Texas roundup to regulate homeschooling?

Nov 7, 2015 by

A decision as to whether or not Christian homeschool parents will be forced to prove to the El Paso Independent School District that they are teaching their children education basics will soon be made by the Supreme Court of Texas.

After district officials demanded that the McIntyre family hand over their homeschool curriculum, the devout Christian couple sought injunctive relief from Texas’ highest court in pursuit of academic freedom from undue government intrusion, the Christian Post reports.

Arguing last week before Texas’ highest court, the McIntyre’s attorney, Charles Baruch, made his case that the petitioners were never obliged to provide their home instruction curriculum to the EPISD because the Texas Education Agency (TEA) had previously relaxed regulations requiring homeschool and private school families to surrender such information.

“Around 20 years ago [TEA] announced they were done,” Baruch explained to the judge, according to the Christian Post. “They no longer would evaluate or accredit private [schools] and in response to that our legislature did exactly nothing,”

Baruch informed the high court that homeschoolers no longer have to submit their curriculum to state education officials, citing the state agency’s own statement delivered to Texans more than a decade ago.

“Very few years later TEA publicly announced it would not evaluate or review or have anything to do with home schools and in response to that, our legislature did exactly nothing,” the attorney from Rowlett, Texas, informed. “There is a pretty clear legislative intent to steer clear of these types of schools.”

The homeschoolers’ attorney contends that district officials chose the most invasive way to extract information from the McIntyre family.

“A school district never should start with the most intrusive thing,” Baruch insisted before the court.

Tough teaching in Texas?

Despite the apparent protections in place for Texas homeschoolers, home education groups beyond state borders point out that the Lone Star State is actually one of the worst states for parents to instruct their children from home — with regards to protections.

“Texas’ homeschool law offers some of the fewest protections for homeschooled children in the country,” Coalition for Responsible Home Education Executive Director Rachel Coleman announced in a statement last week.

Coleman, whose organization is based in Massachusetts, says many school officials don’t have a clue about how to deal with homeschoolers and that parents can choose from a number of education alternatives … if they know how to navigate the red tape to teach their own.

“School districts aren’t given a lot of clarity or direction when it comes to safeguarding homeschooled children’s right to an education,” Coleman asserted. “Parents have many options for how to educate their children, but they don’t get to choose whether to educate their children.”

The legal battle begins

According to the Associated Press, problems for the McIntyre’s began years ago when Laura McIntyre homeschooled  her nine children at the El Paso business that family members and her husband, Michael, owned. Soon after the father’s twin brother, Tracy, alleged that the children weren’t getting the basic education that he claimed they should be receive — around the same day that one child ran away from home to attend school — legal issues ensued.

During the court battle, the McIntyres alleged that they were being discriminated against because of the Christian worldview from which they were educating their  children.

“The El Paso School District eventually asked the McIntyres to provide proof that their children were being properly educated and even filed truancy charges that were later dropped,” The Associated Press’ Will Weissert reported. “In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a ‘startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.’ Most of her children are now grown, but Laura McIntyre is still homeschooling her youngest.”

The McIntyres defeated the EPISD in the initial trial court verdict due to jurisdictional issues, but the ruling was reversed later by an appeals court. The Christian homeschool family and the school district are now awaiting a decision by the Texas Supreme Court to resolve the matter.

 

Source: Texas roundup to regulate homeschooling?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.