Family Freedom Caller Archives (formerly Political News)
February 13, 2018 — A Tribute to Amazing Homeschool Families
February 5, 2018 — Public School Lobby Electioneering with Tax Dollars
January 30, 2018 — L.A. Times: Widespread and Disturbing Homeschooling Pattern
January 19, 2018 — Homeschooling Wrongly Implicated in California Child Torture Case
January 16, 2018 — Predicting MurderJanuary 8, 2018 — Do Democrats Hate Homeschoolers?
January 2, 2018 — New Year’s Resolutions
December 26, 2017 — Will We Enjoy Homeschooling Freedom in The Future?
December 19, 2017 — Judicial Elections: Why They Should Matter to You
December 12, 2017 — Time to Hold Texas Representatives Accountable
February 20, 2018
Texas AG: School Districts Electioneering with Taxpayer Dollars. Enter Operation Mobilize Homeschoolers
Even though homeschooling has become more and more mainstream and studies show that it really works, Texas public school officials and groups continue to show animosity toward homeschooling.
This animosity has become more apparent in this election cycle as public school unions and associations are making an unprecedented effort to get public school employees to vote in the Republican primary—in spite of the fact that 79 percent of the employees are Democrats.
Nowhere is this more of an issue than in the Republican primary election for Texas Senate District 2. Sen. Bob Hall has been acknowledged as the most conservative senator in the Texas Senate. He has been a champion for families and homeschoolers and that, of course, is why we support him. It should come as no surprise that the unions are supporting his opponent.
Not only did Hall’s opponent oppose our efforts to pass legislation protecting families, she actively worked to pass legislation empowering CPS to make home visits to families without cause, based only on ambiguous factors of supposed risk. She even voted against efforts to limit abortion of special needs babies after 20 weeks. This is the kind of candidate that unions support.
This primary election is critical for Texas families. The liberal unions only need one or two victories in the Texas Senate to undermine the conservative agenda of Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick. In fact, the effort by government employee unions is focused on defeating several Texas House members as well.
Texas homeschoolers must respond to this threat to our freedom by voting for pro-family, pro-homeschool candidates.
Join Operation Mobilize Homeschoolers!
Please spread the word about Operation Mobilize Homeschoolers and help us protect our freedom in this election!
Here are two things you can do to mobilize a strategic response against these threats:
- Volunteer to poll greet for a pro-family candidate in your area! Take your kids with you to a voting location assigned by a campaign, greet the voters who come to vote, and hand them information about the candidate. You would be amazed how many voters rely on this information to make their decision. Take 15 seconds to fill out the form linked below and we will let you know which local campaigns need your help most.
- Vote during early voting from Feb. 20-Mar. 2. You can also vote on election day, Mar. 6. To find a local polling location, please visit: www.VoteTexas.gov/Voting/Where. Visit THSC.org/Endorsements to find pro-family, pro-homeschool candidates who will fight for your family’s liberty!
We believe that families raising their children is a God-given right and that parents should be empowered to raise the next generation of leaders. Waiting until the next legislative session to protect these rights is not an option—we must take action now!
A Tribute to Amazing Homeschool Families
Despite concerted efforts from anti-family groups to brand homeschooling as a haven for abusers, there are hundreds of thousands of amazing homeschool families who demonstrate the reasons why this movement is the fastest-growing educational alternative and has been sweeping the country for 30 years!
Many people decide to homeschool their children because they have personally met incredible families who teach their children at home.
One Texas mother told me that she decided to teach her children at home because of meeting a homeschooled young man and thinking to herself: “This is what I want my son to be like.” And we hear stories like this all the time.
President Trump shared another great example of homeschooling at the State of the Union address. He highlighted the heartwarming and inspiring story of Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca, who adopted the baby of a young woman who was struggling with drug addiction.
What President Trump did not say is that Ryan and Rebecca are both products of homeschooling and are also homeschooling their children. The Holets are a fine example of the many amazing families across this great country who sacrificially teach their children at home.
Join Operation Mobilize Homeschoolers!
While the national media and homeschool opponents continue to call for increased state regulation of education and periodic homeschool inspections by state workers, the notion that government intrusion into families could lower the rate of child abuse is undermined by the high number of public-school students who suffer abuse.
THSC is launching Operation Mobilize Homeschoolers across the state to take pre-emptive action against these efforts.
We believe that families have a God-given right and responsibility to make decisions for their children and that the government should not intervene in the lives of loving families with fit parents.
The conservative leaders who defend freedom for families in Texas are under attack. It’s our turn now—they need us to fight for them. Join the Operation Mobilize Homeschoolers today!
Children deserve the best, and a loving family is the best for children. Do you agree? Sign up for email updates to get the latest news on homeschooling and THSC’s battle to defend Texas families.
February 5, 2018
Public School Lobby Electioneering with Tax Dollars
The Texas attorney general has issued an opinion in response to a request from a state senator on the legality of Texas public schools using taxpayer time and resources to electioneer in the upcoming Republican primary.
The controversial measure that has been adopted by many public school boards is reminiscent of the methods of organizing and providing transportation to the polls used by unions.
In this instance, the schools are discussing providing transportation for students and employees eligible to vote. Public education groups appear prepared to move forward with their plans in spite of the attorney general’s opinion, which is non-binding.
Straus Urging Public School Educators to Run for Office
State House Speaker Joe Straus (who has announced he will not seek re-election and was censured by the Republican Party of Texas) recently has called on public school educators to run for the Texas legislature against conservative Republicans who support school reform measures and educational choice. Straus was in open conflict with Governor Abbott during the legislative session and even referred to Governor Abbott’s list of priorities for legislation in the special session as “horse manure.”
Straus was the main obstacle to the passage of education reform in 2017 and with his retirement this year, the possibility of substantial reform in 2019 is now on the horizon.
Democrats to Vote in Republican Primaries
Many from the education lobby are now calling for Democratic voters among their ranks to vote in the Republican primary instead in order to defeat conservative candidates.
One statewide elected official has said that he has never seen such an effort by public education lobby groups.
Homeschool Votes Can Determine the Election
Another official said that homeschoolers are the best-organized and the most active private school community in the state and that a high turnout of homeschoolers in the Republican primary could thwart the effort of the public school lobby to defeat conservative legislators in March’s primary.
Homeschoolers have a huge effect in the Republican primary election. Homeschoolers can literally determine the outcome of the election.
With a traditionally low total voter turnout in the primary, it is critical for homeschoolers to turnout and vote in favor of homeschool-friendly candidates.
For a list of candidates in your area who have been vetted and endorsed by THSC as strong homeschool supporters, visit THSC.org/Endorsements.
We believe that homeschooling is the best education model for children and that families have the God-given right to raise their children as they see fit. We believe in Keeping Texas Families Free.
Join us in standing for freedom by voting for homeschool-friendly candidates!
January 30, 2018
L.A. Times: Widespread and Disturbing Homeschooling Pattern
While THSC has been sounding the alarm about the public education establishment lining up to oppose candidates in the Republican primary that support homeschooling, the latest horror story in California, the Turpin case, has prompted national calls for legislation specifically targeting homeschool families with background checks and annual welfare visits by government officials. One California legislator plans to file legislation requiring annual visits.
The chances are good that the public education establishment will push for such legislation to be filed in Austin next year.
In fact, similar legislation that could be used in this manner was killed by homeschoolers and our friends in the Texas Legislature last year. This clear and present danger makes it critical that homeschool families in Texas make every effort in the upcoming Republican 2018 primary to vote for candidates who will support freedom for Texas families and against candidates who have made it clear that they will not do so.
One of those critical races is Sen. Joan Huffman in Senate District 17 (just outside of Houston). Huffman recently reached out to THSC and set up a meeting that I attended in Austin with THSC staff. We had a very productive discussion, and she agreed to facilitate meetings with us and others to draft legislation amending the Texas Family Code to protect Texas families from lawsuit abuses.
Huffman’s opponent is one of those who comes from the ranks of the public education establishment that is working hard to get public school supporters to cross over from the Democratic primary and vote against conservative legislators in the Republican primary instead.
Huffman’s opponent never responded to THSC to give us her opinion on our issues. We take this to mean that she doesn’t want our support, and would likely vote for efforts to regulate homeschooling. She is also supported by House Speaker Joe Straus, who has been the single largest obstacle to the passage of pro-family legislation in Texas.
Huffman’s commitment to proactively assist with drafting legislation over the summer to protect Texas families is a significant step towards the passage of important reforms.
Any legislation attempting to require welfare checks on homeschool families could likely be sent to the State Affairs Committee in the Texas Senate, of which Huffman serves as the chair. It is critical that we elect legislators who will defend families and their right to raise and educate their children as they wish.
2018: A Critical Election
THSC vetting committees diligently interviewed and reviewed candidates all over the state to help Texas families become informed voters. Visit this page for more election primary endorsements.
Protect Your Family: Join THSC
Another way to protect your family from the kind of invasive action by CPS or other government workers that the opponents of homeschooling want to enact is to be a member of the Texas Home School Coalition. Not only will you be protected from the kind of interference that CPS often perpetrates on Texas families, but you will be part of the community which helps protect other innocent families. We believe that families raising children is a God-given right and calling. We believe that homeschooling is the best model for educating children.
Thank you for your active participation in Keeping Texas Families Free!
January 19, 2018
Homeschooling Wrongly Implicated in California Child Torture Case
A horrific story from California about abusive parents David and Louise Turpin who claimed to be homeschooling has burst onto the national scene. The family had 13 children ranging in age from two to 29. Yes, I said 29! According to the reports, the children are small and malnourished, and the seven adult children appeared to be much younger than their actual ages of 18-29.
A 17-year-old teen escaped the home and used a cell phone to call police, showed them pictures from the home and pleaded for help to rescue her siblings, some of whom were being chained to beds. The teen is being credited with saving her siblings.
Officials have removed the children and placed both parents under arrest on charges of torture and child endangerment. Bail has been set at $9 million for each of them.
This is a heartbreaking story, and our prayers go out to these children. Initial reports are that the children are all hospitalized and being treated for malnutrition and psychological abuse.
This family reportedly spent time in Texas and declared bankruptcy in Johnson County before they moved to California.
Regulating Homeschoolers Is Not the Answer
These kind of situations highlight the critical importance of protecting children from unfit, abusive parents and reporting such cases. The laws in place for these purposes must be enforced.
Sadly, some people are using this horrible situation to say that all homeschoolers should be subject to government oversight, regulation, and even Child Protective Services (CPS) visits, absent any cause! As good sense and proper research show, this is the wrong response.
Unnecessary government interference in family life hurts children, and even scars them for life. The sad reality is that children in public school are significantly more likely to have suffered abuse than homeschooled children. In a recent report from the Home Education Research Institute researcher Brian Ray concluded that, “In a simple statistical analysis, it was revealed that those who were homeschooled were significantly less likely to have been sexually abused as minors than were those who were public schooled and those who attended private Christian schools.”
We have a problem that extends beyond the educational choices of parents. If history is any indication, a knee-jerk reaction calling for the regulation of homeschoolers because of this tragedy would result in increased CPS investigations that harm innocent families.
Let’s pray for the family in California and be prepared to rescue children from such situations. Let us also oppose efforts of those who seek to use these kinds of calamities to propel state regulation of homeschooling, causing the unintended consequence of unnecessarily hurting more children.
Won’t you join THSC today in fighting for the freedom of Texas parents to raise their children?
January 16, 2018
An Illinois Department of Family and Children Services risk analysis program designed to predict the death or injury of a child has been discontinued because of its wildly inaccurate results. It actually presumed that 369 children under the age of nine had a 100% chance of death or injury, and assigned a low chance to some high profile cases of death and injury.
While this idea of predicting abuse and neglect seems to be gaining popularity in many circles, it is eerily reminiscent of the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” which was about a police unit that arrested people before they committed the crime of murder.
We’ve written before about Texas HB 1549 by Rep. Cindy Burkett in the last legislative session that would essentially have enabled Child Protective Services (CPS) to invade the home of any family in Texas without evidence, as long as CPS had labelled that home to be at risk of abuse or neglect. Specifically mentioned in the list of risk factors was a family’s income level.
Low-income and single-parent families could have been unjustly targeted simply because of their circumstances—and unlike the Illinois program, these at-risk families were not children or families that were already in the CPS system due to a prior incident!
This was clearly profiling of innocent families without any basis with fact of abuse or neglect. HB 1549 was killed by legislators, but not without a very strong effort by Burkett to revive the bill in a conference committee.
Burkett is now running for Texas Senate in District 2 against conservative and homeschool-stalwart Bob Hall. If Burkett wins, it will be a tragedy for families and homeschoolers in Texas. The choice in this race could not be more clear: a big government moderate who supports CPS profiling families versus a strong conservative and supporter of families.
Support Sen. Bob Hall in his re-election efforts! Supporting conservative, family-friendly candidates is an essential way to assist THSC in Keeping Texas Families Free!
January 8, 2018
Do Democrats Hate Homeschoolers?
The U.S. Congress has passed a historic tax reform that will give families and businesses much needed relief from burdensome tax rates. Two Texans played a critical role in this process, and they are both good friends of the homeschool community.
Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands is the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House that has worked to pass this historic legislation. Brady worked to add language to the House bill that would expand 529 education savings accounts. These accounts allow parents to invest their own money, grow it tax-free (much like a Roth IRA), and then use it for their children’s college expenses. The change by Brady would additionally allow people to use this account to pay for K-12 education expenses in private schools.
In the U.S. Senate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz successfully amended the Senate version of the bill to allow not only private school K-12 education expenses, but also allow homeschool families to utilize these accounts as well. This would be, as one writer put it, “a game-changer.” However, in a last minute move, Democrats in the minority who all voted against the bill challenged the section allowing homeschoolers to participate, and Cruz’s language was stripped from the bill. Cruz says that this demonstrates the Democrats’ antipathy against homeschoolers.
Why Is this U.S. Congress Legislation Important?
Last spring, Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) commissioned a scientific poll of the homeschool community in Texas on the issue of educational choice. We found that Texas homeschoolers believed that the most important legislative issue was to give parents more choices in the education of their children.
The poll results indicated that 70 percent of Texas homeschool parents said they supported educational choice legislation. Texans innately understand that the solution to many of the problems facing education is to give parents greater opportunities to decide what education type works best for their children.
Of course, the public education monopoly strongly disagrees, and seeks to limit the choices of families in education to protect the public education bureaucracy. It remains to be seen if the expansion of new educational choices will survive the congressional process. This means that now is a great time to act!
January 2, 2018
New Year’s Resolutions
2018 is upon us. A new year has begun. Many of us adopt New Year’s resolutions regarding changes we want to see in our lives. But have you ever thought about making a resolution that would protect our freedom? I would like to offer three for your consideration.
As I talk to homeschool families in Texas and across the country, even among leaders, I encounter often intentional rejection of politics and public policy participation. Many convey that these areas are “not important” or that higher priorities leave no time or energy to expend in those areas.
In fact, I sometimes encounter folks who even refuse to register to vote. Sometimes for philosophical or religious reasons, and sometime just out of apathy.
On the other hand, I talk to many people who very much appreciate the freedom that Texas homeschoolers enjoy, to direct the education of their children without the heavy hand of government oversight.
It is clear that many people do not see the connection between our freedom and participation in the political process, such as voting and advocating for public policy.
Indeed, some even argue that the best approach to keeping our freedom is to keep a low profile and not draw attention to the homeschool community. I can tell you from experience that the fledgling Texas homeschool community in the 1980s was very, very small and low profile, but that did not keep state officials from aggressively prosecuting families across Texas.
THSC has adopted President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy mantra of pursuing “peace through strength.” We seek to actively engage homeschool families in the political process of choosing our government officials as a way to not only teach our children about government, but to educate elected officials about homeschooling. As we do so, we develop relationships that enable us to seek their help when, not if, we have an issue with some government entity that impacts our freedom.
3 Resolutions for Freedom
First, I would like to urge you to make sure that all voting age people in your family are registered to vote. In fact, I’d like to urge you to make sure that like-minded members of your homeschool group and church are also registered to vote.
Secondly, educate yourself on the issues that face our state and nation so that you can cast an informed vote. One way you could do that is to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.
Finally, I urge you to teach your children about this process as you participate in it. Not only will you be embodying good civics and social studies lessons, but you will be laying the groundwork for future generations of engaged citizens. A great way to teach this process to your students, as well as others in your circle of influence, would be to develop a Ranger Club.
Many nations have learned over the years that security depends on being ready to defend the freedom that you have. Failure to be ready may lead to a loss of that freedom.
Our success in educating and electing officials this year will directly correlate to our success in the 2019 Texas Legislature. Won’t you join us in the fight for freedom by becoming a member of THSC?
Thank you for helping us Keep Texas Families Free.
December 26, 2017
Will We Enjoy Homeschooling Freedom in The Future?
THSC was established during the Texas homeschooling battle of the 1980s when our organization banded together to stop the prosecution of families who taught their children at home.
One such critic of homeschooling freedom was then-Democrat Attorney General of Texas, Jim Maddox, who I often credit as the reason that I became active in the political and public policy arena. At that time, he said that he did not believe parents were qualified to raise their children, much less teach them at home. Thus began a decades-long battle to empower and defend Texas families.
Through the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in the Leeper case, the law was clear that homeschooling was legal. Additionally, with the Texas Education Agency’s policy clarifying that families do not have to get permission from school officials to teach their children at home, the freedom to homeschool was clearly established.
On behalf of Texas families, we spent the next 30 years holding school districts accountable to follow the law and the TEA policy with regard to homeschooling.
Expansion Was Necessary to Continue Protecting Homeschooling Freedom
In 2010, THSC expanded our mission to defend freedom for families. This was important to us because the right of families to make decisions for their children is the foundation of our right to teach our children. This was highlighted by what we saw playing out across Texas: attacks against families in the Family Courts through Child Protective Services (CPS) and other legal actions.
Our expanded mission often leads to questions from legislators and other elected officials about how THSC advocating for the rights of Texas families relates to homeschooling. Summarily, if the right of families to make decisions regarding the care, control and upbringing of their children is attacked or ignored, it undermines the right of families to homeschool.
Homeschooling freedom is worth fighting for, and a review of our successes in the 2017 Texas legislative session shows that we worked on issues that impacted all Texas families.
In fact, as the premier state organization focused on freedom for families in Texas, Governor Abbott’s office noted that they very much appreciated our work because it was critically important to families. Additionally, the governor’s office likely would have been unaware of many of the issues that we fought for had we not brought them to their attention.
The Battle for Homeschool Freedom Will Continue Next Year
How much respect has our organization earned defending freedom? Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently reached out to us to help in the primary elections next year. This is important because — as I’ve recently shared — there is an unprecedented push by the anti-homeschooling public education lobby to undermine conservatives in the Republican Primary.
Lt. Governor Patrick’s comment that the homeschool community in Texas is better organized and led than other private education groups makes us a key element in defending individuals who support families in the Texas Legislature.
Our movement is not powered by one individual, though. All of our work for Texas families — litigation, campaigns, interventions and information — requires resources and manpower. We need your help. A donor has committed to match gifts to THSC till the end of the year so your gift is doubled!
Would you consider giving a donation of $25, $50, $100 or more? With our current matching gift, your donation and its impact on helping Texas families will be doubled!
A good portion of support for our work protecting homeschooling freedom comes through year-end contributions. Will you consider helping us continue the critical work of Keeping Texas Families Free? Thank you for giving your most generous gift for this important cause! God bless you!
December 19, 2017
Judicial Elections: Why They Should Matter to You
I recently read an article on NationalReview.com that reminded me how important judges and the courts have become in our society. The article was about one of my friends from the Texas Supreme Court, Justice Don Willett, who was confirmed as a federal judge to the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Unfortunately, not every judicial story has a happy ending. The reality is that we have become such a litigious society and those on the political left have used the courts to accomplish a political agenda they could not accomplish through legislative process. Too many judges are willing to make the law say what they want in order to accomplish an agenda rather than simply apply the law as written.
THSC decided to do something about this. THSC now vets judicial candidates at the local level as well as at the appellate and state levels because Texas families are often attacked by non-parents in family law cases, tearing families apart. Sometimes the issues are directly related to homeschooling.
How is THSC Vetting Judicial Candidates?
To help with this vetting and educational process, THSC developed a questionnaire for judicial candidates. To ensure the completeness of the questionnaire, THSC gathered input from appellate judges and other Texas organizations such as Texas Right to Life and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Unfortunately, some judicial candidates decline to complete these questionnaires, claiming that doing so would violate the Texas Judicial Code of Conduct by:
- “…mak[ing] pledges or promises of conduct in office regarding pending or impending cases…” and
- violating the following rule: “a judge shall abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding which may come before the judge’s court in a manner which suggests to a reasonable person the judge’s probable decision on any particular case. This prohibition applies to any candidate for judicial office, with respect to judicial proceedings pending or impending in the court on which the candidate would serve if elected.”
However, judicial candidates from virtually all levels in Texas have responded to these questionnaires. The U.S. Supreme Court even ruled in Minnesota v. White that judicial candidate may do so. When candidates decline to complete these questionnaires, we take this as a sign that they are unwilling to clearly state their political and/or judicial philosophy. That is concerning to us. Therefore, THSC will not interview or endorse such candidates.
What Action Should You Take?
It is entirely reasonable for candidates for judgeships to be open and honest about their philosophy. This provides the voting public with a reasonable basis to determine whether or not they are worthy of support at the ballot box.
When talking to a candidate for judgeship, you should ask them if they have completed a questionnaire from THSC and/or other groups. If they have not, urge them to do so. If they still refuse, then decline to support them.
This is how we can look out for each other to ensure that our family and homeschool interests are protected in the courts. Together, this is how we we continue Keeping Texas Families Free.
December 12, 2017
Time to Hold Texas Representatives Accountable
Recently, I wrote about legislation that THSC pushed during the 2017 legislative session to protect families from lawsuit abuse in the family courts. Unfortunately, those bills stalled in the Calendars Committee of the Texas House during the last session. We know why. Speaker Joe Straus is well known for appointing liberal legislators to his committees to stall conservative legislation.
Also, THSC’s legislation to allow homeschool students access to public school extracurricular activities — just like 34 other states — suffered a similar fate in the House Public Education Committee.
The Speaker of the House is one of the most powerful positions in Texas Government precisely because he appoints the committee chairmen and has the ability to kill legislation by fiat. In fact, Straus seemed to take pride this last session in thwarting the conservative agenda presented by Governor Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Professor Mark Jones of Rice University in Houston recently said, “With Speaker Straus’ departure, the next speaker of the Texas House who assumes office in January of 2019 will be much more conservative, and much more in line politically with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.”
As many are aware, Straus was elected by all the Democratic members of the Texas House and 11 Republicans, which is why Texas Democrats have done so well and conservative Republicans have not over the last ten years.
Conservatives know that in order to have a Speaker of the Texas House who supports the agenda of Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick, the speaker must be chosen by the Republican majority not the minority Democrats. Indeed, that was the goal of the recent Republican Caucus meeting of the Texas House Republicans. Now, the by-laws change that was adopted unanimously by the 83 members who were present requires a 60 percent vote for the group to nominate a member for the vote on the House floor. That is indeed a step in the right direction but it is not the final victory we are pushing for.
The moderate element of the Republican House members much prefer to work with Democrats and elect a Speaker along the lines of Straus than to work with their fellow Republicans. Why? They know that doing so will result in a more conservative Speaker, as Dr. Jones predicted.
The key is for Republican primary voters to demand a commitment from their candidate to vote for the winner of the Republican Caucus vote. A failure to make that commitment means that supporting the Democrat’s choice of Republican Speaker over the Republican’s choice. It is time that Republicans who have a near super-majority in the Texas House choose the Speaker rather than the minority Democrats.
Check the Republican Party of Texas website for a list of candidates who have made the commitment to have Republicans choose the next speaker and refuse to support those who will not make this pledge. This is how we join together continuing our mission Keeping Texas Families Free.