It is quite unfortunate that the Texas Home School Coalition whom most Texas homeschoolers have placed their trust in for years is now setting up the future generation of Texas homeschoolers for state registration.
How are they doing this you might ask. Tim Lambert, president of THSC has been accepting funding (see below) from some key individuals that are pushing the “School Choice” agenda which is being pushed across the country. Lambert has been very vocal making videos, posting blogs, tweeting, and speaking at meetings across the state promoting the School Choice agenda even prior to legislation being filed. The words “School Choice” sound great but once you dig a little deeper it isn’t what it seems. This “School Choice” agenda is heavily funded by the likes of Mr. Common Core himself, Jeb Bush and globalist, Bill Gates.
I would like to remind you that we already have school choice in Texas. Parents have the ability to educate their children however they see fit and thankfully two of those choices are not regulated by the government, private and home school. This “school choice” agenda the state legislature is pushing will be funded by tax dollars through “Education Savings Accounts”, ESA’s. This is not a savings account where you save your own money to educating your children. This is another government subsidy program similar to “Obama Care”. Make no mistake with government subsidies comes regulations and state mandates. The School Choice agenda and the bills filed in Texas (SB 3 & HB 1335) will allow government subsidies into the private and homeschool arena. Once your child is in the system participating in the program they will be registered with the state and their information will be placed into the Texas Student Data System.
Once you a have government subsidies streaming into those markets with state mandates and regulations we will no longer have government free choices in educating our children. NOTE: if a homeschool parent takes these funds their child will be registered with the state and their data will be collected and placed into the Texas Student Data System. Tim Lambert fails to see or admit that.
Many of those that funded the 2016 THSC Gala are HUGE School Choice proponents.
NOTE: The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a key supporter and promoter of School Choice. The following three individuals sit on the TPPF board of directors.
Kyle Stallings gave THSC $27,000.00
Mayes Middleton gave THSC $30,000
Stacy Hock “Contribution amount unknown”
School Choice Debate, Tim Lambert, Peggy Venable (pro school choice) debate Alice Linahan and Ginger Russell (pro Liberty) on School Choice.
Tim Lambert fails to see state mandated testing and data collection as regulations on homeschooolers. He compares it to what Texas have to do now in order to open carry stating those are not regulationsor infringments on our 2nd ammendment rights.
Senator Don Huffines is also pushing School Choice.
I have NEVER witnessed so much political corruption and pay to play politics as I have with the School Choice agenda in Texas. This past September, I attended a School Choice Policy Summit hosted by the the not so TEXAS CONSERVATIVE COALITION. This meeting was nothing but a rally cry to promote the agenda of School Choice in Texas through the use of government subsidies titled “Education Savings Accounts” (ESA). Both School Choice and Education Savings Accounts are misnomers. We already have school choice in Texas and Education Savings Accounts (ESA) are government subsidies.
Speakers at the Pro School Choice Policy Summit were Lt Gov Dan Patrick, Senator Larry Taylor, Senator Bettencourt, State Representatives Rick Miller, Dennis Paul, Mike Schofield, and Dwayne Bohac. Stacy Hock with Texas for Educational Opportunity and Empower Texas Board member, Mayes Middleton their “money buddies” joined them. Middleton also sits on the board of Texas Public Policy Foundation. TPPF is also a huge advocate of School Choice. Texas Public Policy Foundation provided a brochure titled “The Archilles Heel of Texas. Improving College Eligibility Rates through K-12 Education Savings Accounts.”
I could not help but notice on the bottom of the brochure was Mr. Common Core (aka) Jeb Bush’s company “ExcelinEd” listed as one of the sponsors.
Below you can see a few who fund ExcelinEd. NOTE: BILL & MELINDA GATES
DAVID MAYES MIDDLETON
I listened for almost 2 hours to them pushing for School Choice. As the meeting wrapped up they did not welcome questions from those in the audience. I approached Senator Bettencourt afterwards and mentioned to him “I as a homeschool mother am concerned about this due to Government encroachment. Also I do not like the government in my business knowing what I am doing and where I am”. When I said this to him he walked away waving his mobile phone in the air stating “you need to be more concerned about this, (the mobile phone) which always knows where your are”. I was shocked at his response and lack of professionalism and disturbed that I had paid his company thousands over the years to protest my property taxes. NEVER AGAIN.
After further research into the money. I was shocked at the thousands of dollars that Stacy Hock and Mayes Middleton combined, have contributed to Texas politicians. I am also well aware today March 16, 2017 that Mayes makes regular visits to those legislators in Austin that he has funded to encourage them to support School Choice.
NOTE: The Montgomery County Tea Party held a debate on School Choice on March 6th. Scheduled to sit on the panel in favor of School Choice was Peggy Venable and Mayes Middleton, against school choice was Alice Linahan and myself (Ginger Russell). The tea party was notified one week prior my our modeator Dale Huls that Mayes would not make the debate and Tim Lambert from the Texas Homeschool Coalition would sit in his place. Here is the video from that debate.
**NOTE** Stacy Hock recently returned from New York, She has no education experience. Her experience in Technology. With that said she has made her way up into the helms of the Texas Education Establishment. Governor Abbott, Mr. Pro School Choice advocate, appointed Stacy Hock to the Texas Commission of Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability. Senator Larry Taylor (author of School Choice SB 3) also sits on this Commission. The Commission just turned over their final report in September asking Gov Abbott to align our State Standards/Accountability with the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
You may wonder how Stacy Hock can arrive out of nowhere and be placed in such a position to make recommendations regarding the education of Thousands of Texas Children. Look no further.
I will highlight our new Texas Representative Briscoe Cain. Mr. Money man, Mayes Middleton and Briscoe seem to be tied at the hip on the School Choice policy issue. Could it be due to his campaign funding? Mayes Middleton, other Empower Texans board members, and unfortunately school choice advocate Texas Home School Coalition have contributed thousands to Briscoe’s campaign. Despite the fact that this is another government program reigning in Texas Home Schoolers and placing all those under the umbrella of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, through campaign donations, Liberty Caucus member Briscoe Cain is part of School “Choice” elite special interest group.
Rep. Briscoe Cain Money Trail
Representative Bricoe went on Twitter calling Texas moms that are busy schooling their children and are genuinely concerned that School Choice legislation will affect their homeschooling freedom Kool-Aid Drinkers.
David “Mayes” Middleton funded Konni Burton’s campaign $5000.00.
To make matters worse School Choice advocate, Peggy Venable, posts the following photo on her Face Book page cheering their lavish dinner this week hosted by the not so Texas Conservative Coalition. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Bricoe is holding a sign up titled EDCHOICE. EDCHOICE is a national School Choice policy pusher aligned with none other than Jeb Bush and ExcelinEd funded by Bill Gates.
So when our Texas Representatives go to Austin claiming they are conservative. I believe it will be few are far between that truly represent their constituents and adhere to their values. Sad but true.
Oh the tangled web we weave.
Afterwards Peggy posted the following on facebook. Many responded including myself of our concerns and the money ties to this School Choice shenanigan. Peggy Venable deleted all the post and blocked many of us. Some of the things we posted are below.
It is with much regret that the Texas Home School Coalition is no longer looking out for Texas homeschoolers now or those in the future when it comes to government infringement. We value our liberty and freedom in educating our children as see fit.
If there funding is not listed you can go to the Texas Ethics Commission and see all their contribution and expenditures. It is just a more time consuming. If you will go to the link on the left titled Search Campaign Finance and Lobbying Reports. You will click Campaign Finance once again and do the simple form. Enter their last/first name and your good to go. If you have trouble navigating your way through their call their office. They have always been more than willing to help.
Texas parents have the right to select educational opportunities other than public school for their children NOW!!
In Texas, under current state legislation:
1. Parents can freely choose to take their children out of public school. If their local public school has a below average state rating, at no expense to parents, their children can be bused to other local schools with higher ratings.
2. Parents can freely choose to homeschool or send their children to private schools or to a public charter school.
So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?
The proposed Texas School Choice Program Offers one thing: MONEY
Yes, School Choice is all about money. Education Saving Account, ESA, is the name of the funding states are offering parents to remove their children from public schools.
Government money always has strings, and the amount of strings attached to ESA funding could be woven into large elaborate macrame tapestries.
Some some of these strings include how parents spend ESA funding. The state sets guidelines about the educational curriculum that can be used. In fact, the state dictates the curriculum choices. Also, ESA funding may only be used pay fees to approved private schools.
Yes, there is lots of paper work that parents will have to provide to prove the ESA funding is being used properly. For example, while the money can be used for transportation, the total amount per year allowed is set by the state. Parents will have to provide copies of maps showing the path from start to finish for each trip. ETC…ETC…..Receipts–you bet.
So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?
Texas legislatures say that parents of students in poor communities do not have the funding to homeschool or to send their children to private schools. Thus, the children of these parents must continue to attend public schools that do not offer a diverse quality education for their children. (FYI: This is because the Texas Education Association, TEA, has dictated that all public schools prepare every child for college.)
Make note that ESA funds cannot be used to send children to charter schools. This is because the state considers charter schools as public schools.
So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?
ESA funds will first go to low income parents with children having any type of disability, learning or physical. Other parents will receive less ESA funding. Texas legislatures contend that a School Choice Program will improve the education of all Texas children. Parents who take ESA funding will be able to take their children out of public schools and some how the children left in public schools will receive a better education. No, I do not understand how this proposed miracle solution to improving Texas education is suppose to happen. Unless, our state legislatures promote school choice so fewer students with learning disabilities will be taking STAAR tests. Generally, these students make lower scores on these tests, which bring down the average of school districts. If this is the plan, School Choice will not improve the education of students, instead it will improve school STAAR test averages.
Why will only children in public schools take STAAR tests? Children receiving ESA funds will not be required to take the STAAR test? So, how can legislature claim that these children will be receiving a quality education?
So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?
Children who are now being homeschooled or are in private schools may not receive ESA funding. To be qualified they must enroll in their local public school for no less than 100 days.
Think about it: The School Choice program is being set up so that parents can remove their children from public schools that are not providing a high standard of education for students. Yet, to be qualified to receive School Choice ESA funding, children must first attend one of the less than adequate pubic school for 100 days. Why? Is it for data collection on all children in the US?
Many Texas homeschool parents have made the choice to forsake careers, education degrees and other endeavors to see that their children have the best education possible. I could retell story after story of home school families that could barely make ends meet but still feel it is so important that they home school them. They are anything but RICH!!
I recently attended a townhall meeting hosted by Texas Senator Don Huffines in Dallas, Texas. I was shocked that he has resorted to class warfare in his pushing his school choice agenda. It is quite unfortunate that Huffines a former homeschool dad himself would not protect the future of home school freedom in Texas.
UPDATE: SENATOR LARRY TAYLOR HAS FILED SCHOOL CHOICE SB 3. PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED IN AUSTIN, TUESDAY, MARCH 21 9am ROOM E1:028
Unfortunately our “supposedly” conservative Texas Lt Governor Dan Patrick and many of our Texas Senators and Representatives are throwing the future generation of Texas Home School families under the bus. For months now Lt Gov Dan Patrick and other senators and representatives have been making their rounds across the state in hopes of selling their legislative priority of “School Choice” which will ultimately change the landscape of home schooling in Texas. Though the words “School Choice” sound great please do not be deceived. This “School Choice” initiative should alarm any freedom loving home school family.
Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick
The proposed Legislation that has yet to be filed intends to set up a State Funded Education Savings Account (ESA) for any student approved. NOTE: This is not you saving your own money like a Health Savings Account. This is the state funding quarterly an undetermined dollar amount to your (ESA) account. This money can be used to attend private school, purchase “STATE APPROVED” curriculum, classes, computers, etc, etc.
WHY HOME SCHOOL FAMILIES NEED TO BE CONCERNED
With state funds comes govt control and STRINGS with yearly mandated state or norm reference testing. “What if they fail the test are they still eligible for funding”?
***With testing comes the Data Mining of your child. For those unaware there is a TEXAS STUDENT LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM where public school students personal information is stored and available to 3rd parties. Billions of dollars have been spent from the federal level in collecting student data across the US. Most parents are unaware of this un-nerving fact. Due to a change in the FERPA law there is no longer student privacy.
The funds can only be used to purchase state approved material. Will we able to continue to purchase Christian material in educating our children? If “yes” how long will that last? BELIEVE ME THE LIBERAL ACLU WILL BE ALL OVER THIS!
NOTE: In 2011 the state passed SB 6 allowing School Districts to purchase any curriculum they wanted being text books, online learning, etc WITHOUT STATE APPROVAL. With THESCHOOL CHOICE program you can only purchase TEACHING MATERIAL FROM STATE APPROVED VENDORS. Who are these approved vendors and who is approving them?
Current home school or private school students will not be eligible to apply for the program. Students would have to enroll and attend public school for and undetermined amount of days prior to being eligible for the funds. A child has to be in the system one year prior to being qualified for the program (They have to get you into their student data system first.) Remember this is DATA. DATA DATA DATA! EX: If you are a current homeschooler and you have a 2nd & 3rd grader they would not be able to receive funding. You have to put them back in the public school system for one year to be qualified. Now if you have a child entering K or 1st grade they would qualified.
ESA accounts will be audited annually (randomly) by a State office to review the “educational expenses” parents pay for with the account in an effort to prevent fraud and abuse. (talk about up front and in your business)
Just a few thoughts.
This is just another Socialist liberal wealth redistribution plan under the disguise of “School Choice” More SOCIALISM.
Many of the same state legislators that have our public schools in shambles today are now pushing school choice. Check out this blog about Senator Larry Taylor who chairs the Texas Senate Education Committee and the role he has played in Texas Education. He did read my blog and left the following comment for me. I did ask hoping he would respond why was my post considered a conspiracy and that he thought I created in my own mind. I have yet to receive a response.
Our legislators have been spending months with paid lobbyist promoting this agenda. Seems to me they are more concerned with funding their pockets and not with their constituents.
You will hear repeatedly the verbiage “This will EMPOWER THE PARENTS to become more involved in their child’s education. I don’t know about you but I was empowered to pull my kids out of the public school without state $$$. Parents who are going to be involved in their child’s education do not need state funds to empower them.
I will talk about this more later but I have been very unhappy with the position that Texas Home School Coalition has taken on this initiative. They have come out supporting it and have censored those of us that do not agree by blocking us on their facebook page. I personally left a message for Tim Lambert and have yet to hear from him. I finally called and asked them to refund my membership money which they did. Call and let them know your concerns as well. Ph# (806) 744-4441
Educate your friends and family as to what is taking place.
I attended the school choice rally in Austin yesterday (Tuesday). I stood there in shock as our Texas Lt.Governor Dan Patrick proclaimed to all these children mostly minorities that “You have to be rich to have school choice” (see video below). Wow. Did he go to Bernie Sanders Training classes? And we wonder why the younger generation today has the give me mentality that the government owes them everything.