More and more Texas families are leaving the government-run public school system and seeking new educational opportunities for their children, according to a new report.
On Wednesday, the Texas Home School Coalition announced the release of a new online map detailing the mass public school exodus across the state; since 1997, the number of Texans withdrawing from public school to instead homeschool skyrocketed 228 percent.
Over the same time period, enrollment in public schools only increased by 41 percent.
Since the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the exodus has only surged; THSC, a nonprofit that promotes education freedom and parental rights in the state, said they’ve helped 400 percent more families process their withdrawals from public school over the past several months. But even before the coronavirus, 22,000-25,000 Texas students were already leaving government-run schools each year to homeschool.
The total number of students departing public schools may even be higher than that because the Texas Education Agency only reports withdrawals for students in grades 7-12.
“For this reason, total homeschool growth in Texas is estimated to be significantly higher than the already impressive numbers reported by the TEA,” said THSC.
The public school exodus seems to be sweeping the nation, as well. According to a recent Gallup survey, the number of U.S. families choosing to homeschool has doubled since last year, from 5 percent to 10 percent.
“This could mean more than 670,000 homeschool students in Texas, which would translate into more than $7 billion in savings to the state per year,” THSC continued.
And that doesn’t even include the latest public school withdrawal numbers for this year, which are not yet available, but THSC said that “all available indicators point toward record-shattering growth.”
“Data from the TEA indicates that homeschooling in Texas has been growing at an incredibly fast pace over the last 20 years, and that was true before COVID-19,” said THSC President Tim Lambert. “By all appearances, homeschool growth is outpacing all other forms of education by incredible margins and has just become a mainstream educational option.”
Indeed, a recent survey from Real Clear Opinions found that 40 percent of registered voters were more likely to enroll their children in homeschool or virtual school after the coronavirus lockdowns end.
“Homeschooling has become an increasingly popular option for families looking for a safe, flexible, and well-established form of education for their children,” said Stephen Howsley, a public policy analyst for THSC. “We will be here to support the tens of thousands of new families who are beginning homeschooling this year.”