(The Center Square) – The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) has seen a nearly 400 percent increase in parents withdrawing their children from public schools in the last six months compared to last year.
In August 2019, THSC reports that it processed withdrawals for 1,044 families. In August 2020, they processed 4,055 withdrawals.
The July increase, THSC says, was a 1,500 percent increase from July 2019.
The organization was founded to educate and support parents interested in learning about home-schooling to help them determine if it is right for them, and how to begin the process. It provides information about state law, curriculum to choose from, and other materials to help new home-schooling parents.
It also has a free form for parents to fill out to help them withdraw their children currently enrolled in a public school in Texas. Early numbers from this form “indicate an enormous increase in families moving to homeschooling,” THSC says.
The form began being heavily used shortly after the Texas Education Agency’s release of its back-to-school guidelines.
“Within 24 hours after the guidelines were released, THSC’s call and email volume had doubled from parents asking how they could homeschool,” THSC said in a statement. “A month after these guidelines were announced, 2020 withdrawal numbers still appear to be hitting record highs.”
This number represents only a portion of the total withdrawals to home-school statewide, since THSC is not notified of every withdrawal. It estimates the number is much higher.
Official TEA withdrawal numbers for 2020 are not yet available. For the 2018–2019 school year, the TEA reported that 22,967 students were withdrawn from public schools to be home-schooled.
According to THSC, there are roughly 350,000 estimated home-schoolers, and 317 local home-school groups in the state.
Home-schooling has been a legal alternative to public school education since 1994.
A recent Ipsos poll found that more than half of the respondents who are parents with a school-aged child said they were very, or somewhat likely, to switch to at-home learning.