During this legislative session, legislators heard from citizens and delivered two key homeschooling reforms: allowing equal access to the school resources that families pay taxes for, and protections for an alternative to public school. However, the Legislature failed to codify certain protections of family rights.
“Not everyone had the same experience we had this session. I recognize that,” Jeremy Newman of Texas Home School Coalition told Texas Scorecard in an interview. ”I want to make sure people know this other side of the story. … At least on these issues—CPS family issues and the homeschool issue—[the] Legislature did a lot.”
Texas Scorecard will review reforms of Child Protective Services in a future article.
Two major homeschooling reforms the Texas Legislature passed during the regular session this year were the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Equal Access Bill, House Bill 547, and the Learning Pod Protection Act, Senate Bill 1955.
But one critical action was left undone: the protections for families were not codified into law.
While Newman says this session benefited homeschoolers, one thing left undone was the Family Unity Act, which he’d like to see addressed in one of the special sessions Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to call this year.
“The Family Unity Act is designed to take the high points of case law as it relates to the right of families to raise their child, and it embeds that in the Texas Family Code directly,” he explained.
Newman says the last 100 years of case law from the Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court contain “certain constitutional rights and process” that judges and lawyers have to follow before “they can interfere in the parent-child relationship.”
“The problem we have in Texas is a lot of judges, a lot of attorneys, don’t know that.”
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