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 Thursday, March 23, 2017

 

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 E…

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 Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

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 Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

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 Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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 Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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 Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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 Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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 Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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 Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

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!