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.”
January 9, 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!
We would also like to thank Rep. Brady and Sen. Cruz for their great work on our behalf! Cruz has committed to continue working for the fair treatment of homeschoolers.
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.
Go here to 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 23, 2018
Homeschooling Wrongly Implicated in California Child Torture Case
A horrific story from California regarding an abusive family who was allegedly 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. This kind of response is akin to the regular call from the left to outlawing gun from private citizens in the wake of every horrible gun crime.
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.
This situation may also result in legislation being filed in Texas’ next legislative session limiting the freedom of Texas families. This makes it critical that Texas families vote in the upcoming primary for candidates that will protect Texas 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 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 has prompted national calls for legislation specifically targeting homeschool families with background checks and annual welfare visits by government officials.
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!