According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the popularity of home schooling is increasing in Texas and across the country. In the fall of 2020, 12.3% of the Lone Star State’s grade school children were homeschooled, compared to 4.5% before the pandemic.
The Census report noted that in the Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington metro areas (including Irving) saw its home schooling rate rise from 5.8% to 8.2% during the spring to fall of 2020 period.
The trend is neither new, nor unique to Texas. Reporting from Education Daily Wire found that the rate of public school withdrawal for home schooling has increased by 228% since 1997. In the 2018-2019 academic year alone, nearly 23,000 students exited the Texas public school system for home schooling, with tens of thousands more expected to do the same in the upcoming years, according to an October 2020 The Texan article.
Many families across the U.S. are also withdrawing students from the public school system. The U.S. Census Bureau report found that by the fall of 2020, more than 10% of households with school-aged children were home schooling.
In the Dallas, Forth Worth and Arlington metro districts, including Irving, home school rates have seen substantial increases from 1997 to 2019. The Texas Education Agency reported an average annual increase of 3.5% in the rate of students leaving the Irving district.
Irving’s state representative, Terry Meza (D-Irving), did not respond to requests for comment about the 104% increase of high school students leaving public schools for home schooling during that 20-year timeframe in her district. Meza is also a member of the House Public Education Committee.