ISSUE #2: Protests Against Beto, School Choice & the Educational Bureaucracy

Beto in Fredericksburg Sparks Huge Protest, Gillespie Dems Lie About Crowd Size

by Heath Bell

On August 17th, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke held a rally here in Fredericksburg as part of his campaign road trip across Texas. About a week before this, Robert had been chased out of Rockdale, a conservative town east of Round Rock, so it would be accurate to say the road trip didn’t go as planned. Between showing up to a Uvalde shooting memorial to heckle Abbott, swearing at Abbott supporters, and a staunch anti-gun position, O’Rourke has run a controversial campaign. Thus, it’s hard to say exactly what Robert was expecting when he came to Fredericksburg, but perhaps due to Governor Abbott’s relative underperformance in Gillespie County, his campaign assumed he could make some inroads with supporters of Allen West.

This turned out to be a huge miscalculation. Not only was the O’Rourke campaign unable to secure a private venue for the rally, hundreds of people turned out to protest against O’Rourke’s presence in Lady Bird Johnson Park. Gillespie conservatives were protesting both in front of and inside the pavilion, though there were no instances of heckling or interrupting. However, one angry Robert supporter attempted to fight the demonstrators in front of 3 police officers, which went about as well as you’d expect.

Later on Facebook, Gillespie Dems published a claim that there were “over 800 enthusiastic attendees”; they later backtracked the claim, stating there were “793 people signed up” for the event to the Standard. This backtracking was intriguing, so our investigative team here at the Fulcrum decided to examine the true crowd size the only way we know how: counting.

Placing one dot on each person in the crowd (excluding Robert), we found there were 312 people in the room in this picture, which is nowhere near 800. This number does not even account for the protestors in the room or the crowd protesting outside. Taking these into account, it becomes apparent that the protestors outnumbered O’Rourke supporters at the event, possibly by a huge margin.

At any rate, it’s worth mentioning that the fire code only allows a maximum of 500 people in the room!

The Big-Gov Evil in School Choice

by Amy Heimann


Public schools across the country have taken a beating over the past few years. Some say the COVID shutdowns instigated widespread mistrust of the education system, but many parents of school-aged youth argue campus closings and pseudo-learning via online platforms only catapulted the problems already in existence. It was through virtual lessons that many concerned parents discovered the inadequate and occasionally immoral teachings of public school institutions, but these problems were not newly devised in 2020. Today the complaints are well known: Critical Race Theory openly taught, the invasion of Planned Parenthood and its sexually-deviant strategies in elementary schools, pornographic materials in libraries, failing students, No Child Left Behind shackling, bullying, mandatory vaccines, one-size-fits-few teaching formulas, and the like. Centuries of parents have been opposed to government-run school systems, and with the new online access to classroom subjects produced by COVID fears, it seems as though more parents are looking for alternatives.


Prior to the COVID school shutdowns, an estimated 80% of children in the United States attended public school. Private schools enrolled around 10%, charter schools doubled enrollment between 2009 and 2019 to land at 6% of students (about 3.4 million children), and homeschooling estimates grew throughout the last century to 3.3% of students (2 million). By fall of 2020, surveys chronicled a 63% increase in homeschooling. The US Census Bureau reported over 11% of all households with children to be homeschooling without virtual learning supplementation by October 2020. This represented a doubling of homeschooling households compared to the previous school year. Interestingly, the biggest increase was found in Black/African-American homes, where homeschooling gained popularity five-fold from 3.3% to 16.1%. States that saw an increase of homeschooling over 10% included Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Vermont, and West Virginia. While homeschooling numbers did fall in the 2021/22 school year, the 17% drop only put a dent in what could be a national trend against public schools, as many states still report lower public school enrollment than pre-COVID years.

The exodus of students from public schools has led to the creation of new forms of learning which often blur the line on what homeschooling means. One form gaining popularity is called microschool. Reminiscent of one-room schoolhouses and probably born out of homeschool co-ops, a microschool is defined as a personalized environment for student-led learning. A mircoschool can be hosted by a participating family or can be found running in churches or other rental locations. Each microschool serves as few as 10 or as many as 150 students between kindergarten and 12th grade. Like homeschooling, microschooling would be considered a form of private school by the state of Texas and, being therefore unregulated, statistics for microschooling in Texas are hard to ascertain.

No matter the form of learning, it remains evident that a large number of Americans are dissatisfied with the public school system offered to their children. Battles and unrest continue in the state and local spheres. Although national press is aware of the shift in school enrollment, the leading media voices neglect to mention a primary reason why public schools have never been the unanimous choice for families. That reason is religion. Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Schulz states it like this: “[when God] says, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17), He is telling us something crucial about the education of our children and grandchildren…” Children belong to the parents, not the government. Thus the education of the children also belongs to the parents and ought not to blindly follow the priorities of worldly politics, but rather the moral and spiritual guidance of the father and mother. So long as disparity exists between what the state values and what the family values, there will be vehement criticism against public schools.


In response to the outcry of parents, a push for so-called “school choice” has been rapidly gaining attention and traction among legislatures in Texas. The idea is not new, Lt Governor Dan Patrick was already encouraging parents to pull their children out of D and F ranked school systems back in 2007. The form “school choice” took in 2017 was known as Senate Bill 3, which proposed tax-payer funding for private schools. Today, there are three main “choice initiatives” bouncing around the pens of lawmakers. One idea being used in Arizona on a limited basis is creating an Education Savings Account for parents to use for private tuition, textbooks, tutoring, and other supplemental education expenses. One option is to allow citizens to earmark a part of their taxes for private school scholarships for low-income or disadvantaged children. The “choice initiative” receiving the most consideration is school vouchers.

Under the current system, public schools receive state funding based on how many students attend class (one reason FHS caused a ruckus the other year over “Senior Skip Day”). A voucher would turn funding over to students choosing to be schooled privately. For example, if a public school would normally receive $10,000 per child enrolled over the course of a year, a voucher would siphon that $10,000 away from the public school district and place it in the hands of a privately-schooled student. Essentially, the idea is for “the money to follow the student.” Possible restrictions over how this program would be enacted are many and varied.


Although in past legislative sessions the idea of school vouchers had not been accepted with warm feelings, a new wave of support is sweeping through the state in light of recent problems within the public school curriculum. US Senator Cruz and Governor Abbott are both in favor of “school choice initiatives.” The concept is decidedly a hot button topic with vehement words spoken both for and against. Arguments in favor of vouchers are probably easy to see. Proponents say that a school voucher would encourage parents to pull their children out of bad schools and use the state financial assistance to acquire better education through a private source. The Texas Journal editor claims that public schools are “dangerous, nihilistic, hedonist, opportunistic sanctuaries for mediocrity” with a “predilection for manipulating facts, redefining terms, rewriting history, bullying, and intimidation” and that the solution to preserving the minds of children is to ensure they attend the “safest and most effective school” possible. State Representative Brian Harrison opines in a recent interview that liberal indoctrination is the norm in public schools and that the left will soon try to “outlaw conservative education…they could make homeschooling illegal.” Harrison also cited poor proficiency in basic subjects among Texas public school children as a reason to assist parents with private school tuition.


The loudest argument against a school voucher program is the fear that public schools across the state will lose funding if students do not enroll. Many public school systems are already struggling to hire qualified teachers and provide education for the millions of students currently taking advantage of local ISDs. If students, and therefore money, withdraw from public schools in masse, the quality of some schools may decrease as a result, harming the students still enrolled. A few Texas teachers have expressed fears that some schools may be forced to close if enrollment dips, which may severely damage the education of low-income children as a “choice initiative” scholarship will likely not cover the full cost of private tuition. School closures would also leave thousands unemployed, as ISDs are major employers throughout the state, particularly in rural regions. Indeed, many critics point out that a voucher program will do nothing but harm to poor or rural areas, stating that many children in Texas have no private school option near their home and will be forced to stay in public school regardless. Even if private schools are a physically viable option for families, the voucher scholarship will likely only cover a percentage of the tuition fees, leaving families to cover the remaining expense. In Tennessee, this remaining expense is sizable. Average private school tuition in the Nashville area is $12,000 per child per year, but the financial assistance offered by the new state-funded Education Savings Account is only $8,000. Another concern is fraud. Based on how a legislative bill is worded, the opportunity will exist for dishonest citizens to use tax-payer scholarship money for expenses unrelated to education.

Then there is the substantial rebuke from right-wing conservatives who fear “choice initiative” programs will encroach on their constitutional freedom. Even though the “school choice” movement is propelled by parental rights, the fact stands that many private institutions have even less obligation than public schools to grant parental oversight for course objectives and teaching efficacy. Even though “choice initiative” is fueled by getting politics out of school curriculum, it is blatantly obvious to small government conservatives that a voucher is a backdoor to state oversight of private schools. Remember the outrage when the City of Fredericksburg opted to receive COVID financial aid from the US Government? The fear was that if the city accepted tax money, the politicians in D.C. will take partial control over local operations in exchange. The same fear exists with school vouchers. Pastors for Texas Children founder Rev. Johnson has proclaimed indignation that any self-respecting republican would allow “the authority of the State of Texas to barge into our church schools.” Former Texans for Homeschool Freedom leader Nicki Truesdell knows that one step behind state funding for private education is curricula regulation, which is what the majority of private schooling parents wish to escape. She explains that if “the money follows the student” the idea of a private school would become mere illusion and would soon cease to exist in reality. Not convinced of the dangers yet? Consider the following hypotheticals.


First, to prevent fraudulent claims for tax-payer education funds, the state may mandate a database containing personal information on every child (legal and illegal, good luck with that) under the age of 18. This theoretically would prevent individuals from receiving voucher money on behalf of students who do not exist. This would also give anyone with access to the database (including hackers) information on children such as full name, address, birthday, social security number, and their choice of school. Homeschooling? Now strangers will know which children are likely to be found at their home during the day, potentially undefended. Corey De Angelis, Director of Research at the American Federation for Children, would personally like that database to include tracking children with blockchain technology.

Next, the state will feel the need to establish benchmarks and acceptable standardized test results for private schools to meet in order to use scholarship funds from students. Currently, private schools (which include homeschools) are not subjected to such regulations. That will have to change, to ensure tax-payers that their money is not being wasted on “useless” or “ineffective” or “unsatisfactory” education. But who gets to decide what the standardized tests cover? Will thorough knowledge of Critical Race Theory be required to pass? If a homeschooled student does not pass, how will disciplinary action be taken? Will the parent be fined? Will the government declare that homeschool illegal? Will the government conclude that the student must be placed in another institution? Does the government know better than the parent where the student should be educated?

One scenario here is that the student would be prohibited from receiving state scholarship funds. A better scenario is that there would be an “opt-out” clause written into the legislative bill. Ideally, the legislation would protect individual rights by allowing parents to opt their children out of the database altogether.

Would the law also protect religious freedom by allowing private schools to opt out of the system as well? Will the doctrine and ethics of religious private schools be protected from government intervention if said schools refuse to participate in the “choice initiative” program? If there is no opt-out clause, private schools would be forced to teach exactly what public schools teach. Private schools would be forced to teach macroevolution. Private schools would be forced to teach sex “education.” Private schools would be forced to provide contraception to minors. Private schools would be forced to require students to be vaccinated.

“…private schools would be forced to teach exactly what public schools teach…”

Suppose the state finds that it cannot fully fund the program with its own tax revenue. Perhaps the state government officials request aid from the federal government. In turn, the US government will be happy to bail out the state provided that all private schools enrolling students build transgender bathrooms. Biden is already bribing public schools to install transgender bathrooms by withholding federal school lunch money until they comply. If giving impoverished children life-sustaining food is not as important as LGBTQ rights, then private school education will not stand a chance. If Ambleside School refused to construct transgender bathrooms, would the government have the right to shut them down by banning enrollment? Would this refusal of the school not be in violation of Title IX?


The separation of church and state issue has reared its head again in new fashion, this time looking at the requirements for officially-recognized child education. Religion, and other concerns, are leading many American parents to choose alternative forms of education for their school-aged children. Author Voddie Baucham, Jr. correctly writes in his book Family Driven Faith, “We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” Enforced by recent school closures and revealing virtual learning experiences, families have been pulling youth out of public schools in a current national trend for homeschooling. Noticing the growing dissatisfaction around the state, Texas lawmakers pretend to find a solution in the “school choice” concept. Many republicans, including Governor Abbott (who has recently declared he will not sign a choice initiative bill into law without a clause specifying homeschool regulation), have fallen for the generous-sounding idea of distributing tax-payer money to those wishing to escape their local ISD.

In reality, every single form of government “funding to follow the  fill in the blank ” will result in regulation of previous liberties and a loss of freedom. This sad, looming overreach by the state will force the same indoctrination on citizens which they are currently seeking to flee. And why? In the name of school choice? That line of pure pathos as a naive farce. Here’s another reality check: school choice already exists. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in the 1994 case Leeper et al. v. Arlington ISD et al., that privately schooled and homeschooled children are exempt from compulsory public school attendance. No family in Texas is required to place their child in the public school system as long as education is still being presented. No Texas family needs the government’s permission to withdraw their child from public school. “School choice” is really just a money issue, it is not about the legality of opting into a different source of education. Rep. Harrison is concerned that the left will make homeschooling illegal, but homeschooling may soon be made illegal anyway if “school choice” prevails.

Be informed. Inform your representatives.

To read the policies and restrictions of similar “school choice” programs across the country, a concise summary can be found under the National Conference of State Legislatures’ “Scholarship Tax Credits” page at


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released its Academic Performance Report for the 2020-2021 school year and has once again assigned public schools with letter grades after a two-year hiatus. Letter grades are based on various factors including student achievement based on the STAAR test results, student progress, efforts by the school to close learning gaps, number of students taking ACT/SAT or dual credit classes, and number of students accepted into college. In 2021, TEA assigned 27.9% of over 8,000 schools an A grade, 46.1% a B grade, and 19.4% a C grade, with the remaining “Unrated”. Comparatively, in 2019, TEA gave 21.1% an A, 39.5% a B, 26.1% a C, and the remaining a failing grade of D or below. One may be encouraged by the slight improvement in letter grades, but a close look at the STAAR results for 2021 will prove alarming. In the “All Grades, All Subjects” category, only 41% of test takers met grade level standards. “All Grades Mathematics” and “All Grades Writing” prove the weakest at 37% and 30% meeting grade level standards, respectively. Only 28% of eighth grade STAAR participants met grade level standards in Social Studies. A mere 27% of fourth grade writing and seventh grade mathematics met grade level standards statewide.

The 1,019 students enrolled in FHS for the 2020-21 school year did somewhat better than state average. The “All Subjects” average for meeting STAAR standards was 59% at the local high school. Specifically, FHS students did better than the state in Reading (59% local, 45% state), Science (61% local, 44% state), and Social Studies (80% local, 49% state), but slightly worse in Mathematics (34% local versus 37% state).

As private schools typically do not use STAAR testing, it may be illuminating to use SAT scores to compare publicly schooled students with privately schooled students. In the 2020-21 year, the average SAT score for Fredericksburg High School students was 1090. In 2021, the average SAT score for all schools in the state of Texas was 1003. The average SAT score among Texas private schools (not including homeschool) in the 2021-22 year was 1224.

Who’s in Town? – Hill Country Astronomers

by Amy Heimann

For the past eleven years, a group of area residents have found a common bond under the stars. Or perhaps more accurately, among the stars. The Hill Country Astronomers gather each month to hear live presentations or watch short documentaries giving insight into the wonderful expanse of the universe and its galaxies. While a number of the group’s 70 official members self-describe as “avid, interested, amateur astronomers” with three decades of experience and a firm grasp on graduate level physics, some members admit to only knowing five or six bodies in the sky. Prior education in the field is not necessary here; the common tie is curiosity.

In addition to “classroom” meetings, the Astronomers also host Star Parties at various locations in the hill country, usually once a month. The next formal meeting will be held September 6th at 6:30pm, and guests are encouraged to come learn about the visible universe alongside members. For more information, those interested can contact [email protected].

*Editor’s note While studying the innumerable stars, it is easy for a Christian to be humbled by the vastness of God’s creation and the definite limits of human knowledge and understanding. It should be noted, however, that the common assumptions presented by scientific astronomy are founded in pagan anti-creationism (with casual references to dinosaur-killing asteroids and big bangs) and that the Hill Country Astronomers do not seek to refute those ideas despite a retired pastor serving as current Vice President. Individuals lacking a background in Christian apologetics may wish to seek other sources for exploring the sky.

Die Deutsche Ecke

Lachen Sie, wann “GPS” deutsche Straβennamen nicht richtlich ausgesprocken werden kann? Ich schreie die aufgenommene Stimme an. Wie oft muss ich erklären: “Crenwelge” hat drei Silben!

Let us refresh our minds on German pronunciations. I say refresh, because without knowing it, you likely already have some of this knowledge buried in the recesses of your mind. For example: say “Weinheimer.”

Okay, I heard a couple of unfortunate “w” sounds out there, but I also heard two good long “i” vowel sounds. For the newbies among you, this common Stonewall surname is said ‘vEYEn hEYE mer. Now say “Wiener schnitzel.” Now I hear that glorious “v” sound followed by a long “e” vowel. Did you see the difference? When you have an “e” and an “i” next to each other in German, the SECOND vowel gets elongated and voiced. Notice this in the following: ein, die, gesundheit, Vereins Kirche, vielen dank, Dietz Bakery.

Perhaps you already know that “w”s are pronounced as a “v” sound. Wilkommen, Wasser, wunderbar, was ist das, Wahrmund, Bierschwale.

I should remind you that “v”s are pronounced as an “f” sound. Unserer Vater, vielleicht, Baron von Meusebach, Frank van der Stucken, Vogel.

And lastly, “j”s are pronounced as “y”s. Johann, Jakob, Jung, Jenschke.

The letters d, g, s, and z can somethings take on different sounds as well depending on where they are in a word, but those rules are more complicated and will be discussed at a later time.

Hausaufgaben: This month, call KNAF 910 and request to hear the song “Fredericksburg Phone Book Polka.” Pay attention to how the artist pronounces each classic, Texas Hill Country name.

Also, This:

Democrats Look to Repeal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and More. The proposed “Respect for Marriage Act” would do the following if passed by Senate: 1) affirm the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling on the legality of same-sex unions; 2) create a pathway for radical activists to sue certain religious organizations which ascribe to the scriptural teaching on marriage between a man and a woman; 3) provide an option to deny tax-exemption status to religious organizations which teach marriage according to the Bible; 4) force nationwide legal acceptance of polygamy as marriage if any individual state votes to validate the practice. The “Respect for Marriage Act” has already been passed by the House of Representatives.

FBI Breaks into Former President’s Personal Safe. On Monday, August 8th, the FBI conducted a search of Former President Trump’s property, removing approximately 20 boxes of paperwork and other items. The raid permitted agents to break into Trump’s personal safe without his knowledge, as he was not onsite to receive the warrant. Many citizens are crying foul, claiming that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deleted thousands of classified emails without any federal repercussions prior to being investigated. This is the first time in US history that a federal bureau has broken into the home of a president.

Michigan Library Loses Tax Funding Over Book Contents. Voters in Jamestown Township, MI decided not to renew a tax millage for the local library due to pro-LGBT content on the shelves. The Patmos Library board of directors refused to pull 90 books out of circulation following protests and are now looking for options to remain open after the resulting 83% budget cut.

One Pastor’s Perspective on Public Schools

Guest Column by Pastor Jamey Day, Faith Baptist Church

For some reason every time I go to the grocery store the first cart I get is the one that squeaks loudly and pulls hard to the left. Under normal circumstances my inclination is to stop and fix it. Perhaps it’s my toxic masculinity or simply self-delusion but I kind of think I can fix anything. But, generally speaking, I don’t bring tools to the grocery store. After years of frustration and trying everything to get that cart to work I have come to conclusion that the best course of action is to go back to the front and get a new cart.

Now having said all of that, I come to the point. I’ll come to the point by asking a few pertinent questions. Question #1 — Do you think that over all the government school system is broken? Is it squeaking loudly and pulling hard to the left? Question #2 — Do we have the tools to fix it? Or do we need to go back to the front of the store and get a new cart?

Now, full disclosure, I have no dog in the fight. My wife and I chose to homeschool our four boys and have done so for the last 27 years. Our reasons for doing so were spiritual in nature and at that time had nothing to do with the quality of the public school system. In fact we lived in a very small town and many of our church members worked and taught in the public school. By all accounts it was a good school.

But now it appears that nefarious forces are sneaking child and adult pornography into the libraries and using supplemental resources to indoctrinate children in liberal gender and sexual identity studies. The public school system is indeed broken.

Having said that, I know personally teachers who are good people who vehemently object to what is happening. They are facing discipline and even termination for doing so. I see these brave men and women as bright lights in a very dark world. May God bless them! But they are clearly working within a broken system.

I also greatly admire and respect those parents in our community who are on the front lines fighting for their kids. God bless you! But to the original questions, asked in another way. Is this system redeemable? Or are the forces of evil way too entrenched? Do we have the tools to fix this wayward cart? Well, God is in the business of redeeming the wayward. God can redeem the public school system if He chooses to do so. But then again, He might not. And is it worth sacrificing our children’s well-being in the mean time?

So what does “going to the front of the store and getting a new cart” look like? First, consider homeschooling your child. It’s not as complicated as many think and all the old arguments against homeschooling (lack of qualified teachers, socialization issues, college entrance) have all fallen to the wayside as homeschoolers routinely perform very well in college settings, and become well-adjusted highly social members of society. There are great curriculums available that are high quality and many are biblically based.

Now I’m aware there are legitimate reasons for not homeschooling. Most probably center around financial concerns. Single parents have to work and in our society two incomes often seem necessary. So advocate for school choice initiatives. Between state and local support, schools receive around $14,000 per child if they attend the public school. That would go a long way to send your child to a private Christian school or even allow one parent to stay home and homeschool. The stakes are high and the sacrifice is worth it.

But there is another point here. Can you imagine what would happen if every professing believer pulled their child out of public schools and the schools lost all of that delicious revenue? Historically speaking, does money talk? Do you think that would get the school boards’ attention? If the school system collapsed for lack of money, perhaps that would give dedicated, concerned parents a real chance to (to borrow a slogan) build back better. That is the ultimate example of getting a new cart.

Just one pastor’s perspective.

Letter from the Editor

If you wish to receive a notification when the next issue of The Fredericksburg Fulcrum is published, please contact [email protected]. Your email will not be used or shared for any other purpose.

Amy Heimann

Publications Chair, GCYRs

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