Texas Supreme Court's Ruling Could Affect Thousands Of Home-Schooled Students
In 2007, the El Paso Independent School District accused Laura and Michael McIntyre of failing to teach their nine children reading, writing and math.
District officials said an uncle reported the parents weren’t teaching the subjects because they were waiting “to be raptured”- waiting to be transported to heaven when Jesus reappears on earth.
The district asked the McIntyres to sign a widely used affidavit swearing they were teaching subjects deemed most important to the state’s education agency. When they refused, the district requested a copy of the McIntyre’s curriculum.
Dallas attorney Chad Baruch represents the McIntyres, who claim the El Paso ISD was trying to force its state approved curriculum on the family and that violated their Constitutional rights.
“Both in terms of truancy charges and also just the District’s ability to come out and demand information from homeschool families and that’s a critical component of this to my clients who believe the district made improper demands on them for information,” Baruch said.
The McIntyre’s said in court filings that they were using a Christian-based curriculum not taught in public schools.
El Paso School District attorney Anthony Safi said in court the McIntyre’s fought even the smallest requests to make that curriculum available.
“There is some question whether they had a curriculum, but for instances one of the counselors that made a home visit said if they could’ve just named the curriculum they were using,” Safi explained to the court.
Nationwide 24 states require home-schooled children be tested or assessed but Texas doesn’t. And parents who home school here don’t have to register with state authorities, though they must meet what’s described as "basic educational goals."
The nine justices could rule on this case by February of 2016. The decision could affect an estimated 350,000 home schooled children in the state.