Homeschooling in Texas increased 228% in 20 years, pandemic could boost that number

Data shows Northside, North East ISDs have experienced some of the highest withdrawal rates in Texas

In this March 24, 2020, photo provided by Christina Rothermel-Branham, her son James, does school work at their Tahlequah, Okla. home. Rothermel-Branham, a psychology and counseling professor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, said she is going to attempt virtual learning through her local school district for her son. But she plans to switch to a homeschooling curriculum of her choosing if it isn't going well after about a month, noting that the virtual learning she oversaw in the spring was "very monotonous." "If there is a lot of stress between the two of us it is probably going to get him pulled out," she said. (Christina Rothermel-Branham via AP) (Christina Rothermel-Branham, Christina Rothermel-Branham)

SAN ANTONIO – New data from the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) shows a breakdown of all homeschool withdrawals from Texas public schools since 1997 and, based on the numbers, Northside and North East Independent School Districts in San Antonio had some of the highest withdrawal rates in Texas.

“Between 1997-2019, withdrawals from public schools to homeschool in Texas increased 228% compared to a 41% increase in public school enrollment over the same period,” the THSC report found.

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The map of Texas school districts shows that between 1997 and 2018, both school districts had the third and fifth highest withdrawal rates.

Top five districts with the number of withdrawn students from 1997 to 2018:

  • Houston ISD - 9,776 students
  • Cypress-Fairbanks ISD - 8,040 students
  • Northside ISD - 7,513 students
  • Conroe ISD - 6,204 students
  • North East ISD - 4,907 students

It’s worth noting, NEISD and NISD frequently rank among the top school districts in the Bexar County area.

The most recent survey from Children at Risk shows many schools in those districts rank among the best in San Antonio.

According to the data, 22,927 students between grades 7 and 12 withdrew from public school in 2018-2019. The number of students withdrawing has increased at an average of 6.5% per year since 1998.

The data for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year withdraws are still not known but it’s likely that they will be higher due to the coronavirus pandemic.

THSC reports that an estimated 2.5 million students are homeschooled in the U.S. and that homeschooling is considered the fastest growing form of education in America.

Officials with THSC said the data for homeschool withdrawals was obtained by the Texas Education Agency “which reports on only those homeschool students who withdrew from the public school system to homeschool and only 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.”

Real Clear Opinions recently conducted a research survey in May for 2,122 registered voters which showed 40% of families were more likely to homeschool their children after the coronavirus lockdowns were lifted.

THSC officials said “all available indicators point towards record breaking growth” for homeschooling students after the start of the pandemic.

View the full 2020 Texas Homeschool Report below:

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