Home school. It’s like regular school, only you can go to class in your underwear.
There’s another important difference: home school kids don’t have to contend with any educational standards whatsoever. At least in the state of Texas, anyway. That’s right—in Texas, a state so renowned for its apparent lawlessness that Norwegians have taken to using it as an adjective, parents of home-schooled children do not need to meet any state or federal educational standards when it comes to teaching their children. The children themselves are not required to take part in any standardized test, or even provide proof that they are, indeed, getting educated (or “learned,” as some of them might put it).
Now, the Texas Supreme Court is deciding whether the state’s swelling ranks of home schoolers, many of whom are removed from public schools for religious reasons, have to learn anything at all. Laura McIntyre, a mother from El Paso, argues that the state’s inquiry into her children’s apparent lack of education is a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.” Welcome to Texas, where any law can be challenged on libertarian grounds so long as you’re white and Christian enough.
The trouble began when McIntyre’s brother-in-law noticed his nieces and nephews didn’t seem to be learning anything. He reportedly heard one of them say learning wasn’t necessary since “they were going to be raptured.” A little while later, McIntyre’s eldest daughter, then 17, ran away from home. She stated that she wanted to go back to school. Officials placed her in the ninth grade, since they were unsure of the level of work she could handle.
Will Texas really allow children to go uneducated, purely on the grounds of protecting religious “freedom?” Unfortunately, the answer might be ‘yes.’
“Part of the problem is, on the political right they’ll remove oversight to score points with their base and there isn’t a strong enough opposition to that on the other side,” said Rachel Coleman, executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. “This happens especially in states where their legislatures are more conservative.”
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