017 session to pass it again. Obviously, we would prefer not to have that language but we are will to take it to get the bill passed.

      As someone who has long opposed allowing home schoolers to choose to participate in UIL activities, did you not oppose this bill even when all it required was verification from the parents?

  12. Julie Jumes says

    I am not opposed to freedom to choose UIL participation but have asked repeatedly why the verbiage to exclude individual private school students was put in. It is not clear at all from any of your responses. Does THSC WANT to exclude private school parents from having the choice for some reason?

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,

      Traditional private school students are able to access extra-curricular activities through their schools. SB 573 and its House companion that would allow these schools to compete in UIL do not have support in the current legislature as evidenced by the fact that they have not been voted on in the Senate or even had a hearing in the House. Private school parents and schools have not supported those bills to the degree that home schoolers have supported SB 929/HB 1374 probably because their children already have options and they do not see it as necessary.

      THSC represents the interests of home schools not traditional private schools although we have worked for their interests when we believed it would also benefit home schoolers. Therefore while we have not added language to “exclude private school parents,” our language is specific to home school students who have no options. One key state senator insisted that we use the definition of home school student already in the TEC to specifically prevent traditional private school students because they already have options as well as the “sunset” language to gain his support. Insisting on language for all private school students now would simply result in the defeat of our bill, which may be the intent of some.

      Julie, passing legislation is a matter of using language to attain what you are trying to accomplish and getting enough legislators to support that. As I mentioned earlier, I would prefer to have no “sunset” language and no testing language and all private schools to be able to compete in UIL, but in order to get the bill passed so home school students could have these choices we had to add those things. Of course people who don’t want to participate on the basis of those requirements are not required to do so.

  13. Ginny says

    Mr Lambert, this is FYI for you only. You do not need to post if you don’t want. :)

    I called Aycock’s office just now asking for an update on 1374. The gentleman that answered the phone said that the public education committee is meeting tomorrow. He cannot guarantee it but they could possibly be voting. I asked him if it helps the matter be pushed along further since the Senate voted in overwhelming support. He told me absolutely YES!!! and that sometimes the wording just needs to be moved around a little. If they do vote, will you guys be called formally by the author or another way? I will be watching the website that shows bill stages and the gentleman that answered the phone suggested I do so, too. YIPPEE!

    • Tim Lambert says

      Ginny,

      This is good news. I’m headed back to Austin in the morning and plan to talk to Chairman Aycock. It is significant that it has passed the Senate and Rep Dutton could ask the committee to substitute SB 929 for HB 1374 that would be very good, but we’ll see. The response from his staff is pretty consistent with what they have been telling people..”trying to get the language right,” but I’m a little skeptical at this point.

  14. Ginny says

    I am getting mixed signals from everyone I contact. When I hung up with him, I called the committee office immediately to get their tone. We had the same conversation. He mentioned he was not aware of a possible vote and that it had not been discussed this weekend. I mentioned to him that the majority seems to want it in the senate and his committee as well and that it is solely in his hands. He jokingly said Mr Aycock holds the holy grail. :) I agreed. One man, one bill. This is where we are! I will pray for you/your team to have safe travels tomorrow. Please give us an update when you can.

  15. John Mack says

    At the risk of showing my ignorance and paranoia, I believe that the minute that the Home School Movement convinces Texas law makers that we are “entitled” to State and Federally funded facilities, equipment, and coaching staff we will open the door to the same regulation as those who choose the public school option for their children’s education. Further, the powerful UIL (NO-Pass-No-Play) is very serious about the criteria used to determine every athlete’s eligibility to compete. There was a day being distinctly separate at all cost and NOT giving in to the entitlement mentality was what earned Texas home schoolers the freedom that I hope to enjoy for my children’s children and beyond. The Tebow Rule reaches far beyond allowing us to use the public school system for taking the PSAT, yet there seems to be a group of well-meaning parents who are willing to risk-it-all to advance their desire get what we pay for, I am concerned that the THSC has become their voice……

    • Tim Lambert says

      John,

      At the risk of sounding rude, you may be ignorant of the political process and the history of home schooling in Texas. I invite you to view a short video on the THSC website here. As you will see from that account, home schoolers have fought legal battles in the courts and battles in the legislative arena as well as working hard in campaigns all to gain and keep the freedom that we enjoy. This freedom did not happen by accident or inaction. In fact, we continue to monitor and oppose over 100 bills in this legislative session alone, most of which would be detrimental to home schoolers and/or parental rights.

      Far from “risking it all” because of allowing home school students to participate in UIL, this is simply another battle to remove an artificial barrier limiting the freedom of Texas home school parents to make choices for their children’s education. State and federal laws already require officials to allow home schoolers access to facilities and services in Texas and have been in place for many years without the loss of freedom. I also think you overestimate the “all powerful UIL” as they too are subject to the laws of the state of Texas, which is why we are pursing legislation to force them to stop the discrimination against home schoolers.

      We should not be afraid to seek to end discriminatory polices just because we choose to teach our children at home and THSC’s voice has always been driven by the right of parents to make decisions they believe to be best for their children’s education.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Haven’t been able to talk to Aycock today. I’ll try again tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers.

  16. Ginny says

    I hope today goes better for you. I read on facebook that Trent mentioned he is “purposely” not allowing a vote. I am so disappointed. I hope you get true answers today. If anything, you would think he would allow his committee to be the voice of the bill. :)

  17. Ginny says

    Mr. Lambert,

    I just got off the phone with Aycock’s office. His receptionist told me that HB 1374 will *not* be voted on this session (ie, end of story). (?) He mentioned something about the Senate version, but I could not understand what he meant. Thoughts? I guess it’s over for this session?

    Thank you

    • Tim Lambert says

      No. Its not over. SB 929 that passed the Senate is now in the House Pub Ed committee and that bill can be voted on and passed on if the Chairman chooses to do so. I spoke to his office yesterday and did not get a definitive answer as to what he will do with this but I’m not hopeful. In the meantime we continue to look for bills that we might be able to amend the bill language onto.

  18. Ginny says

    Okay, thanks. This is certainly strange. Ii spoke with Aycock’s office and the public education committee about 15 minutes ago. They both said it will not be voted on and the education committee office stated the senate had a little time to reword it but he felt personally it would more than likely not make it through.

    With that said, is this Aycocks last year?

    • Tim Lambert says

      That is “Aycock speak” for I’m not going to let you vote the bill out of my committee,” which is not a surprise at this point. So we will continue to look for bills that we might be able to amend.

  19. Chris says

    As usual majority means nothing to politicians… So the kids
    get punished for there egos!!!!!

  20. Ginny says

    In all honesty, is there realistically a way this bill could be worded in which he would allow a vote?

    • Tim Lambert says

      No, He is not willing to say he will not allow the bill to be voted on, but appears to be telling some Reps that.

  21. Julie says

    If Home Educators were united on this it would have a much higher chance of passing because more of us would be calling. We aren’t united because “one key senator insisted that we use the definition of home school student” in the bill and the reason for this distinction is unclear and unsettling.

    We need a better bill which requires the UIL to stop discriminating against all private school students and teams.

    Meanwhile, the statement “home school students who have no options” couldn’t be further from the truth. The Lord has provided my home school family many music, sports, speech & debate options… without compromise and of much higher competative standards than any opportunity I was given by the UIL growing up.

    If my child were a world class downhill skier he would not have the option to train very often, much like if he wanted to play competitive 5A football and went to our local public school (which I think is 6 man).

    • Tim Lambert says

      If we get this bill to the floor of the House, it will pass. If we had the “better bill” you describe it would not have passed out of the Senate as the Private school bill hasn’t.

      It is clear that you would prefer no bill rather than a bill that applies only to home schoolers because of a definition that is already in the TEC and has been for over six years. To say that all home schoolers have options because you do does not make it true as has been described here on many occasions. As I’ve said very often, I find it amazing that we had no opposition to all the other law changes including those using the definition of home schooling over the last ten years…no opposition but somehow this is different. Amazing!

  22. Julie says

    I do not prefer “no bill”. You have very able “Watchmen” who might use their stellar debate skills (honed outside of the UIL…comic relief? ) to convince law makers that the compromise unfairly excludes private school students.

    There are many traditional private school families (more and more yearly because of bullying) who don’t feel called/equipped to home school but who can only afford very small private schools with few/no extra-curricular options. They have no more options than the home school families to which you refer. Senator Patrick even authored a bill that helps privately fund (through tax incentives I think) private school tuition for under-privileged students. These students might miss UIL options also? If the larger private schools don’t want UIL options, because they have other (self-funded) options, then the key senator and others have little to fear. Why would they desire the distinction? Do they want unnecessary complexity in the code? If the motive for the distinction is different (I suspect it is because the “they have their own options” makes little sense in this context) go after it, if it is wrong….if not, be creative, turn it into a win-win. You know the concerns of home educators across the state. A true watchman would not settle, especially with unclear motives for the compromise. I am praying that you will eliminate the distinction to unify home educators with each other and traditional private schools, especially smaller ones w/o sports/extra-curriculars, to a more persuasive and successful effort. If the entire bill can be added to another bill in the house, surely removing the distinction could be negotiated in combining the bills. I have certainly heard a few of these young men effectively persuade to much less compelling cases, even judged/tabulated their winning ballots.

    If it’s worth spending such resources on, then it’s worth getting right. I haven’t called in opposition, because I am on your side and very hopeful, but the bill with the distinction, excluding traditional private school students, is not good enough.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,

      The reason that the Tebow bill has passed the Senate and the private school only bill has not is that more than a third of the Senators oppose allow private schools to compete in UIl but they support home school students being able to do so. Thus if we pursued your approach neither bill would have passed the Senate.

      The reason that some Senators wanted the distinction is clearly because they do not support traditional privates schools competing but do support a home school student participating in the district in which they live. That is the crux of the matter. Passing legislation is about getting what you can get and often it is not possible to get exactly what you want.

      I’m sorry that you believe we could accomplish the “best bill” if we simply wanted to and made the persuasive argument. The fact of the matter is The Watchmen have worked diligently and we are trying to get the best bill possible under the circumstances. Thank you for not calling in opposition to the bill. The fact is that many of those who oppose this bill would oppose it even if the definition languages was not in the bill, in fact they opposed it before that addition was made and if we took that out they would still oppose the measure.

  23. Ginny says

    Mr. Lambert,

    Will Aycock be the chair again next year? How does this work exactly with his term? I firmly believe had it not been for him using his power in a wrong manner, his committee would have had the majority pass.

    If he would not allow this to pass regardless of the wording, it just shows me that groups such as the Texas High School Coaches Assoc. and superintendents, etc have a heavier say than we. This is incredibly unfortunate.

    Lastly, I just want to thank you so much for all you do. There is literally no doubt in my mind that this will one day pass. It will. It will just be a matter of all the dice falling in the right place with the house committee. It will get there. Until then, to God be the glory for all the hard work you do in the name of homeschooling. He sees you behind the scenes, Mr. Lambert. You seem like such a good man and I am proud to say that you and your team are working hard for us. Please know that your work never goes unnoticed.

    I want to remain hopeful for next year. His office told me he has served 6 years(?) Not sure about the time limit. Thanks for your answers. :)

  24. Julie Jumes says

    The “best bill” would be one which defunded the corrupt “system of public free schools” which is in no way “efficient.”

    Sen Patrick spoke of “radical education reform.” Forgive me if I can’t understand why the Watchmen would not be able to convince some of these “over 1/3 senators” and needed reps. that it is wrong to discriminate against private school students participating in UIL activities. Their parents pay school taxes. They are part of communities too. Their parents should have the same choice. Removing the definition of home school to effectively include all private school students, would prevent the distinction that concerns more homeschoolers across the state than this bill would likely benefit. It would be right instead of siding with these “over 1/3″ who are flat wrong in descriminating.

    It would be a “better bill” if the distinction between home school and private school were removed. There is still much compromise (the standardized test which the home schooled student can fail and still compete after the 1st 6 weeks, the sunset portion…)…great compromise which reflects the corruption in public Ed. The Watchmen are doing a fabulous job but I would have them push for better with this bill. I would have them push for what is right. Descriminating the way UIL is doing IS wrong and this bill affirms it by defining a home school…not the radical reform of which Senator Patrick spoke.

    We have more lobbying in Austin than ever before, law makers are more aware of the homeschool movement than they have ever been and we have better communication & marketing tools today. “Radical reform” without caving to their corruption, if not now, when?

  25. Julie Jumes says

    I believe that the true crux of the issue is keeping private school “super teams,” who might recruit and give scholarships for athletic ability, from participating in the UIL. This Tebow Bill clearly specifies individual students participating within the public school. There is, and should be a separate bill for private school teams, which should include home school teams. That bill would be much more controversial and rightly harder to pass. Why would law makers oppose individual student participation? Is there some sort of confusion among law makers with this distinction?

  26. David says

    We left Texas and now live in an equal access state, partly because of limited opportunities for home school team sports such as football. Being a home school supporting, Christ-centered family while participating in selected activities where God has gifted a child is a great opportunity to be the light of Jesus Christ in a dark world.

  27. Ginny says

    I made one last call to the Public Education Committee office this morning. I was told that yesterday was the last day for it to come to vote. He did tell me that the only chance left for this year is if the author can make the necessary changes for it to pass. he actually gave me more information than I asked for and said it was a myriad of reasons and a number of committee members (not just the chairman) that did not feel the bill was good for our education system at this time.

    Is there anything else you would like us to do, Mr. Lambert?

    • Tim Lambert says

      Regardless of what the staff is saying, Aycock told a legislator that we could “blame the Chairman for the death of the bill.” He never mentioned ANY wording changes that were a problem for him. I don’t believe he listened to the minority of home schoolers who called in opposition, rather he is more concerned about public school superintendents who opposed the bill.

      • Joseph Loehr says

        Tim,

        Please paint as clear a path as you can to what could possibly be done at this point in time. I have a son who’d love to play sports, and a daughter who’d love to participate in athletics. I went before the LISD Board of Education a year and a half ago, to no avail. They didn’t ask even 1 question about the 100+ page briefing I’d prepared. The Superintendent opposed it “philosophically”. I am personally of the belief than until Superintendents can find a way to get money from allowing access, it wont happen. They are your classic “good ‘ole boy” network, and are powerful, as you’ve seen. Can you think of any way at this point in the legislative season to still get it through, or bypass Aycock?

        • Joseph Loehr says

          For whatever it’s worth, I meant to say my daughter would love to participate in drama. Both of my kids are 90%+ on national tests, and I am indifferent about them taking national tests. I totally agree with your pragmatic approach to get whatever version of the bill that advances the cause, passed. “Once the nose of a Camel is in the tent…” I would glady testify to anyone who’d listen, if it would matter at this point.

          The bigger picture, which Julie eludes to, is, of course, this: the quality of public school education is a crises. Our country overall is in the BOTTOM 25% of industrialized countries in most educational rankings of note. As a state, we are doing NOTHING creative or significant enough to put any dent in this major societal problem. Parents taking matters into their own hands through home-schooling is the healthiest sign there is for our society. And it is about far more than just religious concerns… I believe surveys have shown in the last 10 years that some 60% of home schooling parents do NOT list religious concerns as their #1 reason for home schooling. Interestingly, I think the MOOC movement in colllege, refered to by David Brooks in the NYT as the “Coming Tsunami” in college education will ultimately have dramatic effects on public education. In the long run, when all the best classes are freely, or for nominal charges, available online by the best teachers in the world, even at a high school level, all that will be left for public schools will be special services, proctoring exams, life skills education, and extracurricular activities. That day cannot come too soon in my opinion given the colossal waste of public funds (my money) by those Superintendents. “Waste” is a strong word, and my wife taught public school 10+ years (teach of the year once), but anyone looking closely at public school educational outcomes vs. international comparisons knows this.

          I could say much more, but again, is there anything practical that can be done to pressure Aycock (I’m not in his district), or go around him to get this bill passed? Let me know what to pray for, and anyway to help.

        • Tim Lambert says

          We have still have two options open at this point. One is to have a vote in the House Public Ed Committee on SB 929 which passed the Senate. I sent an e-mail directly to Chairman Aycock yesterday to follow up on a conversation with his Chief of Staff to ask his intention on that measure and to follow up on his assurance that if he was not going to let us have a vote he would tell me directly. We plan to ask for calls to his office again on Monday.

          The other option is to look for bills that we might amend with the language of our bill and we have several bills that we are looking at. The reason we are pursuing legislation is because public school officials have made clear that will not allow us to participate until forced to by law.

  28. politicaljules says

    It looks as though a few angry loud opposers to the bill will ruin it for the rest of us. That makes me sad.

  29. Katie says

    What I find interesting is that some homeschoolers who oppose the testing/scholastic language in the bill have no problem trotting down to the nearest junior college to have their kids take the accuplacer test in order to take part in (free) dual credit classes!!

    Dual credit programs are *also* administered by state institutions just as public school programs are. They are *also* tax payer funded.

    Has taking the accuplacer somehow *guaranteed* that the state will now encroach on homeschool rights? NO.

    Yet, because this opposition group likes dual credit but DOES NOT like sports they want to put forth one spurious objection after another in order to ensure that NO homeschooler has the opportunity to choose something that the opposition does NOT approve of.

    If you don’t have an objection to taking the accuplacer test to gain entrance to a public institution known as *community college*, then there is no logical reason why you should be opposed to similar testing for extracurricular programs for another public institution known as *public school*.

    One group wanted the OPTION of dual credit at PUBLIC institutions for their children. So they happily trot down to take the accuplacer.

    Fine. Thankfully for those parents there was no opposition home school group who tried to shoot down the option for everybody.

    Sadly, those same parents are not willing to allow other homeschool parents to choose for their own children.

    This is nothing more than selective approval.

    One state/public venue is OK according to some homeschoolers – the community college.

    While another state/public venue – the public school – is NOT OK, according to some homeschoolers.

    This is illogical and indefensible.

    As far as including private schools in the bill – what a very odd objection for a homeschooler to have. Especially given the way that homeschoolers have historically been treated by TAPPS.

    I wonder if the opposition group is aware that TAPPS (Texas association of private and parochial schools), the main sports league for private schools in Texas, has actively PREVENTED home school teams from participating in TAPPS for years, even going so far as to sanction ANY school that allows a home schooler to participate in ANY private school team? The TAPPS handbook is very explicit and dogmatic in it’s exclusion of homeschoolers, even detailing the penalty for schools who do not comply.

    If TAPPS actually allowed home school teams to participate, then perhaps the public school team option might not be so important. But TAPPS WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

    I find it disquieting that a very vocal minority of homeschoolers who happen to be some of the most enthusiastic supporters of state/public dual credit are opposed to the Tebow bill.

    They wanted options for their kids, but are bent on destroying options for others.

    It reminds me of the old saying, “Do as I say, but not as I do. “

  30. Julie says

    This bill, if it gave all students of a UIL district access to extra-curricular options, could improve schools by uniting communities and increasing parental involvement.

    TAPPS, which is not funded by my taxes, has little to do with uniting communities or providing options for students residing within a specific district and distracts from the real focus of this bill.

    Again, if individual student participation can be clearly stressed as different than private school team participation, if provisions can be clarified addressing concerns that academically challenged star athletes might begin “home schooling” and if law makers could be persuaded that it is the final step away from the UIL’s past descrimination and a big step toward increased community and parental involvement to better local schools, I believe this congress might unite to pass the Tebow Bill.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie, I’d welcome you to come to the Capitol and make these kinds of arguments to legislators and see the responses.

  31. Julie Jumes says

    Wouldn’t public school UIL participants be less likely to drop out in order to “home school” if the bill were worded “private school?” I am not thinking many “would be” drop outs would know of the Leper case defining a home school as a private school. Might that be a win win? It would help with superintendents’ concern over losing students AND with some home educators’ concern over the distinction? The THSC might even spread the word that home school students participating in UIL reference themselves as private school students so as not to risk the drop out scenario (which would also hurt homeschooling).

    • Tim Lambert says

      As I have said repeatedly, there is not enough support for “private schools” to participate in UIL this session any move toward connecting that with the home school bill will only lead to defeat. Tebow bill already has language that prevents a student from participating in UIL the same year they withdraw from a public school to home school.

  32. Julie Jumes says

    I am not advocating that the bill allow “private schools” to participate in UIL but that it specify “private school student” instead of “home-schooled student,” preventing the UIL from discriminating against any individual student whose family resides within the tax district in which the student desires to participate. Has that distinction been made clear to legislators against “private schools” participating?

    • Tim Lambert says

      That proposal would not be supported, but I’d be happy for you to come down and have those conversations with legislators.

  33. Julie Jumes says

    Who would have thought your explanation of a home school as a private school would have brought such support from President Bush? With no desire to don a power suit, I am educating children while having the conversation remotely with key legislators. It does seem the current version is not much further from defeat and amending the wording to reflect better compromise is worth a try. Might the broadened scope make it easier to tack on to other education related bills re: choice?

    • Tim Lambert says

      So have these key legislators your are conversing with remotely told you they would support the bill if it simply referred to all private school students instead of only home school students?

  34. Katie says

    I’m still wondering why vocal supporters of dual credit programs at government run community colleges are opposed to allowing other homeschoolers to participate in programs of their choosing at another gov’t run institution – the public school.

    No one has answered my question.

    Why is one gov’t school OK and one is NOT OK?

    Why are you happy to have your kids take the accuplacer test, but opposed to testing to verify academic eligibility for a homeschool student’s participation in public school extracurricular activities?

    I also wonder why a home school mom(Julie) is so very dogmatic about changing the language to “private school student.” Very, very odd.

    To my knowledge, private schools are not en masse asking for their students to participate on public school teams for the simple reason that THERE IS NO NEED FOR IT. That’s what they have TAPPS for! Further, many private school parents CHOOSE private school sports due to the fact that their children would not have been starters on the local public school team. Thus, the public school team option is a NON issue to most private school parents.

    Why are you(Julie) trying to speak for private school students/parents when you are not a private school parent?

    We have many friends and relatives who have their kids in private schools. And they could care less about having access to the public school team.

    Why is there an attempt to speak for some other group(that you don’t belong to) rather than addressing very real needs in your own group?

    Again, this “private school student” language that is being insisted on seems nothing more than a contrived red herring argument.

    I believe that it all comes down to one small group of homeschoolers who in reality do not believe in allowing parents to choose, unless of course it involves their pet program DUAL CREDIT at a public institution.

  35. Julie Jumes says

    I assure you, Katie, I support home educators having the right to choose UIL activities within their own district. I have spent much time on this. I was told about a month ago that the Tebow Bill would pass in the senate but that Chairman Aycock would stall it in the house. I was told it’s defeat had to do with TAPPS battles and football…sad!

    I have been very vocal with both those who support it and those who oppose it, doing my best to understand the issues on both sides. I am a debater…it’s the way I learn and I have learned much.

    My heart for private school students comes from my work in equipping students. There are flocks of students leaving public schools mostly because of bullying. I meet their parents each year at book fairs. These families come, not because they are convicted to home school, but because they are fearful of public schools and are looking for low cost options. It is a mission field, yes? I feel called to give them the gospel while meeting their need. Often I continue helping these families with dual credit/credit by exam options though they have chosen low cost private schools (these options are available to all private school students). Many low cost private schools offer no more extra-curricular choices than a rural home school student would have. And, these financially strapped families, afraid of public schools and feeling unequipped to home school, can’t afford to travel or to create options.

    The whole scene prompted me last year at this time to begin researching education reform in general and I have spent much time studying under an Ed reform genius who believes that home educators, if we will, can help in a major exodus of families from public education to private (home school & traditional). He believes the public school system is failed and that the best answer for all students is low cost private options. This man has started, and has his kids in, a very successful, but small, private school which he hopes will become a model that most families will be able to afford. The goal is to keep costs down while providing the best academics in a way that looks much like what many of us do in our homes, very different than the institutional, state dictated, teach to the test, often hostile public school. It is not home schooling, not what our family would choose, but certainly better than what these frightened families are coming from out of public school. It meets their need.

    These families ought to have extra curricular options too. Our taxes pay for the stadiums, uniforms, band instruments and such. Sometimes within the extra-curricular setting kids are safer from bullying. They should at least have the options.

    I have said before that comparing this to dual credit is like comparing apples and oranges. I can’t make you see that. Also, I don’t particularly have a problem with any part of this bill other than it excludes/discriminates against other private school students and that it does this by defining again in the state code home schooling as different than private schooling. Changing the “home-school student” verbiage to “private school student” would provide a growing number of low cost private school families options. It would help minimize the drop out scenario which would also help keep the view of home education in this state high. It would eliminate many people’s concern over the definition, and it would prevent the UIL from descriminating against any individual student participating within the tax district in which their family resides. These things are right. The corrupt, gridlocked, greedy system is wrong. Maybe I should have joined the voice of compromise but, for about a month, have believed it futile.

  36. Ginny says

    Katie,

    I agree with you. Without being rude (and loss of better description), there are many tin foil hat homeschoolers out there that believe the entire homeschool opportunity will eventually be blown away in Texas. In the meantime, they are ruining it for everyone else. Bottom line, it wasn’t their opposition that cost us the bill, though. I would have loved to come down and plead the case this past year. But my poor children would have been up until 1am. :( If there was some way that the time could be promised I will be there in a heartbeat next year.

  37. Katie says

    Ok. I get that you(Julie) are very, very concerned about the private school students. Fair enough. However, protecting the rights/advancing the cause of private school students is *not* the job of the Texas HOMESCHOOL coalition.

    If they need help as private school students, then they should turn to the organizations that represent private schools – TAAPS and others. Those groups have MORE than enough money to push whatever legislation they wish to introduce. The reason they are NOT pushing it is b/c private schools, in general, do not see the need for their students to participate in public school activities. In fact, it could be a death knell for their sports programs, and they know this. That’s why you hear *crickets* with regard to most private schools and the equal access option.

    It is very odd that you would continue to insist that a HOMESCHOOL advocacy group (THSC) represent a group that is not their constituency. And it is also odd that you would so vocally oppose THSC’s language in a bill based on the fact that they have not represented a group (private schoolers) that they make no pretense of representing.

    It’s a bit like asking the American Milk Producers to include the needs of The American Actors Guild in their legislative agendas.

    I continue to believe the “private school” issue is nothing more than a convenient peg on which to hang an argument that really has nothing to do with allowing HOMESCHOOLERS more options. Whether private school students have options or not is really *not* the utmost concern of HOMESCHOOLERS. And we actually have no business speaking for them in anyway. Knowing some students that go to “low cost” private schools( which would be a minority of private schools anyway) is NOT the same as having expertise to speak for an entire group of which you yourself are not a member.

    You(Julie) should be contacting TAPPS and other private school organizations with your concerns about private schoolers’ rights/options, NOT opposing THSC. Perhaps you should consider working with TAPPS on this issue that you feel so passionately about and that has led you to oppose what COULD have been real progress for HOMESCHOOLERS.

    Again, it is very odd that you would work against options for HOMESCHOOLERS because a HOMESCHOOL organization did not include private schoolers in the language of a bill. Talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees!

    Ginny – Thanks for the supportive words. I am aware that the main opposition to the bill came from public school administrators. But, the vocal of minority of homeschoolers who opposed this bill didn’t help either. As the old saying goes, “Who needs enemies when you’ve got friends like this?” Also, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Sadly, this vocal minority has worked to splinter the greater homeschool community into factions on this equal access issue, and they have had a measure of success.

    I agree with whomever it is that said something to the effect of, “It is not the armed enemy assassin that I fear, but rather the cloaked dagger of the supposed friend. “

    • DocMerlin says

      Katie:
      In Texas, homeschool ARE private schools. There generally isn’t a separate distinction between them and other private schools. If you are a homeschool mom, you run a private school.
      That is all.

      • Tim Lambert says

        Doc,

        While that is “generally” true there are distinctions and Katie has made several valid distinctions. I have also pointed out that we have made distinctions in the past in order to protect or promote home schooling freedom. In the 1990s HSLDA sued the ATBF in San Antonio to clarify that home schools were not subject to the “Gun Free School Zone Act.”

        Six years ago we agreed to a definition of home schooling in the TEC (which tracks the Leeper case language) in order to pass legislation forcing public schools to allow home school students to take the PSAT at their local public high school. That was necessary because legislators wanted the statute to make a distinction between home school students and other private school students because they did not want public schools to be required to allow “all” private school students to take the PSAT at their schools.

        So it is clear that we do make distinctions between home schools and other private schools when it is in our best interest and that is waht we are doing in the case of the Tebow bill.

  38. Julie Jumes says

    I have been called Pollyanna before but never a contriving tin foil hat homeschooler:-)

    Thank you for the very informative dialog, Mr Lambert. I will continue to pray for you and your team, your perseverance and success in Austin. I look forward to seeing you and your wife at the book fair. I am always encouraged by you both.

  39. Julie Jumes says

    I am not trying to work against options for home schoolers but, believing the bill with the current wording was doomed for about a month, was looking for ways to help, trying to learn about and address the opposition in a win win way.

    I believe, if it could be passed with “individual private school student” instead of “home schooled student,” it would be better for homeschoolers and fit with the THSC objectives by not excluding any parent from making the choice to participate in UIL activities for their child….
    “We believe that all parents should have the right to make educational decisions for their children.” Tim Lambert
    “…parental rights being the driving issue for our support of this measure.”
    Tim Lambert
    And, what I have believed for 15 yrs which I first heard from Tim Lambert:
    “A home school is a private school.”

  40. Katie says

    The bill, in reality, would have had LESS of a chance of passing if the “private school student” language had been added. Why? Because TAPPS would have attacked with every means they have to stop/oppose such a bill. The Catholic schools would have been solidly AGAINST this as well. Why?

    1.Because they know that it could mean an exodus of players from their own teams in order to play on public school teams, where there is more chance of students being seen by a scholarship scout -especially if it said, “individual private school student.” This is the LAST thing a private school would want. This would leave them with only those players who could NOT make the public school team, or those few private school parents who actually believe in the importance of a Christian education. Think successful sports programs are not important to Christian schools? LOL. THINK AGAIN. Think winning games is not important to Christian schools? THINK AGAIN. The ONLY possible way a private school MIGHT support such a bill is IF IT ALLOWED THEIR PRIVATE SCHOOL TEAMS TO PARTICIPATE IN UIL AS A TEAM. The “individual private school student” may benefit a student, but it will NOT benefit the private school, and they know this.

    2. It would, in reality, split their school student bodies into factions – some playing for their own school, and some playing for the public school. Private
    school administrators rightly conclude that this would NOT be beneficial for the unity or cohesiveness of their schools. So, you can be sure that they would oppose such a bill that had “private school student” added to it.

    Before you attempt to speak for private schools and their needs, you really should educate yourself on the subject. Maybe talk to some private school coaches, teachers, administrators, and board members.

    I have talked to people in each category above because I do have friends other than homeschoolers.

    And believe me, if that language(“individual private school student”) had been added to the bill, it would absolutely have been dead in the water. 100% guarantee.

    So you are mistaken on both fronts, Julie:

    THSC does not exist to represent private schools, and as it turns out, private school DO NOT have the same opinions/needs as home schools, and don’t want homeschoolers to speak for them anyway.

    I am confused, though. First you claimed that it was your deep concern for private school families that you have met at conventions that has led you to oppose the THSC bill, then you later say that you wanted “private school student” added to the bill so that it would benefit… homeschoolers.

    Which is it?

    Or is it whichever argument works best to actually defeat the bill?

  41. Katie says

    And further, if I were a private school parent, I surely would not want an organization who does NOT represent private school attempting to introduce legislation that would directly affect my school!

    How would we as homeschoolers feel if the private schools banded together to introduce legislation that would affect home schools just so that private schools could get something for themselves that they wanted?

    Would you be OK with that scenario? Legislation in our (homeschoolers) name that we had no part of crafting or approving?

    Not a very nice tactic if you ask me, to use another group (that you don’t belong to) as a front man to gain what YOU want.

    Dishonest, if you ask me.

    The concept is wrong on so many, many levels.

    Remember, “Do unto others…?”

  42. Julie Jumes says

    Mr Lambert, the distinction being made in this case is not because it is inherently better for home educators to do so, but the distinction is being made in order to appease the opposition to the bill, to do what it takes to get it passed, correct? If the bill were passable with the “Individual private school student” wording, would that not be better for homeschoolers? Would it not be more consistent with the legalization of homeschooling in this state, more consistent with “a homeschool is a private school” which you have said since the Leper case and wouldn’t it be more consistent with your stance that this bill is about parental rights, because it would be opening the choice up to parents of individual traditional private school students as well?

    I assumed five things in my suggested rewording:
    1) The bill would stall in house committee w/current wording.
    2) Rewording “home-schooled student” to “indiv private school student” would appease some administrators concerned of drop outs and some home educators concerned that drop out & definition issue would bring increased regulation.
    3) Chairman Aycock wanted rewording.
    4) Individual parental rights, of tax payers, might be effectively emphasized with dissenting legislators. Their antagonistic TAPPS team focus might be turned to what’s best for students and districts, even using things like the UIL’s past descrimination.
    5) The THSC’s involvement in this was to provide all parents the right to choose UIL participation for their student or not. The bill, as you said in previous posts is about parental rights.

    At the risk of comparing this to a much more important matter, I was looking for a different angle on this, a bit like Wilberforce did with the type of flag flying on trade ships. I was looking for a win win.

    Because of the competitive nature of Texas sports I can see how the explicit “home-schooled student” language might encourage drop outs and the wait provision does little good with planning & post season decisions to “home school.” I can see how it might be used by inner city teams to protect test averages and drop out rates and to maintain good teams. I can also see how rural districts, in which each student counts for funding, would be concerned over the possible drop out scenario.

    Clearly, any increased drop-out scenario in order to “home school” would not reflect well on true home educators. It is feasible, though not a huge concern for me, that the drop out scenario could increase regulation on all home educators.

    There is a fair amount of this now with non-athletes. There are districts who even encourage low performing students to “home school,” to protect school test averages and drop out rates.

    Isn’t it true that were it passable as “individual private school student” and the THSC encouraged UIL participants to reference themselves as “private school students,” it would likely cut down on that scenario because most, as Katie so clearly illustrates, don’t consider home-schooled students as private school students?

    Isn’t it also true that there are plenty of successful home school teams and leagues (FEAST Patriots, NCFCA, etc) which will lose individual participants should this bill pass with or without the rewording? If this is about parental rights should we be concerned about teams as Katie seems to be? Isn’t the same thing being done to home educators, the group the THSC is to exclusively represent? Should we be more concerned over offending traditional private school teams/leagues?…talk about slippery slope.

    Again, I am with THSC on this regardless what Katie thinks…still hoping it might be tagged onto one of these education parent empowering bills that seem to be gaining more and more momentum.

    I have a 12yo who daily speaks hopes of being scouted. He went undefeated by far this season in competition with private school students (home-schooled & traditional). I don’t know that we would choose UIL. Honestly, I don’t know that the district in which we live would provide him any better shot, but we believe we should have the individual parental right to choose, like every other parent in our district.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,

      As I have explained to you before, we are making the distinction to pass the legislation as we have done before when it is to our advantage.

      As to your assumptions, you are assuming that the bill is stalled in the House Pub Ed committee because of its current language. I disagree. Chairman Aycock has not responded to my requests for clarification of his opposition as demonstrated by refusing to allow a vote. The language issue is a fig leave to hide his opposition to the bill on its merits.

      Rewording the bill to include all private schools would not appease administrators but only increase their opposition as I have stated often before.

      Chairman Aycock does not want rewording, he wants to kill the bill.

      I have no idea what you mean in number 4.

      We supported the private school bill in the last session as a vehicle to get home school students participation in UIL which did not happen and filed our own bill this session when the author would not add language including home schoolers to the private school UIL bill. As Katie so clearly explained, we represent home school families.

      I think your whole concern about drop outs is a non-issue and has not been raised to this point, but of course this is now a new concern that you have raised which leads to concerns that others have raised that you really are looking for reasons to oppose the current legislation.

      I also disagree with your argument that this will hurt home school teams as we have documented states with Tebow laws have seen a growth in home school teams since the inception of these laws not less. You can view that research here.

  43. Julie Jumes says

    If Katie is right (I think she is) and the new wording would be anti traditional private schools, wouldn’t that be a good thing with legislators? If “individual private school student” could be shown to benefit public schools by reducing the chance of the drop-out scenario and winning individual wealthier/more involved parents back to public school sports/activities, wouldn’t that be helpful to public schools and harmful to traditional private school teams? Wouldn’t that be huge!? Those are the two groups at odds and we would be squarely on the right side?!

  44. Julie Jumes says

    I believe that home school teams/groups wouldn’t be hurt, just following Katie’s logic, falsely accusing me. I do hope you can exploit her argument that the “individual private-schooled student” language would hurt private school teams by giving parents the right to choose for their individual private-schooled student. It is even more right than free market, because our taxes pay for UIL, but it supports that free market would better teams/groups, though I would bank on the fact that Katie’s right and private schools wouldn’t be able to see that and would oppose it, which is a good thing, right?

    • Tim Lambert says

      Don’t think home school teams will be hurt by our bill, but I agree with Katie that allowing traditional private school students to participate in UIL as you are arguing and as we are striving for in our bill could be detrimental to the traditional private schools.

  45. Julie Jumes says

    Ok, no more from me. I get it now…the THSC can’t be anti TAPPS even if it benefits home educators (and indiv parental rights). The distinction is needed to protect TAPPS football teams, got it!

    • Tim Lambert says

      Wow! Let me say again. We are using the home school specific language to pass the law and benifit home school students and families. To use private school language instead would cause a LOSS of support as demonstrated by the private school bill (SB 573)failing to come out of the Senate or even have a hearing in the House.

  46. Julie Jumes says

    And SB 573 was about individual private student participation within their district UIL teams/groups, like the wording I propose “individual private-schooled student,” or did it have to do with private school teams/groups competing within the UIL? You did say before “we don’t need the support of private schools so we aren’t partnering with them on this.”

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,
      My point was that the bills allowing private schools to compete in UIL are dead and not moving therefore it makes no sense politically to add language to include traditional private schools if we are trying to pass legislation rather than just make a statement. No one has used the language you are proposing and my point regarding the private schools is they can’t pass this kind of thing without our help, but they do not help us on our issues.

  47. Gayle says

    At the risk of opening a whole new can of worms, to say that it is wrong to ask only for homeschoolers to get to participate in UIL, and exclude individual private-school students, is kind of like saying it is wrong to have a law that limits abortion but does not completely outlaw it. I know that many of us who support life would like to eliminate abortion altogether, but I will take a law that limits it. Every child born, is a child born. Every young athlete, singer, or mathematician who gets to participate in a new forum that helps him grow, is one more child who has benefitted. I am FOR that. Every time. Incrementally if necessary.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Gayle,
      You are right. Politics is the art of the possible and sometimes people let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

  48. Julie says

    Mr. Lambert, I am not proposing amending the bill to include traditional private schools but “individual private-schooled students” which is as different from private schools/private school teams as “home-schooled student” is from home school co-op/team.

    Public school coaches/administrators are much more against private schools/private school team participation. They are also against home school team participation. These are bills they won’t consider. Why you continue to link my proposal to these very different bills with much opposition I don’t understand.

    I can’t understand why any group would be against “individual private school student” replacing “home-schooled student” in the text except for private schools/private school teams. I suggested the amended text because I believed it might remove enough of the opposition from public school admin and home educators to move the stalled bill forward. I believed it would help public schools and home schools.

    Gayle, you would be right if I were pushing to change the text of a moving bill. I was not. I was looking for a way to help though I am framed otherwise. To compare this or me to those who would not want to save some babies by limiting abortion, because they would hold out for it to be outlawed is repulsive. Obviously, you all don’t know me/my heart.

    It does seem, Mr. Lambert, you won’t consider the possibilities of my proposal because you would protect private schools/private school teams. They don’t stand to lose any more with the proposed change than home school teams would lose with either version.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,

      I think others have explained your proposed language has not been asked for by any traditional private school or group that we are aware of and could undermine private school teams and therefore would not likely be supported by such groups. I continue to connect to the your proposal to SB 573 because a majority of legislators do not support any kind of UIL participation for private schools because they do not see a need for that since these groups have their own teams and leagues. If you have talked to Chairman Aycock and he has told you he would support our bill if such language was added, I’d be happy to know that but I’d be extremely surprised were that to be the case.

      Consequently, we have pursued the home school specific language because it is generally acknowledged that home school students do not have the kind of options that public and traditional private schools have and there is broad support for legislation to meet that need as evidenced by the 23 Senators that support SB 929. Our challenge at this point is to get SB 929 to the floor of the House for a vote where we believe it will pass and it is our opinion that adding language you suggest is not only unnecessary but would be detrimental to that effort.

    • Gayle says

      Julie,
      Actually, you completely misconstrued the purpose of my comparison. The idea of a comparison of one logical context to another logical context does not imply that I believe you substantively support the compared context. I just meant to say that most people who are against abortion can see how it is beneficial to have any incremental limit upon it. The purpose of the comparison is that it is logically similar (although certainly VERY different substantively), to see that it is beneficial for any students to be given additional choices and opportunities.
      You have repeatedly said that you are only trying to make a suggestion that would help the bill to pass. You seem to have ignored Tim’s repeated statements that in fact, the language you have proposed would actually have the opposite effect. You have also gone to great lengths to impugn Tim’s motives in ways which you are completely unable to substantiate. It is disturbing to see a homeschool leader such as yourself perpetrating such tactics in a public forum. I hope that this discussion can continue in a spirit of respect and grace.
      I sincerely apologize for any perceived negative implication concerning your personal views on abortion. Please forgive me for any discomfort the comparison caused you. It was not my intention to make any substantive implications concerning that subject at all.
      Gayle

      • Julie says

        Gayle,

        I am sorry I have offended. I have reviewed all the posts and believe that I have been too passionate in what was meant to be friendly debate to learn and seek a solution to unite home schoolers and get the bill moving again. I responded to name calling and shouldn’t have.

        Most of my persistence with Mr Lambert was in frustration with his continued explanation that there was much opposition to private schools (teams) participating in UIL. In looking back there was a sentence in which he stated that individual private schooled student participation was not supported. I should have stopped there and not questioned why or made any accusations.

        I have much respect for Mr Lambert and the THSC.

        Mr Lambert, please forgive me for engaging in a disrespectful way that may have hindered the bill. It seems it may yet be heard and, if it is, I will be there to sign my name in support.

  49. Julie Jumes says

    My proposed language has been asked for by home school parents who don’t want or see the need for the distinction between home school students and private school students in this bill. There are possibilities in changing the text of persuading other opposition that the “individual private schooled student” text would be better in preventing the “drop out” scenario which has been brought up and addressed poorly by the wait provision. The “drop out” scenario is a concern to home educators because if low academically performing athletes drop out to “home school” that devalues what we do as true home educators. It is a problem for both public school administrators and home educators. The proposed text along with an urging from the THSC for home schooled-students participating within UIL to reference themselves as private schooled-students would limit that scenario. The proposed amendment might even be used to frame this bill, stalled by Chairman Aycock, not only as a home school bill, but as a parental rights issue which might be tagged onto a bill which focused more on parental rights within education. Public school administrators might see the benefit to including individual private schooled students because it has the potential to bring wealthier/more involved parents of good athletes back into the district/community effort. It might even be framed to eliminate some of the recruiting of these athletes by private schools. There are many such possibilities for the proposed amended text.

    Again, I believe THSC won’t consider them because of allegiances to large private schools/TAPPS. The truth is that it wouldn’t hurt these private schools any more than either text would hurt home school teams/leagues. And, the amended text would help how home schooling is viewed in this state and reduce the drop out scenario which would prevent much public school admin opposition (the wait provision poorly addresses this).

    I believe Chairman Aycock stalled this because there are much more important education matters to him than those limited to a subset of home educators. Making this about parental rights, as you repeatedly said it was early in this thread to home educators who opposed it, might help move the issue by tagging it on to a bill with that focus.

    I have explored the possibilities to help unite home schoolers, help look for ways to move the stalled bill and to promote, what you said the focus of the bill was, “to give all parents the right to choose UIL activities for their student within the district in which the family lives.”

    • Tim Lambert says

      Julie,

      The crux of the matter is that you want us to use language that would apply to all private school students instead of just home school students. I have explained our position to such a degree that I don’t think there is any ambiguity at this point and our reasons do not have to do with any “allegiances.”

      I also disagree with your assessment of Chairman Aycock’s position. There has been plenty of time for him to move this bill out of the committee if he chose to do so. He simply opposes the bill.

      Finally, just saying the bill is about parental rights does not make it germane to other bills which is necessary for amendment purposes and I do support allowing all parents to choose UIL for their children but my opinion is that the best we can do in this session is to pass legislation for home schoolers.

  50. Brenda Ringgold says

    Thank-you so much for working towards allowing homeschoolers to participate in UIL activities! I have a son who is on the USA Swimming National Junior team who would like to participate in high school swimming next year – any chance that will still happen? Very sad that with his swim times he would have easily been the state champion this year in his two best events, but was “not allowed to swim.” There are several other homeschooled swimmers in our area who would love to participate as well (and, of course, we have paid the local school districts tens of thousands of dollars over the years!) Let me know if there are any calls, letters etc that we could make to help this process continue. Again, thanks so much for all of your hard work and diligence!

    • Tim Lambert says

      Will post an update very shortly, but we are still trying to get it done this week. At this point its a matter of getting an amendment on some bill that is germane and is moving toward passage.

  51. Sarah Chase says

    What a sad day! I wanted to put my perspective on the Tebow Bill.First there are many families today not just in Texas but nation wide that are homechooling for not just family values but so much more. There are many very good families that have decided today to home school for some of the following reasons such as, military families wanting a consistent curriculum, families like ours who’s work schedules don’t fit a public school time frame, kids working professionally,athletes, ect. Homeschooling has become and will continue to change and grow with families homeschooling for many reasons. We have always participated in Scouting, sports and theater with public school children and have had no problems. My boys the two oldest are now homeschooling through High School and have grown to be loving, moral and independent young men.. We in Texas go out of our way to educated and provide programs for children not born in this country and not Texas citizens, however we can not offer Texas children who’s families are paying into the school districts an opportunity to participate in activities? Shame on us!