In a surprising turn of events, Texas parents who home-school their children are opposing a bill on school choice that was submitted by a Republican in Congress. A school voucher bill filed in the Senate is also drawing strong criticisms. These parents are wary about its eventual implications to homeschooling, should the bills get passed.
According to Texas Tribune, many did not expect home-schooled families to be on the same side as those who oppose a new school choice bill in Texas’ Congress given that homeschooling is all about choices for families. These parents say, however, they are worried school choice laws could eventually encroach on their freedom as the government might include textbook and curriculum regulations that won’t differentiate the two different systems.
State Sen. Larry Taylor filed Senate Bill 3 at the end of January. “This legislation will level the playing field for Texas parents who are desperate for more choices but are limited because of their financial resources,” he said in a press release.
Under Taylor’s proposal, two programs will be established to subsidize tuition fees for both private school choice and homeschooling. One of these programs will be open to all families, regardless of their income.
Therein lies the problem, however, as the lines drawn become unclear. “If it’s state-funded and state-approved materials, it’s not homeschooling,” mom Nicki Truesdell of the Texans for Homeschool Freedom said. What’s complicating the situation is that in Truesdell’s rural area, choices are already lacking, which could further make the distinctions less clear for families wanting to homeschool.
Meanwhile, Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King’s proposal for school vouchers has also been opposed by homeschoolers. Just like in Texas, parents worry over potential regulations that will be imposed, should HR 610 be passed into a law.
Only, King wants this to become a federal law to encompass all homeschooling system across America and homeschoolers are strongly saying no. “Federal legislation to ‘protect’ homeschooling is unnecessary,” William Estrada of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), according to Breitbart. King’s team has been reaching out to homeschooling parents but efforts to dialogue have failed.
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