Homeschooling’s triumph in Texas courts

To establish homeschoolers’ rights in Texas, [Peter] Allison said, [attorney] Shelby Sharpe took a unique approach. Instead of asking the Texas legislature to pass a new law, Sharpe convinced homeschoolers that the old law, enacted back in 1915, already established their right to educate their own children at home. And instead of trying to defend that right on a case-by-case basis, Sharpe convinced the homeschoolers to attack—demanding a declaratory judgment in their favor against more than a thousand Texas school districts.

“Was homeschooling legal? That was the big question,” Allison said.

“Shelby Sharpe said that the 1915 law, all the prosecutions notwithstanding, says that homeschooling is legal. He said, ‘The law of 1915 is good. We need a court case, not a new law.'”…

Sharpe’s argument was that Texas’ 1915 compulsory school attendance law specifically exempted private school students from having to go to public school. During the decade of the Nineteen-teens, Sharpe said, sixty percent of school-age children in Texas were being educated at home.

“For most Texas families when the law was passed, homeschooling was what you had. So the only meaning the law could have had was that private school meant homeschooling.”

Sharpe’s surprising strategy, tied to existing law, along with the strong contributions of [R.J.] Rushdoony and some of the other witnesses, led to a victory which continues to bless homeschooling families to this day.

Quote source

Duigon, L. (n.d.) Homeschooling’s Greatest Courtroom Victory. Chalcedon Foundation. Available Last accessed 2nd Apr 2015.


R.J. Rushdoony’s support for state educational testing

O’Hanlon: Do you have any objection to [state] testing [of homeschooling families] to determine the results of home education?

Rushdoony:  I would be very much in favor of it if the same tests were applied to public school students and the schools shut down if they determine that the schools were inadequate…this has been proposed in at least one state legislature where I testified and the state school system strongly objected to it.

My two cents

Homeschool Picnic
Homeschool Picnic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I were in the courtroom when Rushdoony said this, I probably would have laughed. I bet statist educators would have been upset at being exposed like that. It’s so good when a witness can give a witty response like this and put lawyers back in their place.

It would be great if any courts from the 1980s filmed their trials and you could watch Rushdoony responding to every line from the state lawyers.

Quote source

Unknown. (1987). Rushdoony Leeper Transcript: Texas Homeschool Trial. Available: Last accessed 17th May 2011.