The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), which processes requests for families pulling their children out of public schools, reported a nearly 300 percent increase in withdrawals for August leading into the 2020-2021 school year, compared to August of 2019.
The August numbers follow a record-setting month in July where their online process saw a 1,500 percent jump from July last year.
The spike, the group reported, stems directly from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) pandemic schooling guidelines sparking a mass exodus from the public school system as parents opt to teach their children at home over enrolling them in a digitized, remote state-run classroom.
In August 2019, THSC processed 1,044 family withdrawals, a fraction of the 4,055 processed this year. The group added that even these numbers are likely underreported, as THSC is not immediately notified of every withdrawal in the state.
The surge in Texas home schooling follows a nationwide trend where the pandemic from the novel Wuhan coronavirus has fundamentally transformed life as we know it, abruptly accelerating the educational transition to online learning and entirely online classrooms to keep students home. According to Gallup, one in ten American families are now homeschooling.
Student absence from brick-and-mortar classrooms however, has given rise to an entire new crisis on its own, where adolescents, particularly those who depend on schools for critical needs such as food and social services, are deprived of important experiences and resources necessary for health development. As schools remain closed in response to the public health crisis, families have taken their children’s’ education into their own hands with many forming “pods” where parents hire an instructor and operate a make-shift classroom to facilitate the experience of traditional schooling.