Homeschooling-related bills for the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.

There are (at least for now) 2 homeschooling-related bills in the 82ns Texas legislative session.

SB 207 – relating to requiring certain students leaving public school to provide documentation necessary to ensure an accurate calculation of dropout rates.

HB 196 – relating to requiring certain students leaving public school to provide documentation necessary to ensure an accurate calculation of dropout rates.

Quick look and the text appears to be the same in both the House and Senate bills.

No, bad bill. Oppose. I LOVE the phrasing… that leaving the failed public school system for a better education via homeschooling is considered dropping out.

HB 132 – relating to the issuance of a driver’s license to a person who has not obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent.

HSLDA is opposing this, but I’m not 100% sure why. My guess is because it enumerates “home school” (in Texas, homeschooling is generally not enumerated, falling under jurisdiction of “private school” and it is best kept that way). I’m going to contact HSLDA for clarification.

Updated: I contacted HSDLA to ask for more details as to why they oppose.

Here’s their more detailed response to SB207 & HB196.

Here’s their more detailed response to HB132.

I agree with their reasoning. You can debate the merit of the intentions behind the bill, but from a purely legal perspective they are bad bills.

4 thoughts on “Homeschooling-related bills for the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.

  1. What is the concern with the first bill? That the school will refuse to sign?

    On the surface it looks like they are trying to separate students who are dropping out from students who are being home schooled.

    We home schooled our kids last year. It was an interesting experience.

    • I have contactd HSLDA to see why they oppose all 3 bills. When I receive their response, I’ll post it.

      Why do I oppose it?

      1. Equating leaving the failed public school system with “dropping out” isn’t good. What if a parent wants to withdraw their child to attend a private school? Same difference, so why aren’t they counted? I grant some people withdraw/drop-out and say they’re going to homeschool but then don’t, but why should all the law-abiding homeschoolers have to pay the price for the abuse of a few?

      2. It’s a registration scheme. There’s nothing in Texas state law that requires homeschoolers to have to register or otherwise notify the state about their choice to homeschool. This starts down that slippery slope.

      3. Texas doesn’t specifically enumerate/legislate homeschools as an entity — they fall under private schools due to the Leeper case.

      From HSLDA’s summary of Texas’s homeschooling:

      Alternative Statutes Allowing for Home Schools: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 25.086(a)(1).

      1. Any child who attends a private or parochial school that includes in its course a study of good citizenship” is exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance.
      Since this law does not specifically mention homeschooling, the Texas Education Agency announced that homeschooling was illegal in 1985. After over 80 innocent homeschool families were criminally prosecuted for truancy, HSLDA joined with other homeschool plaintiffs to file a class action suit against every school district in Texas (over 1,000). The class action suit, Leeper v. Arlington Indep. School Dist., No. 17-88761-85 Tarrant County 17th Judicial Ct. Apr. 13, 1987), resulted in a trial level decision in favor of homeschooling. The court ruled that:

      a. Homeschools can legally operate as private schools in Texas;

      b. Article 7, section 2 of the Texas Constitution only authorizes the legislature to establish and maintain public education, not private or parochial education (Leeper, Slip Op. at 10);

      c. Homeschools must be conducted in a bona fide manner, using a written curriculum consisting of reading, spelling, grammar, math and a course in good citizenship; no other requirements apply.

      d. The court ruled that the interpretation of the law cannot be left to each criminal prosecution. “If arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is to be prevented, laws must provide explicit standards for those who apply them.” Slip Op. at 9. Therefore, the court interpreted the law based on the historical treatment of homeschooling. “The evidence establishes that from the inception of the first compulsory attendance law in Texas in 1915, it was understood that a school-age child who was being educated in or through the child’s home, and in a bona fide manner by the parents … was considered a private school….”

      e. “This judgment does not preclude the Texas Education Agency, the Commissioner of Education, or the State Board of Education from suggesting to the public school attendance officers lawful methods, including but not limited to inquiry concerning curricula and standardized test scores, in order to ascertain if there is compliance with the declaration contained in this judgment.” Leeper, Final Judgment at 12.

      f. On November 27, 1991, the Court of Appeals of Texas completely affirmed the Leeper case. (See Texas Education Agency, et al. v. Leeper, et al., 843 S.W.2d 41 [Tex. App. – Ft. Worth 1991]). The Court stated that the Texas Education Agency “deprived the home school parents of equal protection under the law” since their private schools in the home were unfairly discriminated against “on the sole basis of location in the home,” rather than outside the home.
      The court emphasized “that initiation of prosecution of plaintiff parents violates the parents’ equal protection rights by establishing an unreasonable and arbitrary classification of parents which is not rationally related to any state interest.”

      g. On June 15, 1994, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Court of Appeals decision in Texas Educational Agency, et al. v. Leeper, et al. (893 S.W. 2d 432, 1994), clearly settling the issue: “homeschools” can operate as private schools under the law.

      So, such bills run counter.

  2. And shockingly enough, the bill was introduced by Democrats in both the House and Senate. Further proof, to me, that Democrat politicians have no desire but to force a failed primary education system onto young, impressionable, future voters. If the 18-19 year old students I teach everyday are any indication, it’s working out for the Democrats, they are as impressionable, under-educated, and general incapable of making decisions without having their hands held, as ever.

    I remember being an 18 year old homeschool graduate, I had a part time job, went to college full time, and was still able to make smart decisions and educated choices.

    I agree John, oppose these bills! They are nothing but attempts by lousy politicians to add another barrier to the process of homeschooling your children, in our free state. So, that they can continue to foist, a bad, biased, and failed public education system onto our children.


    • The public education system didn’t always suck, but ever since it became more about test scores, about funding, about not leaving any child behind… well… that meant it was no longer about education.

      The other day I was helping a neighbor kid with his algebra homework. His textbook? It was 100% geared towards the TAKS test. Not geared towards learning material, towards taking the test. Thankfully he’s a bright kid with good parents so I don’t worry about him. But it demonstrates what the system cares about.

      I know as an engineer that sometimes the best solution isn’t to keep a bad thing limping along… it’s to throw it out and start over. Unfortunately I doubt you’ll find a politician with the guts to do that.

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