Parents in Texas seeking to homeschool their children are complaining that some public schools are trying to block them from withdrawing their children, according to a recent report from the Texas Home School Coalition Association (THSC).
The Texas Education Association’s back-to-school guidelines, which requires all students 10 and older to wear masks, except those who live in a county with 20 or fewer COVID-19 cases, has prompted many parents to withdraw their children from public schools, the THSC said. In July, the homeschool advocacy group helped process 3,114 withdrawals, a 15-fold increase compared to 201 withdrawals in July 2019.
“As withdrawals increased, so did the reports of schools not following the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) long-standing policy on how public school districts are to handle families withdrawing to homeschool,” the THSC report read. Under the TEA framework, parents can withdraw their children by doing no more than notifying the school of the withdrawal via an email or letter, keeping the child home the day after, and sending an assurance email in case the school asks.
Some schools, however, are forcing new homeschooling parents to “jump through hoops” not required by the TEA, the THSC said. Some have even reportedly told parents who wish to homeschool their kids that they could not do so at all, according to the parents.
“Schools cannot legally keep students from withdrawing, force families to withdraw in person rather than by letter or email, or require that unnecessary forms be signed by families who have already properly withdrawn,” the THSC said, adding that they sent a notice in late August to 9,500 school and district administrators in every public school and district across the state to remind them to follow the TEA withdrawal policy.
The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic and the subsequent school closures have led many parents to rethink what’s best for their children’s education and explore new options. An August Gallup poll reported a dramatic 10 percent drop in parent satisfaction with the education their oldest child is receiving, as well as a 100 percent increase in the percentage of parents who say their child will be homeschooled in 2020.
“With the landslide of families moving to homeschooling, it is clear that many families don’t feel comfortable sending their children back to public school in the current environment,” THSC President Tim Lambert said in a statement. “The health concerns raised by the global pandemic and the substantial uncertainty and inconvenience involved with new back-to-school requirements is simply more than many families feel comfortable accepting.”