These are all very large numbers: 30,000, 120,000, and 300,000. In 2014, foster parents cared for an estimated 30,000 children in the foster care system. Currently, THSC estimates 120,000 families home schooling approximately 300,000 children in Texas. As we’ve reported, home education continues to significantly grow nationally, and home schooling continues as an increasingly popular way to educate the youth of this great state. However, in the 20-plus years that home schooling has been legal in Texas, foster parents have not easily been able to home school their foster children. All of that changed in the 84th Texas Legislature.
After working with THSC to draft language to the bill, Texas State Rep. Jonathan Stickland filed House Bill 2799 on March 10, 2015, relating to home school education for foster children. This bill allowed foster parents to home school their foster children as if they were the children’s primary guardians. The bill allowed for only three situations in which the foster parents would be denied the option to home school foster children:
- A court order limits the education of a child in a home setting.
- CPS determines and can prove to the court that education of the student at home is not best for the child.
- Federal law requires another form of education.
Unfortunately, HB 2799 did not pass. Anticipating this, Rep. Mark Keough, a coauthor of the bill, drafted an amendment with the same language to attach to a different bill. Soon after HB 2799 died in committee, Representative Keough began to look for bills onto which they might try to amend his bill language. Senate Bill 206 came up for a vote in the House and, recognizing the related bill topic, Representative Keough took the opportunity to attach the amendment, opening up freedom to Texas home school families. Because the bill concerned the continuation and functions of the Department of Family and Protective Services, Representative Keough was able to amend the bill, which became known as Amendment 8 to SB 206. This amendment successfully passed both the House and Senate.
Please join us in praying for foster parents all across the state as some of them embark on the adventure of home schooling their foster children. As of September, this change in Texas policy has already benefitted multiple families. Thankfully for Texas home school families, state representatives and senators in the Texas legislature battle for your parental rights and home school freedoms and continue to fight to keep those freedoms. We are so thankful to Representatives Stickland and Keough, for their tireless efforts to help Keep Texas Families Free.
THSC believes in your right to direct the care, control, and upbringing of your children and understands that parents determine what is in the best interest of their children. Every legislative session, THSC sends the team of THSC Watchmen to Austin to support legislators like these representatives guarding and furthering your rights. When not in session, THSC’s policy team keeps its eyes on elections, policy issues, and situations that could impact your freedom. Do you support the efforts of THSC’s policy team? If so, please consider supporting their efforts with a financial gift.