Originally Sent: 5/8/2013

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Texas: Legislative Update and Action Requested

Homeschooling in Texas

Thank you for helping us protect homeschool freedom.

Darren Jones
Staff Attorney Darren Jones is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team. He and his wife homeschool.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

With three and a half weeks left in the state legislature, we want to update you on the current status of the top Texas bills of concern to homeschool families.

Parental Rights Bills

In April we and other homeschool organizations asked you to oppose anti-parental rights bills in the House and Senate. Based on your phone calls and testimony, both House Bill “HB” 393 and Senate Bill “SB” 1148, which would have made it easier for grandparents to gain custody of their grandchildren against a parent’s objections, have been stalled in their respective committees.

On the other hand, your support of HB 2547, which would strengthen parental rights in Texas, was instrumental in causing the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee to report it favorably. Tom Sanders, HSLDA’s local Texas attorney lobbying for homeschooling rights, submitted testimony for these bills and attended the House Committee hearing on HB 393 and HB 2547 to help HSLDA represent our Texas members. HB 2547 is scheduled for a vote in the House tomorrow, May 9, 2013.

Action Requested: Please call your Texas House representative and urge him or her to vote for HB 2547. Your message can be as simple as “Please support House Bill 2547, which will add more protection to the right of parents to raise their children in the way they see fit, while still protecting a grandparent’s interests in visitation.”

Use our Legislative Toolkit to find contact information for your representative. Simply enter your ZIP code and select the link to your representative listed under “Texas State Government.”

The Common Core

HB 462 would prohibit the State Board of Education and school district from implementing the Common Core State Standards in Texas public schools.

While Common Core currently only applies to public schools, HSLDA’s long history of fighting against a national, one-size-fits-all approach to what children learn is due to our concerns that homeschoolers would one day be forced to use the same curriculum that all other schoolchildren are using. In fact, there is discussion of aligning tests that many homeschoolers take (like the SAT) to the Common Core, which would pressure homeschool parents to align their homeschool curriculum to what public school students are being taught. In addition, some of the supporters of the Common Core’s central databases are already discussing expanding their program to include the personal data of homeschool students. For more information on the Common Core, read HSLDA’s latest article.

Even though the Texas Legislature has rejected the Common Core, nothing currently would prevent the State Board of Education from adopting the Standards. HB 462 has passed the House and will be introduced in the Senate.

Sports Access: Our Position

Finally, SB 929 which would allow homeschool students to participate in public school sports passed the Senate and is currently in the House Public Education Committee. SB 929 was amended to require standardized test scores of homeschool students who participate in sports as a condition of eligibility in certain circumstances. The text of this portion of the bill is below:

“(d)AA The parent or legal guardian of a home-schooled student is responsible for oversight of academic standards relating to the student’s participation in a league activity. As a condition of eligibility to participate in a league activity during the first six weeks of a school year, a home-schooled student must demonstrate grade-level academic proficiency on any nationally recognized, norm-referenced assessment instrument, including the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Stanford Achievement Test, California Achievement Test, and Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. A home-schooled student demonstrates the required academic proficiency by achieving a composite, core, or survey score that is within the average or higher than average range of scores, as established by the applicable testing service. For purposes of this subsection, a school district shall accept assessment results administered or reported by a third party.”

HSLDA realizes that the homeschool community is divided on the issue of equal access, and in compliance with HSLDA’s national policy, we are neutral on SB 929. However, should the state try to regulate all homeschoolers based on such access, we will fight any such regulation attempts at that time.

Standing with you for freedom,

Darren A. Jones
HSLDA Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support for our work enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

Senate Bill 929

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