In the Lone Star State, where everything is larger than life, public education is, surprisingly just average, even somewhat below average. Thanks to a crucial court decision however, the state receives an A+ for its treatment of homeschoolers. This provides parents with a valuable alternative way to provide their children with a more challenging educational environment than the Texas public schools.
Texas public school standardized test scores in fourth and eighth grade math are average to somewhat above average. By the time students reach high school, however, their ACT and SAT scores have slipped below the national average. Graduation rate is also a dismal 67%, more than three percentage points below the national average. Based on these and other factors, the Texas public educational system received a score of 29 out of 51 from Alec.org.
Thanks to a crucial 1987 court ruling, under Texas homeschooling laws, homeschool families are considered private schools. The state legislature only has jurisdiction to establish and maintain public education. It cannot do either for private or parochial education. Texas homeschooling laws cannot mandate standardized testing. However, the court did rule that homeschool families must use a written curriculum that teaches five required subjects. There can be no other stipulations under TX homeschool requirements.
However, the court did qualify this to explain that public school attendance officers may inquire about curricula and test scores to be sure Texans are following the above minimal TX homeschool requirements.
In 1995, the Commissioner of Education sent out a memo that set forth that a written statement of assurance from a parent is enough to verify that Texans are complying with TX homeschool requirements. There is no need for parents to initiate this contact, however.
Under Texas homeschooling laws, homeschool graduates are specifically protected from being discriminated against in favor of public school graduates in admissions to Texas colleges.
Texas’s religious freedom law also gives homeschoolers an additional option to defend homeschool rights. Parents can claim that compliance with Texas homeschooling laws places a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion. The state then has to prove that the TX homeschool requirements not only “further a compelling state interest, but also are the least restrictive means of doing so.
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