Several months ago, House Bill 548 was filed in the 86th Texas legislature. Worded in a way that could have negatively impacted homeschool families, the bill would require school districts to report the number of truant students in their district. HB 548 initially listed multiple criteria that a student would have to meet in order to be included in the district’s report.
The school district would have to report the number of students required to enroll in the public school (under section 25.085 of the Texas Education Code): those who fail to enroll, all students required to attend public school, those who fail to do so for 10 days or more within a six-month period, and all students for whom the district has issued a truancy prevention measure.
THSC quickly realized that to record the number of students who failed to enroll in public school, a school district would have to make an entirely new list of all private school and homeschool students in the district and compare that data to the students it knows to be truant.
Organizations such as THSC have fought for decades to keep the government out of homeschooling. This bill as it was written would have presented a new risk to Texas homeschool families.
THSC’s legislative team in Austin met with the office of HB 548’s author, State Rep. Terry Canales and addressed our concerns with an amendment.
The amendment made two major changes to HB 548:
- It removed the broadly-worded requirement that school districts report the number of students who are required to enroll and fail to do so.
- It clarified that students who are exempt from compulsory attendance (all private school and homeschool students) are not included in the report.
THSC has been and will continue to be vigilant this legislative session in opposing any legislation that would negatively impact the right of families to homeschool their children.
Homeschool families in Texas have been active in the Texas legislature for decades and have established a presence that lawmakers take very seriously. Thank you for being involved and for supporting THSC’s efforts in Keeping Texas Families Free!