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4/16/2007 4:43:29 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Texas: Calls Needed to Oppose Government Aid to Homeschooling

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 16, 2007

Texas: Calls Needed to Oppose Government Aid to Homeschooling

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

House Bill 1569 is going to be heard in the Public Education Committee
tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock. It is imperative that everyone contact
the Committee.

This bill is dangerous because it uses the word "homeschool" and
defines it, as well. Up to this point homeschooling has not been
defined in Texas law. H.B. 1569 also gives many "freebies" which over
time will bring more government regulation. We believe that
entanglement with the government will weaken the independence of
homeschools and eventually limit their freedom. Therefore, we urge you
to call in opposition to this bill.

REQUESTED ACTION

Call as many members of the House Public Education Committee and give
them this message:

"Please vote against H.B. 1569 because it will raise taxes.
Homeschooling should remain private."

Members of the Public Education Committee
Chairman Rob Eissler -- 512-463-0797
Vice Chairman Bill Zedler -- 512-463-0374
Dan Branch -- 512-463-0367
Harold V. Dutton, Jr. -- 512-463-0510
Scott Hochberg -- 512-463-0492
Anna Mowery -- 512-463-0608
Dora Olivo -- 512-463-0494
Diane Patrick -- 512-463-0624
Dianne White Delisi -- 512-463-0630

BACKGROUND

Over a dozen states currently require public schools to allow
homeschoolers access to classes or sports. These include Arizona,
Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New
Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington. In both
Arizona and Oregon, the law only requires school districts to allow
access to "interscholastic" activities. Yet the effect of the laws in
these two states generally allows homeschoolers to participate in any
activities they choose.

Despite these laws, equal access to homeschoolers is not offered
without some strings attached. Although specific requirements vary
from state to state, homeschool students can typically participate in
public school programs only if certain requirements are met. First,
the student must be in compliance with the state homeschool law.
Second, the student must meet the same eligibility requirements as a
public school student. Finally, the state requires the student to
verify that he or she is passing his or her core subjects.
Consequently, the homeschooler may be required to provide achievement
test scores or periodic academic reports, even if the state's
homeschool statute does not otherwise require them.

Do parents have the right to choose the amount of public education
their children receive? Although the courts have said "no," the state
legislatures are beginning to say "yes." Courts do not find any
"right" for homeschoolers to receive access to government funded
educational services. State legislators, however, seem open to
allowing homeschoolers the privilege of access to public school
activities.

Part of the reason for this trend is financial. School districts in
some areas are beginning to feel a decrease in funds due to the
increasing number of students leaving public schools for private and
home education. Schools may try to compete with private education by
luring those students back with sports and academic classes, in order
to regain at least partial funding for those students.

The access trend is not without potential hazards. Access supporters
must remember to guard the right of parents to remain free from
extraneous government regulation when they receive no government
services. Despite both legal and political controversies, opening
access to homeschoolers appears to be a growing trend.

To view the text of the bill visit:
http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80R/billtext/doc/HB01569I.doc

For more information on equal access, please see our memorandum at
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000049.asp

Thank you for your calls.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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