I sometimes meet members of the Texas Home School Coalition Association who say that they support THSC because we work hard to protect parental rights and the freedom to home school so they can focus on other things. While I appreciate the kindness of their comments, the reality is that no one person or group alone can effectively defend the freedom of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
We are able to accomplish much in defending home schooling and parental rights in Texas because of our experience and the relationships we have with elected officials across this great state, but we can’t fight every battle alone. Just this week, we were successful in forcing a community college to change its policy of refusing to allow home school students to take dual credit classes. While this may seem like a local issue, the underlying problem was with state law, which requires that every student be treated in the same manner. After ignoring letters from THSC, the college officials responded when we contacted state legislators and the offices of the governor and lt. governor for assistance. Rather than threaten them with legal action, we brought political pressure to bear, and the issue has been resolved.
In a similar way, with the help of the governor’s office, I met yesterday with the new commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to ask for help on a couple of problems that home schoolers have encountered recently with CPS. The commissioner’s staff responded to a letter I had written a couple of weeks ago, asking for a ruling on whether or not home school groups are exempt from childcare licensing as educational groups. CPS caseworkers had ruled that home school co-ops were not exempt, because they were not accredited schools. DFPS officials agreed with me and will correct local CPS officials; they will be giving us that ruling in writing. Again, this issue was based on state statutes and the incorrect interpretations of CPS workers at the local level.
Some battles, however, must be fought and won at the local level. Daytime curfews are a good example of this. Unfortunately, state law allows cities and counties to adopt daytime curfews that can be detrimental to home schoolers. Since state statute allows this, the only way to defeat these measures is political opposition at the local level. A great example of this is the battle in the Dallas area to rollback the daytime curfew there. We join a lot of local home school leaders across the state in working against these measures. We provide information and advice on tactics and strategy to these leaders, and many have been successful in defeating daytime curfews in their cities or counties. While we write letters to some of these governmental entities at the request of local leaders, most local officials couldn’t care less about the opinion of a home school organization not in their city. These efforts are almost always defeated by a good number of voters who express their opposition with well reasoned arguments and facts. Cities in which no opposition is expressed end up with such ordinances in place, to the detriment of the freedom of parents in the area.
THSC Association continues to work at the state level to oppose proposed legislation that will erode our freedom and to challenge state officials when they wrongly interpret laws. Our success is, and will continue to be, due to God’s grace and to home schoolers across Texas who respond when it is needed to protect or attentive to the actions of our government at the local, state, and national levels to make sure that we don’t wake up one day and realize that our freedom has been lost. One way to stay informed is to subscribe to the weekly THSC PAC E-Newsletter, that relays many news items related to these types of issues.