The deeply conservative and all-Republican Texas Supreme Court will soon decide if homeschoolers in the state must actually teach their children or can instead delay instruction as they await the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The case involves Michael and Laura McIntyre. The couple removed their nine children from a private school in 2004 to teach them at home. But a relative reported that the McIntyres never saw the children reading books, using computers, doing math, or any other kind of educational courses. Instead the children allegedly played musical instruments and sang.
Court documents also note this about the children and the lack of education being provided by their parents:
“Tracy (McIntyre, Michael’s brother) overheard one of the McIntyre children tell a cousin that they did not need to do schoolwork because they were going to be raptured.”
Just last year, an appeals court ruled against Michael and Laura McIntyre, saying the Christian couple was not exempt from state education regulations.
It should be noted that Texas does not require home-school families to register with state or local educational officials, and they also are not required to teach state-approved curriculums or administer any standardized tests.
Problems first came to light for the McIntyre family in 2006 when the family’s oldest daughter, who was then 17, ran away from home enrolled at a public high school. Administrators at the school placed the girl in ninth grade because they weren’t uncertain she could handle higher-level coursework.
The case could have sweeping consequences for the state’s estimated 300,000 homeschooled students if the Texas Supreme Court rules to overturn the appellate court ruling.
8th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Ann Crawford McClure noted in the court’s ruling:
“No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home.”
Even if they do happen to be waiting for the Rapture.