Can Texas districts require proof that home-schooled children are learning? – Los Angeles Times

Laura and Michael McIntyre have home-schooled their nine children in this state with few regulations about the educational approach. But after relatives complained that the children never seemed to be studying and one said there was no need to study because they were “going to be raptured,” school authorities stepped in.

The El Paso school district ordered the McIntyres to prove that their children were being properly educated. The couple filed suit, claiming that their “constitutional educational liberty interests” had been violated, said their lawyer, Chad Baruch.

The widely watched case reached the Texas Supreme Court on Monday. The outcome could have a far-reaching effect on the future of home-schooling in a state where 300,000 children participate, more than in any other, according to the Texas Home School Coalition.

At issue is whether Texas school districts have the authority to require that home-schooled children are actually learning.

“Part of the reason you’re seeing this case is that question isn’t settled,” said Rachel Coleman, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Home Education. “Especially if parents home-school for religious reasons.”