October 6, 2017
THSC Sues Texas Ethics Commission – Update
For over 30 years, THSC has fought to ensure that parents—not the government—are empowered to make decisions in the best interest of their children. Part of that battle has been legal and has played out in Texas courts. Another part has been in the court of public opinion. However, the much larger battle has been political, where we inform and educate candidates about parental rights when they are running for office in key elections.
In the Texas Legislature, our success defending parental rights is directly related to our success electing candidates to public office who support the right of families to direct the upbringing of their children. In fact, THSC has developed a reputation in political circles of being a key ally for political candidates to be elected.
That is why we have been involved in litigation against the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) since 2014. This state agency, which is responsible for enforcing laws related to campaigns and candidates running for political office, has become increasingly politicized and used as a weapon by some establishment leaders against conservative groups in Texas.
Additionally, the rules adopted by the TEC are designed to force non-profit groups like THSC to comply with burdensome regulations—including the disclosure of donor and member names—to legally be allowed to address certain political issues.
The TEC’s actions remind me of a book I recently read, The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech. In the book, author Kim Strassel recounts the IRS targeting conservative groups when former President Obama was in office and how he played other “games” as well.
Our case is now on appeal at the Texas Third Court of Appeals. We have filed our latest response to the TEC’s arguments and are preparing for an upcoming hearing on November 8th where oral arguments will be heard by the court. The court’s decision will have a far-reaching impact on Texas citizens and non-profits like THSC who seek to inform constituents about candidates and elections that are vital to protecting our freedom.
Would you pray for God’s provision in this important court ruling? Joining together to defend parental rights and protect homeschoolers is how we continue Keeping Texas Families Free.
October 17, 2017
Unless the LORD Builds the House
I recently heard a presentation from a friend that really convicted me. This friend talked about a ministry that he participates in with an important requirement.
The requirement for those who take part in the ministry is to have a committed group of people who pray for him and those who are doing the work of the ministry. He called this a prayer strategy and explained how God had miraculously worked during the event to meet needs as a result of answered prayer.
I realized that while I’m an activist charged with responding to the needs of homeschoolers and supporting Texas families, I do not always focus on praying and asking others to join me in praying for THSC and our specific areas of ministry.
However, one of my favorite verses that I often quote in relation to our work is Psalm 127:1: “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
That is a principle that I know to be true. In light of that, I would like to ask that you consider praying for THSC on a daily basis. Specifically, I’d like you to pray for the following three issues where we need God’s provision.
- Please continue praying for the many families who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf Coast of Texas. As those headlines recede, it is easy to forget these families who are still rebuilding their homes and lives after suffering devastating losses. Please pray that these families will be restored and be able to return to normalcy.
- Please continue praying for the lawsuit that THSC has pending against the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) and its new rules that are designed to threaten non-profits like THSC who take part in political speech. That case is before the Third Court of Appeals in Austin.
Please ask the Lord to give us favor with the judges and render a decision favorable to us that would give protection to all non-profits in Texas who want to give information and direction to their groups about who they believe should be elected to office. Please also pray that we will be able to continue to raise the funds to pay for this critical litigation.
- Finally, please pray for the upcoming primary elections as candidates begin to file for election or re-election. Pray for the THSC team as we vet candidates and begin the expensive and labor intensive process of reviewing the records of incumbent officials and examine challengers.
We need God’s wisdom and strength to do this work in a timely manner and prepare to work for the election of those who will help us continue supporting homeschoolers and defending parental rights.
If you can join us in the strategic prayer commitment, please let us know by sending an email to OfficeManager@thsc.org. Additionally, if you would like to support THSC financially in any of these three important areas issues, you can do so here.
Thank you for your support as we join together Keeping Texas Families Free!
October 24, 2017
Homeschooling into College
When I talk to new homeschoolers, I often hear questions about homeschooling through high school. Interestingly, these questions even come from parents with children in elementary school. It seems that many people still have concerns about whether homeschool graduates can get into college.
Part of this is because there are still critics who want to discourage parents from teaching their own children at home. They may even claim that parents who are not certified teachers cannot provide students with a quality education to equip them for a successful life. To that, I say “Poppycock!”
The common argument from homeschool critics 30 years ago was that only professional educators could adequately teach children. Today, the data overwhelmingly supports the opposite.
- Homeschool students score 15-30 percentile points higher than the national average.
- Colleges all over the country now recruit homeschool graduates.
- In Texas, state colleges are required by law to treat homeschool grads with the same admission standards as public high school grads.
Speaking from experience, it is actually easier to homeschool a high school student than younger children. As homeschool students mature, they are generally able to pursue their own studies with the direction of parents and/or take classes online or at a community college.
Also, from a discipleship perspective, this is a critical time when parents can have tremendous influence in their children’s lives by providing direction, counseling and mentoring. In fact, Lyndsay and I felt like this was the time when we began reaping the benefits from years of investing in raising our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
So, when someone claims that you cannot homeschool through high school, you should be confident in your response that it is a blessing to you and your children. You will not regret it and your children “will rise up and called you blessed!”
October 31, 2017
Joe Straus and Byron Cook Won’t Seek Re-election
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and his chief lieutenant Byron Cook announced they would not seek re-election in 2018. Opponents were lining up to oppose Representative Straus, as he already faced an announced opponent for Speaker in the 2019 Legislative Session from a House member in leadership. Another opponent announced opposition as well.
Why is this development important? In the last several sessions much of THSC’s legislative agenda to protect Texas families and promote homeschooling was killed by the committee Chairmen appointed by Straus to head the House Legislative Committees.
Representative Straus was elected in 2009 by a group of 11 House Republicans and all of the Democrats in the Texas House. Over time, It became apparent that the Democratic members of the Texas House relied on Straus to move their own agenda and block conservative agenda items introduced by the Republicans. In total, more than 50 Republican organizations across the state have passed resolutions of censure or lack of support for Straus and the Republican leadership of the Texas House.
While many conservatives are pleased with these retirements, that does not automatically mean that the new House Leadership will be conservative. In fact, an article from the Dallas Morning News stated: “The good news for establishment Republicans is that House Democrats are expected to vote in a bloc and will have a great say in who is the next speaker. That’s largely how Straus was able to grab the post.”
THSC and many other conservative groups are pushing for a rule change to require Republican House members to nominate a candidate in their own caucus by secret ballot. Then, they would vote as a bloc for the Republican on the House floor to prevent the Democratic minority from choosing the Republican speaker. Texas is one of only three states that does not operate under such a rule.
THSC will be questioning candidates for Texas House on this central issue as we prepare for the next election cycle. It is critical for the future of Texas families that the Republican majority choose the leadership of the Texas House. This is how we will continue Keeping Texas Families Free.