An overview of the homeschool laws and regulations of Texas along with links to legislative source information, additional reference materials and government resources on homeschooling.
Texas Education Code sections 21.032 & 21.033
Legal Requirements for home schooling in Texas
(This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only, for the exact wording and interpretation of the law please look at the Texas Education Code(sections 21.032 & 21.033) or consult a lawyer.)
- Compulsory Attendance ages are 6 through 17. This means that when a child turns 6 he must be “in school” and, if not enrolled in a traditional school, the following requirements apply:
- The home school must be run in a bona fide manner (not a sham or subterfuge.
- A written curriculum (from any source including video or computer) must be used and must cover the basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, math and a course in good citizenship. The child is considered to be in a private school.
- Parents must reasonably cooperate with any reasonable inquiry from an attendance officer.
- The Texas legislature has not defined private or parochial school in the Education Code . Additionally, the legislature has given the TEA and State Board of Education authority just over Public schools, not over private or parochial schools. Under the compulsory attendance laws, there is a requirement of 170 days of attendance but this only applies to PUBLIC schools, not to private schools.
- There are no current testing requirements nor or you required to register your home school with the school district under current Texas law.
Leeper Case Upheld on Appeal.
On Wednesday, June 15, 1994, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously upheld the appeal of the Arlington v. Leeper case, which defined the current home-schooling rights of parents in the state of Texas. In a 30 page ruling, the court upheld the lower court rulings which said that students attending legitimate home schools are not required to attend public schools. The court said that the Texas Education Agency had no legal basis for prosecution of 150 homeschooling families and that legitimate home schools are exempt from the state’s compulsory attendance law.
The Supreme Court agreed with the district court’s ruling that a home school was considered legitimate if parents used some sort of curriculum consisting of books, workbooks or other written materials and that they met “basic education goals” by teaching reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and good citizenship. Once that standard is met, the state’s authority ends, although the district court said school officials could ask home-school parents about curricula and standardized tests.
The Supreme Court specifically said Wednesday that the Texas Education Agency could request evidence of standardized test, even though home-school parents are not required to give such tests. The Court also said that any new rules on home schools written by the State Board of Education would be subject to judicial review.
The Supreme Court also lifted, as unnecessary, a permanent injunction barring school districts from charging parents who educate their children at home with criminal violations. The court said that Texas law was never intended to criminalize home schooling and noted that home schools were a historical practicality for many Texas families in the 20th century.
And, finally, in an 8-1 decision, the Court upheld the ruling that the state pay $360,000 in attorney fees for the plaintiffs.
(The above article compiled from various news sources.)
(*)From Susan Frederick, the Taffie mailing list archives, reprinted by permission.
For further information about the Taffie mailing list for Texas homeschoolers, including instructions for joining the lists visit:Texas Advocates For Freedom In Education“