Decoding the Opposition’s “Alternate Facts”

During the April 6, 2017, public hearing on SB640 (UIL/”Tebow”) in the Senate Education Committee, a few of our group’s representatives testified in opposition to the bill. We received a lot of pushback from the legislators who weren’t interested in hearing an opposing opinion than their own. During the senators’ “discussions” (aka lectures) with our group representatives, a few of the committee members misstated facts or made statements that we were not allowed to address during the hearing. We’d like to take a moment to rebut or clarify those statements now. Here’s the videos:

  1.  Van Taylor misunderstands Dual Credit Requirements – Senator Van Taylor seems to be confused about the difference in standardized tests for high school students and entrance exams into higher learning institutions. He mistakenly says that homeschool students have to take standardized tests to be allowed to participate in Dual Credit at their local college. All students, including dual credit students, take an entrance exam as part of their admission’s requirements for higher learning. This is not just a homeschool requirement.  It is also not a “norm” test. It is an entrance exam equally administered to all applicants to a college and it is not a reason to justify additionally testing homeschoolers for participation in UIL. Public schoolers do not take standardized tests to participate in UIL or to be eligible under No Pass No Play. See the requirements for the Alamo Community College System Dual Credit requirements in Bexar County (one of the largest in the State) for both private/public schooler and homeschoolers. There is NO difference.

2. Video of Larry Taylor suggested that students being homeschooled could be “abused” – Senator Taylor states students are abused by not receiving a “proper” education and, therefore, the standardized testing provision in the bill is a good mechanism to prove otherwise. In this video, Senator Donna Campbell also thinks there should be a testing requirement for homeschoolers to measure “accountability”. If homeschoolers can be tested under this bill, what’s to stop the government from saying, “Well, these homeschool students don’t mind being tested, so what’s the problem with making all homeschool students do it? We have to test their academic performance to ensure they’re not being abused.” Mr. Taylor was alluding that some failing public school students would drop out of school to homeschool so they could cheat the system by still participating under UIL. I’d like to point out that same public school student was being “abused” by the public school system, not by the homeschooling one and it’s no reason to add testing “accountability” to homeschoolers.

3. In this video, Donna Campbell questions Read King about his homeschooling P.E. program – Newsflash: We don’t need public schools to provide Physical Education classes or opportunities; and as homeschoolers, we don’t have to prove “in a measurable way” how our kids are being taught PE at home, especially since it’s not a legally required course of instruction for homeschool/private school. Some public schoolers only requirement to pass PE is to show up to class. Is that her definition of “measurable”?

Below is the public school required coursework, per the Texas Education Code:

 

 

Here is the homeschool required coursework, per the Leeper decision:

4. In this video and this one, Senator Larry Taylor misunderstands the difference between standardized tests like STAAR and what is required under No Pass No Play. Again, this is misinformation. As we discussed in an earlier post from April 12th: 

“In section 411 of the UIL Constitution, it states that public school 9th graders should be promoted from the previous grade. 10th-12th graders need only to earn the required credits that count toward graduation (see below).

Presumably, that grade must be above a 70% to be considered a passing grade, although TEA/UIL allows that a school can set a stricter standard (see below). Under SB640, homeschoolers would be required to pass a standardized test every two years, as well as pass all their courses. This is an unequal standard with the greater burden placed on homeschoolers.

There seems to be some misinformation circulating, mainly from THSC and repeated by our legislators, about the STAAR requirement vs. No Pass No Play to be eligible to participate in UIL activities through the public schools.

STAAR is a Texas standardized test used for performance assessment and administered to students in 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 8th grade. It is not an annual test given to all students in every grade and does not influence UIL eligibility. UIL governs children from 7th-12th grade (and in some cases, 6th graders), thereby ruling out any governance of elementary children who participate in STAAR testing.  The final STAAR test is given to 8th graders. They must pass the test or follow the “grade placement committee (GPC)” guidelines to demonstrate grade-level proficiency (see below). Again, this doesn’t affect UIL eligibility because if an 8th grader does not pass the STAAR or cannot meet GPC standards agreed upon to show academic mastery prior to the start of 9th grade, the student may not be promoted to the next grade. The fact that a 9th grade student is enrolled suggests that they’ve already met promotion eligibility standards set by whatever school they matriculated from whether it was a private, public, charter, or homeschool. Why must homeschoolers be required to pass a standardized test to prove they have met some arbitrary standard?

“No Pass No Play” is the rule that TEA and UIL uses to determine participation in public school extracurricular activities, again for 7th-12th graders (see below). It’s based on students passing their required classes set forth by the Texas Education Code that earns accumulated credits towards high school graduation.”

5. Here Donna Campbell thinks “talented” homeschoolers should be able to show off their athletic abilities, but presumably they’re only able to do that in a public school setting.  You aren’t permanently homeschooled, Senator. You can choose to put your kid in public school. Also, public school isn’t the only place to excel in extracurricular activities. It’s actually the opposite. Public school athletes are leaving the school programs and prefer to compete with organizations like AAU. They get better, more intimate training and opportunities for higher visibility to scouts. NOTE: The irony of passing SB3 (“school choice” subsidies) was to say public schools are failing, but now they want to encourage homeschoolers to use it for athletics opportunities. What does that say about the priority of the Texas education system?  You’re now inviting the public school rot into our community by allowing an opportunity for failing public school students to find ways to get around meeting eligibility standards, thereby, negatively associating homeschoolers with cheating behavior, poor academic performance, and subsequently, inviting more oversight on homeschooling families. Here are two great articles about the homeschool athlete and alternatives way to get them to college teams. It brings up great ways students (not just homeschoolers) can work directly with organizations like the NCAA Eligibility Office to be able to participate in collegiate sports without having had competed through your local public school.

6. Video of Donna Campbell stating homeschoolers should be allowed to participate because they pay taxes. My 65 year old neighbor who is a retired public school teacher also pays taxes, but she doesn’t get access to the school resources either. Neither do other private schoolers. Does this mean private schoolers now have a case for violation of equal protection under the law?

7. Donna Campbell said in this video and this one she didn’t understand why opposers of SB640 don’t want others to have choice when it’s an “opt-in” program. Let me explain it in way that a conservative, pro-life senator might relate – Planned Parenthood could make the same statement and as conservatives we oppose them, too. For us, it’s not about trying to keep others from exercising “rights”, but an effort to preserve those rights. As parents, we already have choice. We can choose to homeschool or choose public school. If you want “both” then perhaps you need to enroll in K-12 which is a public school online from home. You’re still not considered a homeschooler, and there is no need to make all the other concessions for homeschoolers. It harms no one. So choose. Which is more important – liberty or sports? In order to expand their spectrum of “choice”, they want to endanger our homeschool liberties. They already have a choice.

 

 

 

 

 

SB640 UIL/Tebow Bill – Let’s break it down

We’ve thoroughly reviewed the SB640 (UIL/Tebow) Bill, as well as the UIL and TEA rules that govern extracurricular activities for public school students. Here are some of the issues and questions I have after comparing the participation and eligibility rules. It’s a bit lengthy, but we tried to be thorough. Further concerns and analysis will come in a later post. Let’s start from the top of the bill and work our way down.

A.     Section (a) of SB640 starts by saying, “In this section, “home-schooled student” has the meaning assigned by Section 29.916.”

Section 29.916 of the Texas Education Code says, “(1) “Home-schooled student” means a student who predominantly receives instruction in a general elementary or secondary education program that is provided by the parent, or a person standing in parental authority, in or through the child’s home.”

Homeschool is protected as unaccredited private school. Public school is public school. The law has been clear that there should be a wall of separation between the two entities both in funding and in authority. Responsibility is tied to authority. How can homeschool parents, who have elected to remove themselves from the public system, hope to maintain “ultimate authority” of their school when it is the taxpayer who is now responsible for providing educational opportunities? Government intercession comes with public money, as well as the interest of the taxpayer. Is it discrimination to not allow other private school students to now compete for and against public schools in UIL activities since an exception has been made for homeschoolers under the reasoning of providing “choice”? Will this now result in a new category of “homeschooler” in Texas? Under Leeper, homeschool parents won their case to legally educate their children at home, free of government intervention, under the equal protection clause (see below).

Private schools in Texas have previously sued to be able to participate in UIL activities and compete against schools under UIL rules. They lost their court cases. For example, Cornerstone Christian School, a private Christian school in San Antonio, sued to participate in UIL under equal protection and lost. I bet that changes now. What are the legal ramifications of allowing one selective group of students access to UIL activities in public schools while maintaining a ban on another? See the Cornerstone court case and appeal here: Cornerstone Case

B.     Section (b) of SB640 starts by saying “(b) Except as provided by Subsection (g)…”. Here’s subsection (g): “A home-schooled student is not authorized by this section to participate in a league activity during the remainder of any school year during which the student was previously enrolled in a public school.”

I believe this rule is intended to be consistent with the rule found in UIL Constitution Section 443 (below). Presumably, if this bill becomes law, this rule will be waived in the Fall Semester 2017 to allow homeschoolers immediate access to UIL activities.  

C.     Section (b) continues by stating, “…participates in an activity sponsored by the University Interscholastic League shall provide a home-schooled student, who otherwise meets league eligibility standards…” and Section (c) says, “A home-schooled student who seeks to participate or who participates in a league activity on behalf of a school is subject to the following relevant policies that apply to students enrolled in the school: policies regarding registration, age eligibility…”

Most supporters of SB640 are not familiar with the UIL rules or public school registration policies that they will be forced to comply with to participate. This bill generically calls out homeschool compliance with the policies, but doesn’t inform you what you those are. Let’s review some of the UIL & TEA rules that are clearly called out on their own, but are only implied in SB640.

Note the subsections that call out rules for attendance, credits compliance, and years of eligibility (based on your age in school).

Note who is the authority for eligibility rules – TEA, who can change the rules at any time without the need for legislative approval.

Following UIL rules, participating homeschool students will have to align their school calendar to meet the UIL attendance rules. They will have to keep records of attendance for their students that show they are “full time students” per UIL’s definition. Additionally, parents will be required to assign credit hours to their student’s work that reflects the same credit schedule as the public school, as this determines “credits earned”, a requirement for advancing to the next grade and being eligible to compete.

We assume participants will be required to use the same grading method and schedule to reflect the one local public school uses, as UIL is clear you cannot use “one method for some students and another for others”.

For those who have concerns about immunizations, the Texas Education Code 25.002 states above you must have your student immunized according to state requirements in order for your child to be allowed to participate in public school activities.

It’s sad that eligibility status is placed higher in priority to some than the emotional, psychological, or social development of a student.

D.     Section (d) states in part, “As a condition of eligibility to participate in a league activity during the first six weeks of a school year, a home-schooled student must demonstrate grade-level academic proficiency on any nationally recognized, norm-referenced assessment instrument, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Stanford Achievement Test, California Achievement Test, or Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.”

This section of the bill was added as a concession to some folks who balked at homeschoolers not proving they are academically on par with their public school counterparts. Many, including some legislators on the Senate Education Committee, used phrases like needing to have some sort of “accountability” on homeschoolers. In section 411 of the UIL Constitution, it states that public school 9th graders should be promoted from the previous grade. 10th-12th graders need only to earn the required credits that count toward graduation (see below).

Presumably, that grade must be above a 70% to be considered a passing grade, although TEA/UIL allows that a school can set a stricter standard (see below). Under SB640, homeschoolers would be required to pass a standardized test every two years, as well as pass all their courses. This is an unequal standard with the greater burden placed on homeschoolers. 

There seems to be some misinformation circulating, mainly from THSC and repeated by our legislators, about the STAAR requirement vs. No Pass No Play to be eligible to participate in UIL activities through the public schools.

STAAR is a Texas standardized test used for performance assessment and administered to students in 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 8th grade. It is not an annual test given to all students in every grade and does not influence UIL eligibility. UIL governs children from 7th-12th grade (and in some cases, 6th graders), thereby ruling out any governance of elementary children who participate in STAAR testing.  The final STAAR test is given to 8th graders. They must pass the test or follow the “grade placement committee (GPC)” guidelines to demonstrate grade-level proficiency (see below). Again, this doesn’t affect UIL eligibility because if an 8th grader does not pass the STAAR or cannot meet GPC standards agreed upon to show academic mastery prior to the start of 9th grade, the student may not be promoted to the next grade. The fact that a 9th grade student is enrolled suggests that they’ve already meet promotion eligibility standards set by whatever school they matriculated from whether it was a private, public, charter, or homeschool. Why must homeschoolers be required to pass a standardized test to prove they have met some arbitrary standard?

“No Pass No Play” is the rule that TEA and UIL uses to determine participation in public school extracurricular activities, again for 7th-12th graders (see below). It’s based on students passing their required classes set forth by the Texas Education Code that earns accumulated credits towards high school graduation.

E.     Section (e) A home-schooled student’s demonstration of academic proficiency under Subsection (d) is sufficient for purposes of that subsection for the school year in which the student achieves the required score and the subsequent school year.

According to THSC, STAAR determines a student’s eligibility to participate in UIL activities. See the below screenshots of public statements by Jeremy Newman of THSC (and its PAC).

Four things come to mind about these statements made by THSC representatives:

  1. We know the statements about STAAR vs. NPNP are not true, but if they were, that’d be discriminatory against the public school kid who would have had to show eligibility annually by passing a standardized test, in this case STAAR, while homeschoolers would not. I’m not inviting additional testing requirements on homeschoolers, but I find it odd that SB640 supporters keep using the terms “fair” and “choice”. There would have been nothing fair about that scenario.
  2. Additionally, notice Jeremy Newman’s comment in the second screenshot above that said we don’t have the right to tell other people they’re not allowed to participate. Here was my response to that ridiculous statement, “You are correct in saying public schools are very different than home schools which is why we opted out of the system. I am right to be concerned about a legislation that is both discriminatory towards homeschoolers and an open door to trample our homeschool freedom. The government doesn’t have the best track record of preserving personal freedom. As a former supporter of THSC, I recall many notifications saying that your organization opposed certain legislation simply for being a possible conduit for future regulation on homeschoolers. I am confused why you now taut the opposite stance because you authored the bill. I’m not being argumentative; I ask this in earnest. I also am compelled to oppose any homeschooler and any organization who is willing to squander the hard work it’s taken these past years to preserve our homeschool freedom so others can eat at the trough of public schools again. It’s shortsighted, and dare I say, selfish. If they want to participate in public school activities, then they are welcome to enroll in public school. Why be willing to jeopardize our homeschool freedoms for that? It’s the same as SB3 in that with public money come government strings. Always. What will you say to those members when new legislation comes down the pipe in the future that wants to use the SB3 and SB640 passage to bring homeschoolers under a new definition and add regulation to us? “Who could of “knowed”? Why didn’t anyone warn us this could happen?”
  3. We need to stay vigilant that “homeschooling” isn’t co-opted to create new categories of homeschool, like K-12 that is actually public school at home. We are VERY different and yet they seem to call themselves homeschoolers. No, they are participating in public school – from home. We do not want to get caught up in this category where the government can now say, “Well, other homeschoolers are OK with standardized tests and government accountability”.
  4. If you want to homeschool, you have made a choice. If you want to participate in UIL athletic activities, enroll in public school. If you want to participate in other extracurricular UIL activities, make your school district allow all students to participate. Did you know that many homeschoolers and private schools already participate in UIL activities without the need for SB640? See links for examples. TMEA Allows HomeschoolersHouston Redemptive Homeschool AcademyLubbock Homeschool Christian Athletic AssociationConroe SATCH Homeschool Academy & a private school Houston Victory Prep Academy

Also, private schools and homeschoolers can already compete in extracurricular activities under at least three other organizations – TCAF, TCAL, and TAIAO

F.     Section (f) partially states, “After the first six weeks of a school year…must periodically, in accordance with the school ’s grading calendar, provide written verification to the school indicating that the student is receiving a passing grade in each course or subject being taught.”

Again, reference Section B above where we discuss the grading system. As a reminder, the rule says schools can’t use different methods of grading. How does that apply to homeschoolers? Will we have to now adjust the way we grade to meet the local public grading methods/standards? What does “written verification” mean? It’s vague. Is it a letter from the parents that states the homeschool student is passing all courses according to our own standards? Is it a report card listing all the homeschool student’s courses, credit awarded, and corresponding grade? Below is the required curriculum for Texas public schools under the Texas Education Code, Section 28.002. Because grades are aligned with credits earned to graduate, how can homeschoolers be held to the same standard? Our curriculum may be very different.

G.     Section (g) states, “A home-schooled student is not authorized by this section to participate in a league activity during the remainder of any school year during which the student was previously enrolled in a public school.”

This basically means that if a public school student leaves their public school during the school year in order to homeschool, they are not going to be allowed to continue competing in sports that year. This is consistent with the UIL rules that prohibit students from transferring schools mid-year and continuing to participate. Some waivers are available based on extenuating circumstances (parental divorce and relocation, etc.)

H.     Section (h) says “The University Interscholastic League may not prohibit a home-schooled student from participating in league activities in the manner authorized by this section.”

In short, this means that UIL can’t stop anyone from participating in public school activities as long as they follow the guidelines under SB640.

I.      Section (i) With respect to a home-schooled student’s education program, nothing in this section shall be construed to permit an agency of this state, a public school district, or any other governmental body to exercise control, regulatory authority, or supervision over a home-schooled student or a parent or person standing in parental relation to a home-schooled student beyond the control, regulatory authority, or supervision required to participate in a league activity.

How far can UIL go to say what its regulatory authority means – can it tell eventually tell homeschoolers they must teach the required courses or tests that all other public schoolers have to take? Can UIL amend its rules to give itself greater authority? Since TEA was given delegation authority by the state, can they change their rules that would affect the implementation of SB640?

J.     Section (j) “Subject only to eligibility requirements under this section for a home-schooled student to participate in a league activity:

–          the curriculum or assessment requirements, performance standards, practices, or creed of the education program provided to a home-schooled student may not be required to be changed in order for the home-schooled student to participate in a league activity; and

–          for a home-schooled student participating in an education program on January 1, 2017, the education program provided to that student may not be required to comply with any state law or agency rule relating to that education program unless the law or rule was in effect on January 1, 2017.”

Again, it doesn’t say the UIL cannot regulate which classes are required, etc. It says it can’t dictate which curriculum we use as homeschoolers, but it doesn’t say it can’t require homeschoolers to comply with which classes to take.

K.      SECTION 2. This Act applies beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.

If this bill passes, it’d subsequently take effect a couple of months later. What is the cost to public schools to allow home schoolers to participate? The Fiscal Note says that they don’t foresee costs associated at the state level, but costs could be passed on to the local school and its district. How will public schools and districts deal with that since their budgets are usually forecasted and set for a multi-year period? How does it affect eligibility the first year it’s implemented? I should think that some homeschoolers are going to have to scramble to meet eligibility requirements (aligning their grading, testing, possibly issues with residency, etc.). It may preclude them from participating the first year. It may be a non-issue for most.

 

 

 

 

 

HB640 Public Hearing Testimony

On April 6th, the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on SB640, also known as the UIL “Tebow” bill. A few of our group’s representatives went to testify in opposition to the bill and we received quite a lot of pushback from the legislators. You’ll be interested to see the follow-on comments from the legislators after their testimony. We’ll break down their comments in an upcoming post, but I wanted to let you hear for yourself the uninformed and frankly, down right hostile, comments made by some of your legistlators to citizens who were publicly testifying on behalf of many Texas families who oppose this bill. Keep in mind, there was a two minute time limit for each testimony given. You’ll hear the beeper go to indicate their time was up. In the cases like Read King, the legislators spent the next 14 minutes lecturing him on how he was wrong in his opposition.

 

Something Fishy Is Going On – Fake Letters & Outsiders

Texas Tribune wrote a couple of articles in the past few days investigating a tale of letters being sent from supposed supporters of school choice to their legislators through an organization called Texans for Education Opportunity. Of course, this news surprises the so-called supporters as they have no affliation with the pro-school choice group, have no recollection of ever sending the letters, and do not support ESAs. Thousands of letters were sent to legislators of rural districts asking them to vote in support of school choice bills,  but the letters were postmarked from Austin. The legislators became suspicious and contacted some of their constituents to confirm whether they had sent the letters. Read the article attached below.

Rural “school choice” letter campaign sparks confusion, accusations inside Texas Capitol

Is there no limit to the duplicitous tactics some people will use to dupe legislators and their voters? Don’t be fooled, y’all. School choice isn’t about providing better educational opportunities for your kids. It’s about outsiders wanting access to your tax dollars to create and fund their “school choice” options (e.g. private schools funded with tax money, private digital curriculum, private online schools, new special needs providers, etc.). It’s not about educational opportunity. This is an organized, well-funded campaign to allow activists to swoop in to siphon off public funds to line their own pockets. They’re not concerned about your loss of freedom as a homeschooler or whether your local school is successful or not. They don’t care about your parental right to determine your child’s education. It’s about the dollar (and control) for them. Still not sure? Check out the screenshot that our friend, Alice Lanahan, was kind enough to share with us. These folks were invited guests to testify at the Senate Education Committee public hearing on SB3 on March 21st. Your senators invited these outside activists to testify in support of taking your tax money from public schools and putting them in their pals’ own wallets, while slapping more regulations and oversight on to private schools (including homeschoolers). Don’t forget the rich datamining opportunities, too! Mad yet?

 

Let me refresh your memory about where some of the money to push “school choice” is coming from. Names sound familiar? (Again, thanks to Alice for sharing. I think Ms. Truesdell may have a hand in this diagram, as well)

Call both your representatives and senators, tell them you did not send those letters associated with Texans for Educational Opportunity, and tell them NO to SB3.

Senator Kel Seliger’s Words on SB3 Vote

A big thank you to Senators Carlos Uresti and Royce West who voted NO today during the Senate Education Committee vote on SB3. Senator Kel Seliger is also appallingly the only Republican legislator who honored his conservative roots by rejecting public subsidies for private education and growing state spending and regulations. Thank you, Senator Seliger, for voting NO!

Texas Senate Education Committee Vote on SB3

Thank you to all those who voted NO on SB3. With the exception of Sen. Kel Seliger, Republicans just showed how utterly irresponsible and reckless they are willing to be with public funds in the name of #SchoolChoice and #EducationReform. Sen. Kel Seliger's comments were brilliant and he should be highly commended.https://www.facebook.com/AliceL.Linahan/videos/426372644379500/

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 23 d.

 

Republican legistors have acted foolhardy and capriciously with public monies in the name of “school choice” and “education reform”. Contact your state legislators and let them know you do not support SB3 or any bill that promotes government subsidies for education (including any bill that would add new regulation and accountability to Texas homeschool families)!

Our Members Testify Against SB3

Several of our members testified against SB3 at the Senate Education Committee public hearing on Tuesday. You can find video of their testimony below.

Here’s one of our directors, and homeschooling mom, Faith Bussey testifying against SB3.

Texas Homeschool Mom, Faith Bussey's testimony at the Senate Ed hearing against SB3 Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s. Yes, SB3 is a part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Machine's transformation in Education.Below is Faith's written testimony:"My name is Faith Bussey, and I am a homeschool mom of three. When my husband and I decided to become a homeschool family, our income was below poverty level. We had to make some hard choices, like living in a small home that we could actually afford, one car that I could drive occasionally but not too far because of gas prices, no smart phones, no cable, hand-me-down clothes for me and the kids, two haircuts a year, curriculum bought at Half-Price Books, and a full time babysitting job to make ends meet. We so believed in this calling, that we were willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. After a few years, I helped start a homeschool group and then a co-op that served over 100 families from all backgrounds. To my knowledge, we had no millionaires, but we did have single moms who we worked with so that they could provide for their little family and still homeschool their children. We so believed in their calling, that we were willing to do whatever it took to find free market, community, and faith-based solutions to help them make it happen.The scariest words these families have heard are: “I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.” When the government steps in to help the private sector, the free market loses. When public money can be used to subsidize the private sector with or without strings attached, freedom loses. Parents lose because costs go up, and government grows because subsidies increase demand. This is basic economics, y'all. Most people, including most legislators, don't know that homeschoolers don't have accreditation or State-Approved Vendors for curriculum or hoops to jump through now. For those saying this bill won't affect those who don't take the money, are you aware that Texas has more homeschooling freedoms than any other state in the union? Are you aware that all those other states with Voucher and ESA bills didn't increase regulation on homeschoolers because those states already *had* regulations? This means we have more to lose if our legislature opens the door to try to “help” us. As a Christian, Conservative, limited-government, homeschooling mom, I implore the members of this committee to vote down SB3. Don't try to give a free private education to the people who weren't willing to make the sacrifices our families made. If you truly want to help us and help those other families, find ways to let us keep more of the money we earn. Find a way to let us live in the property we bought without having to pay for it yearly with our firstborn to keep it. Find a way to simply Leave. Us. Alone."

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 21 d.

 

Here is testimony by Andy Prior, a track coach, and our Public Spokesman.

Texans for Homeschool Freedom – Andy Prior Testimony Against #SB3Excellent Testimony! Be sure to click "Like" and "Share"!

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 21 d.

 

Director of Texans for Homeschool Freedom, Ginger Russell, gives her testimony to the committee.

Texan's for Homeschool Freedom Director, Ginger Russell's Testimony at the Senate Ed hearing on Jeb Bush's #ExcelInEd funded SB3 Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 21 d.

Our member and homeschooling dad, Read King, testifying below against SB3. Notice near the end Sen. Van Taylor questions Read on his homeschooling law facts and asserts that he doubts Read would be able to provide him with the homeschool laws of the other states. Sen. Taylor, who is a co-author of SB3, and sits on the Senate Education Committee, shows his unbelievable ignorance of Texas homeschool law.

Texas Homeschool Dad Read King testimony against SB3 #ESA

Interesting exchange at the end. Why didn't Sen.Van Taylor want to go into understanding Texas Homeschool Dad Read King? Was it because Read King was in opposition to Pro-Common Core Jeb Bush's #ExcelInEd funded SB3 Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s. Yes, SB3 is a part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Machine's transformation in Education.

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 22 d.

Here is Geren King, son of Read King (above), and a homeschool student, testifying against SB3. This was Geren’s first time ever publicly testifying and we couldn’t be prouder! Way to go Geren!

Texas Homeschool student Geren King testified against #SB3. The Education Savings Account (ESA)s. #StopJebEdinTx #Txlege #Txed

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 22 d.

Our member and homeschool mom, Angela Blackburn testified on Tuesday.

Texas Homeschool and Public School Mom, Angela Blackburn's testimony at the Senate Ed hearing on Pro Common Core Jeb Bush's #ExcelInEd funded SB3 Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s. Yes, SB3 is a part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Machine's transformation in Education.

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 21 d.

Our homeschooling mom, Traci Hooks, testifying below. 

Texas Homeschool Mom, Traci Hooks' testimony at the Senate Ed hearing against Pro Common Core Jeb Bush's #ExcelInEd funded SB3 Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s. Yes, SB3 is a part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Machine's transformation in Education.

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 21 d.

Our member Erin Greene, a former teacher, and a mom testifies on Tuesday.

Texan Mom and former Teacher , Erin Greene Testimony at the Senate Ed hearing on Pro Common Core Jeb Bush's #ExcelInEd funded SB3 Education Savings Accounts (ESA)s. Yes, SB3 is a part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Machine's transformation in Education.

Posted by Alice Linahan on 2017 m. kovo 21 d.

 

SB3 Senate Ed Committee & the Bogus THSC Testimony

 

The Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on SB3, the “FakeESA” school choice bill, on March 21st. The committee listened to ten hours of testimony from both supporters and detractors of the bill; Included amongst those who testified were Jeremy Newman and Tim Lambert from Texas Homeschool Coalition (THSC). THSC has worked all this legislative season to convince our legislators that they can speak for all homeschoolers in Texas and has done so through what can only be described as dubious means. In its latest effort to obfuscate the truth, THSC conducted a phone push poll through a third party company, Ragnar Research Partners, who called some Texas homeschoolers and asked questions that were clearly biased toward getting a response of being pro-ESAs. We are aware that many folks who were called by this company did not respond to the poll questions; many were given nebulous answers when they challenged the caller on who they were and who was behind the poll. Needless to say, it sounds like the poll did not go well and we can only assume the quantitative results were less than accurate. But that didn’t seem to deter THSC who included their poll “results” during their testimonies to senate committee members on Tuesday. They stated that 71% of homeschoolers support ESA’s. Listen to that testimony by Lambert and Newman here.

or here: Lambert & Newman Testify in Support of SB3

 

Here are 3 reasons why that poll was bogus.
1. You couldn’t possibly know that 71% of ALL homeschoolers support ESAs. There is no real data on how many homeschool families there are in Texas. Ragnar Research Partners certainly didn’t call all of them to ask what they thought of ESAs. Ragnar can say that of those who completed the poll, 71% said they support ESAs. But that would also be biased, because you have no idea how many responded. What if 7 people answered out of the 1000 that were called? Now you’re missing the qualitative data that could say a majority of your responders were so offended by the poll they refused to participate, so the 71% result could mean nothing.
2. The questions were biased – When you ask someone whether they support having savings accounts made up of your own tax money set aside for their child’s education, who wouldn’t agree to that? But that’s not what this ESA is. It’s a taxpayer subsidy of OTHER PEOPLE’s money, not your own. So again, that quantitative data is meaningless if 71% of those polled agreed with your skewed questions. 29% still DISAGREED with supporting ESAs. What that poll data really says is that 71% of those who agreed to answer your question support a version of education savings accounts. (Disclosure: To date, we have not seen the poll results, all of its questions, or any of the data related to the poll like how many people participated vs. how many were called. We don’t believe that information has been made public by THSC or Ragnar.)
3. Who supplied the polling company with the names and contact information of homeschoolers? We have been told that THSC commissioned the poll. Did THSC give your information to a third party? Did you agree to have your information shared?
COMMITTEE RESULT: The committee voted today to move the SB3 committee substitute out of committee to the senate floor for consideration. We have not yet seen what the substitute bill looks like. The committee votes were as follows:
Sen. Larry Taylor – YES
Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. – YES
Sen. Paul Bettencourt – YES
Sen. Donna Campbell – YES
Sen. Bob Hall – YES
Sen. Don Huffines – YES
Sen. Bryan Hughes – YES
Sen. Kel Seliger – NO
Sen. Van Taylor – YES
Sen. Carlos Uresti – NO
Sen. Royce West – NO

Call your senators and reps and tell them NO to SB3!

Texas Public Radio Panel On School Choice

Today we were part of a panel to discuss school choice on Texas Public Radio’s show “The Source”. Listen here.

The guests were:

 

It Was A Good Capitol Day

 

We had a productive day at the Capitol yesterday where we were able to reach out to each of the 181 Representatives and Senators to voice our opposition to the school choice and UIL bills.

Our group was diverse, spanning the spectrum of age, experience, and socio-economics, but we were all united in our common goal to preserve Texas homeschool liberty!

 

 

 

 

We would like to acknowledge all the office staff who were professional and listened to our concerns. We had several high school students participate in visiting the representatives’ office. Some of the offices showed genuine interest in our position, asked thoughtful questions, and engaged in smart dialog. We’re proud of our kids for taking an active role in learning about their rights and responsibilities as Texas citizens and defending those rights for homeschooling families who will come after them!

 

 

Additionally, we thank the legislators (and those who sent their representatives) who came to visit with us at our Meet and Greet. Above is Rep. Cecil Bell (L) and Rep. Terry Wilson (R) with our group.

All in all, it was a successful event and further strengthened our resolve to stay engaged with the legislators throughout this session. We will continue to reach out to them over the next couple of months to communicate our concerns.

                             

 

             

 

 

Capitol Days Event – March 7th

Come join us in Austin For Capitol Days on Tuesday, March 7th, as we meet with our legislators to chat about our concerns with the latest education bills introduced this session. Here’s the schedule:

Meet in Rm E2.030 from 10am – 2pm.

10:30am-11:30am – Briefing on how to talk with your legislators

11:30am -11:45am – Press conference on the steps of the Capitol

12:00pm-12:45 – Lunch provided (location TBD due to weather)

1:00pm-2:00pm – Meet and greet your legislators in Rm E2.030

**2:00pm-3:00pm – optional: divide into groups and hand-deliver our goodie bags and flyers to each legislator’s office who was unable to attend the Meet & Greet.