The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 3
- disclaimer -
May / June 2003


FEATURES
A season to encourage

Burnt toast & sticky cards

A letter to my parents

The spiritual power of a mother
National Center hosts 2003 Summit
Farris addresses social workers

DEPARTMENTS
Along the way

Homeschool litigation: preparing the way
Freedom Watch

What's ahead in 2003?
From the heart
Across the states
Active Cases
Members only
About Campus
President's page

Good judges make good decisions

ET AL.

Prayer & Praise

a contrario sensu (on the other hand)

HSLDA legal contacts for November/December 2002



  LEGAL/LEGISLATIVE UPDATES  



ACROSS THE STATES

AR · CA · FL · IL · IN · KY · LA · MD · MO · MT · ND · NM · NY · OH · OK · OR · TN · TX · VA · WY

TEXAS

Legislative roundup

Home School Legal Defense Association is working on six important Texas bills (highlighted below) and tracking many others. For additional details, visit our website, www.hslda.org, and click on Texas on the state legislation map.
HSLDA SUPPORTS

  1. House Bill 944: Ends College Admission Discrimination

    For years, some Texas universities have held homeschool graduates to a tougher standard than other graduates, most often requiring higher test scores.

    Although HSLDA was able to get federal college admission policies changed,* some state policies still discriminate against homeschooled applicants. H.B. 944, introduced by Representative Phil King, requires Texas state colleges and universities to admit graduates of a homeschool program according to the same standards that are applied to graduates from a public high school program. HSLDA strongly supports H.B. 944.

    * Read about changes in federal college policies at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/C/College.asp.

  2. H.B. 1752: Makes Social Workers Reveal Family Rights
    H.B. 1752 would implement the federal Keep Families Safe Act, which requires every child protective services worker in the United States to reveal the allegations to the person being investigated at the initial contact. Texas social workers routinely refuse to reveal allegations unless the family allows them to enter their home and interrogate the children privately. H.B. 1752 would also implement an amendment to this federal measure that requires social workers to be specifically trained in their duty to protect the statutory and constitutional rights of those whom they are investigating.

  3. H.B. 374: Ensures Parents' Rights to Discipline Their Child

    Introduced by Representative Harold Dutton, Jr., H.B. 374 amends the child welfare code by stating that a parent may use corporal punishment as a form of reasonable discipline. HSLDA supports this bill and has been working with the sponsor.

HSLDA OPPOSES

  1. Senate Bill 586: HomeschoolRegistration Bill

    After receiving over 1,000 phone calls and 1,000 emails, Senator Barrientos' office has just informed HSLDA that he will amend his bill to remove the requirement that all homeschoolers register with the commissioner.

    Senator Barrientos would still like children withdrawing from public school in order to homeschool to register, but HSLDA has pointed out that it is unfair discrimination to single out new homeschoolers. We have urged the senator's office to withdraw S.B. 586 altogether or amend it into a public school uniform paperwork bill that would require all parents who withdraw their children from public school to sign a form indicating what type of school the child is transferring to. This approach might provide the state with more accurate dropout statistics while avoiding registration of homeschoolers.

  2. S.B. 30: Mandatory Kindergarten

    Introduced by Senator Judith Zaffirini, S.B. 30 would reduce the compulsory attendance age from 6 to 5 and require children previously enrolled in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten to attend school. No action has been taken on S.B. 30 since it was assigned to the Senate Education Committee. Because hundreds of HSLDA members already responded to our previous alert by calling the committee, we believe that this bill will not go anywhere.

  3. H.B. 214 and S.B. 412: Homeschooler Participation in Public School Activities

    Companion bills H.B. 214 (introduced by Representative Brian McCall) and S.B. 412 (introduced by Senator Florence Shapiro) relate to homeschool student participation in public school academic and extracurricular activities: a homeschool student may enroll in public school in the district as a part-time student; a school may give homeschool students access to laboratory facilities; a school district may permit a homeschooled student entitled under 25.001 to attend public school in the district to participate in an online course; a school district may furnish textbooks without cost to a homeschooled student; and a school district may permit a homeschooled student to participate in a district-sponsored extracurricular activity.

    While HSLDA generally takes a neutral stance on equal access to public school programs, we are concerned with the wording of these two bills. Until now, homeschoolers have clearly been considered "private schools" under Texas law. This right to be a private school was earned through years of litigation culminating in the Texas Supreme Court's Leeper decision. H.B. 214 and S.B. 412, however, would create a new category--"homeschool students"--and would likely increase regulation by forcing the legislature to define a homeschool and to create appropriate controls.

    To amend the language and remove the term "homeschool" student and replace it with "private school" student is not feasible because neither the legislature nor the public schools want to open the public schools to all private school students.

    HSLDA believes it is in the best interest of homeschoolers in Texas to remain in the same loosely regulated category as other private school students.

Christopher J. Klicka