Families withdrawing from public schools increase across the state

Families withdrawing from public schools increase across the state

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Homeschool Coalition (THSC) reports a 400-percent increase over last August in public school withdrawals using their website.

The Texas Education Agency released their back to school plan mid-July of this year, and Tim Lambert, the president of THSC, said, “That’s when we really began to see those numbers really surge.”

According to THSC, last August they dealt with more than 1,000 families withdrawing from public schools through their website. This August, it’s more than 4,000 families.

Bridgeway Academy is a homeschooling institution that offers different options to families transitioning into learning at home. They say they’ve had to pause enrollment because of so many interested families. Jessica Parnell, the CEO of Bridgeway Academy, said overall they have grown 200 percent over the last year, and in Texas specifically, she said, “We’ve seen a 75-percent growth over last year within East Texas and Texas overall is actually over 112-percent growth.”

According to Parnell, 72 percent of their newly enrolled homeschooling families with Bridgeway Academy have said if things go well for them this year, they’ll continue to homeschool their students.

Scarlett and Sydnee Ware are part of that growing number of homeschoolers in East Texas this year. After their third-grade year ended at home, the Ware family decided to start their fourth-grade year from home, too.

“I just really anticipated COVID-19 hitting the schools and the schools stopping, and starting and stopping and starting," Natalee Ware, the twins' mother, said. "And for us, we just wanted consistency in the girls' lives.”

Ware explained that this decision wasn’t forced onto her twin girls; rather they were a part of the decision making.

She said it was daunting at first to find the right curriculum, to keep them social, and to build a schedule, but she said their first few weeks are everything she’s hoped they’d be. She added, “I think it’s going good! They seem happy. We’re on a schedule, and it’s getting done.”

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