A case before the Texas Supreme Court today has gotten the attention of the press recently, as the mainstream media try once again to make the case that there should be more regulations on home schooling families by the government. Groups that argue that home school families should be required to take tests and prove to the state that their students are making academic progress are pointing to the Texas case, which we’ve written about several times in the last year.
The McIntyre case began at the instigation of family members who were at the same time trying to take a business away from the McIntryres in a very messy lawsuit. The case turns into a sad story of one family’s harassment from a school district. The media’s breathless coverage that the Texas Supreme Court could limit the freedom of Texas home school families misses one major point.
The Crucial Point About Regulations on Texas Home Schools
The Leeper case, which clarified in 1994 that home schools in Texas are considered a type of private school and therefore exempt from the compulsory attendance laws, also said clearly that the state has the authority to regulate home schools. In fact, in 1995 Texas school districts were doing exactly that by interviewing families and examining curricula. This was considered harassment by the Texas home school community.
The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) responded by seeking a policy by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), rather than filing a lawsuit. The result was a policy that has been in place for over 20 years: if contacted by a school district official, home school parents simply have to provide a letter assuring the district that they have a curriculum that covers basic educational goals and are pursuing it in a bona fide manner. Unless the school district has evidence that this is not happening, it must leave the family alone.
In the McIntyre case, the district eventually dropped its truancy charges because it had no evidence that education was not taking place. In spite of the ongoing media coverage hoping for more regulations on home schoolers in Texas, the Leeper decision has already clearly stated the state has the authority to regulate but it has chosen not to do so. THSC plans to continue to support and defend the decades-old policy created in partnership with the TEA in its mission to Keep Texas Families Free.
Do you support the role THSC has played in the history of home schooling in Texas? If so, please consider giving today either with a gift or joining as a Texas home schooling family.