Texas is prosecuting homeschoolers — two parents — but the outcome of the case will determine the fate of everyone.
This seems to be a perfect storm. Allegations against the parents include a form of last-days madness which meant they didn’t think their children needed to learn anything because of “the rapture.” The parents on the other hand were involved in a dispute with a business partner who made the accusations against them.
According to the Associated Press:
The El Paso school district eventually asked the McIntyres to provide proof that their children were being properly educated and even filed truancy charges that were later dropped. The family sued and had an appeals court rule against them, but now the case goes Monday to the all-Republican state Supreme Court.
In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”
Most of her children are now grown, but Laura McIntyre is still home-schooling her youngest.
“We are definitely looking for a little clarification,” Laura McIntyre said briefly by phone. She, her husband and other relatives subsequently didn’t return messages seeking further comment.
McIntyre said in court filings that she used a Christian curriculum to home school that was the same taught in the private El Paso religious schools her children attended before she began home schooling them in 2004.
The McIntyres only have one child left that they are homeschooling, but the case will impact other homeschooling families all over Texas.
It is possible for parents to botch the education of their children. But it isn’t likely. The public schools have a far worse record for botching education. Ben Carson is right; homeschooling is often best. But giving education officials license to harass homeschoolers will end that.
I know a mother whose son was being bullied in school. She finally pulled him out and homeschooled him. I don’t know how much he learned but it was at least as much as he was learning at that school. Then he went to a local community college and did great.
If some state education official had forced this woman to prove she could educate her son it would have been quite intimidating. But she knew her son and knew he had to escape that environment. She had his best interests at heart.
Of how many school officials can we say as much? Even if the McIntyres are guilty of educational neglect that doesn’t mean that a general policy of government intervention in homeschooling families will make us better off.