I spent time this week (as usual) in Austin talking to legislators and working against a couple of bills (HB 196 and SB 207) that would require parents who withdraw their children from public school to do so in writing. We’ve told the authors that the bill is unnecessary because the Texas Education Agency has already amended its policy requiring written notice instead of allowing officials to say they were given verbal notice that the parents were withdrawing children to homeschool.
Some may remember I addressed this issue last year when news surfaced that school officials in inner-city Houston may have been falsely reporting dropouts as home schoolers. Opponents of home schooling, and of parental rights, look for any opportunity to offer state regulation of home schooling, and we will thus remain vigilant to oppose any of those efforts.
Homeschool friends in Illinois have been battling an aggressive attempt to require registration of all home schoolers. Four thousand home schoolers showed up to oppose the bill, and the Democratic senator who authored the bill withdrew it. There, as in Texas, these folks are offering a “solution for a problem that does not exist.” While the Illinois home schoolers have won a battle, they know full well that they must continue to be vigilant, as will we.
In Austin I also talked to legislators about the measure, which Governor Perry vetoed last session, that would have dramatically undermined parental rights by giving broad new powers to CPS. We are watching closely, but so far those who pushed that proposal have not filed a similar measure.
We also expect to have the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act filed this week in the Texas House, and we will be working hard to get this bill passed in order to protect fit parents from lawsuits from non-parents.