A Letter From the Texas Home School Coalition

Some Texas homeschoolers are being given false information by some school districts. This is the Texas Home School Coalition’s response from August 15, 1997.

In order to help homeschoolers in Texas understand what the laws and the requirements are to teach one’s children at home, we wanted to send this information to all the home educators in Texas that we can reach.

In spite of the fact that some school officials are telling parents that homeschoolers MUST present their curriculum to the school district and/or register with school officials, this is not the case. The Texas Supreme Court in the Leeper v. Arlington case in 1994 ruled that home schools are private schools. Private schools are NOT regulated by the state of Texas at this time. The court, in that case, did rule the school districts are still required to enforce the compulsory attendance laws and the parents who are teaching their children at home MUST cooperate with the school district in such inquires.

The question, however, is what constitutes “cooperation.” Some school officials are saying that parents must present their curriculum for review, in order that the district may be sure that the family has a curriculum that covers the basic areas of reading, spelling, grammar, math, and a course in good citizenship as required in the Leeper case. However, in 1995 Dr. Mike Moses issued a letter to all the school districts in the state of Texas to clarify this issue. The position of the Texas Education Agency, the commissioner of education, and their legal counsel are the following: If the school district contacts a family who maintains that they are teaching their children at home, and the family provides a written letter of assurance that they have a curriculum that covers the basic areas of reading, spelling, grammar, math, and course in good citizenship and they are pursuing it in a bona fide manner (not a sham), this constitutes cooperation with the school.

If parents are withdrawing their children from public school to teach them at home for the first time, they should let school officials know this. Usually, the best approach is a phone call to the principal’s office. Some districts will try to tell parents that they must come into the administrative offices or to the principal’s office to “sign forms” or visit with officials. The best response regardless of the request from these officials is to say, “If you will submit to me in writing what you want, I’ll be glad to respond.” When this request is given in writing, the parent should send a simple letter of assurance that says something such as:

“This letter is to assure you that we have a curriculum that covers the basic areas of reading, spelling, grammar, math, and a course in good citizenship. We are pursuing it in a bona fide manner. If you have any further questions please submit them to us in writing.”

Home schools are not required to annually register with school officials, present curriculum, or get permission from district officials in order to teach their children at home.

Should you be aware of these kinds of problems do not hesitate to contact us here at THSC.

Tim Lambert
Texas Home School Coalition