Last weekend I enjoyed my time at the CHEACT conference in Austin. Lynne Tagawa gave me a copy of her new book on Texas, Sam Houston’s Republic, which is a story of Texas history written clearly from a Christian perspective regarding Sam Houston and the early days of the Republic.
The book reminded me of the great struggles our Texas forefathers went through to secure the freedom that we, I’m afraid, so often take for granted. These men and women and their families faced great dangers and sacrificed much to carve out a Republic for their posterity.
I thought of this and the battles that modern home school pioneers in Texas fought as I did my presentation on home schooling and the law because I presented news clips from the 1980s in which state officials asserted that the state of Texas had the authority to require home schoolers to register with the state, have their curriculum approved, and take state-mandated tests. All of this in spite of the fact that nowhere in the Texas Education Code was there any authority for the Texas Education Agency or the State Board of Education to regulate private schools at all.
Those home school pioneers fought back in the legislature, at the ballot box, and in the courts, and after almost ten years were victorious, and now we are able to say, “Welcome to Texas, where people are free!” The story of this decade-long battle is told in the THSC Documentary, Taking a Stand in Texas: The Battle for Home School Freedom.
Of course, as we all know, freedom is not free. We continue to push back against attempts by the bureaucrats and elected officials who try to erode our parental rights and our freedom to homeschool, and we will continue to do so. In fact, last week we wrote a letter to Vista College in Amarillo. Vista had accepted a home school graduate for admission and then several weeks into the semester told the student she could no longer take classes because Vista College required home school graduates to take a GED or graduate from an accredited program, in spite of the fact that the Texas Education Code clearly states that home school graduates are equivalent to a public high school graduate and must be treated the same for admission. We will continue to follow up on this.
Finally, one of the speakers at the CHEACT conference is a friend of mine and a home school dad from another state. He told me that he was impressed with what the home school community had accomplished in Texas regarding the freedom for parents to homeschool and the success we have gained in getting rid of artificial barriers for home school graduates. He told me that he hoped we would continue to do so because, with the way things are moving in his state, there might come a day when he and his family would move to Texas to keep home schooling. I told him that we would always say, “Welcome to Texas, where people are free!”