The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) has released a new report revealing that, over the past two decades, withdrawals from public schools in the state to homeschooling have jumped 228 percent.
By comparison, over the same 20-year period, between 1997-2019, THSC states public school enrollment has increased 41 percent.
According to the coalition’s new online research tool, which provides geographic and grade-level data pertaining to Texas students who withdraw from public schools in order to home school, the homeschool withdrawals grew at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent, while public school enrollment grew at an average rate of 1.6 percent.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, THSC reports 22,000-25,000 Texas students were already withdrawing from Texas public schools annually to begin homeschooling.
“Data from the TEA [Texas Education Agency] 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,” Tim Lambert, president of THSC, said in a statement. “By all appearances, homeschool growth is outpacing all other forms of education by incredible margins and has just become a mainstream educational option.”
According to THSC, TEA’s homeschool withdrawal data includes only those homeschooled students in grades 7-12 who withdrew from public schools in order to home school.
“For this reason, total homeschool growth in Texas is estimated to be significantly higher than the already impressive numbers reported by the TEA,” the coalition notes.
A poll released in April by school choice advocate EdChoice found 52 percent of parents had a more favorable view of homeschooling, with 28 percent labeling their opinion as “much more favorable” and 24 percent stating their view was “somewhat more favorable.”
In August, Gallup reported the number of homeschooling families in the entire United States had doubled from five percent in 2019 to ten percent in 2020.
Gallup stated it defined homeschooling in its survey as “not enrolled in a formal school, but taught at home” so as to distinguish homeschooling from remote learning programs provided by schools.
According to the poll, public school attendance has dropped seven points, from 83 to 76 percent, since last year. Private school attendance has dropped from seven to six percent since last year, as parochial school attendance declined from four to two percent. Charter school attendance, however, saw an uptick from two to five percent.