Is the promised rapture an excuse for not providing any education to home-school kids?
Laura and Michael McIntyre pulled their five children out of a private school in 2004 and began home-schooling them in an office at their El Paso motorcycle dealership. Now they are at the center of a lawsuit with the El Paso Independent School District after allegations their kids weren't getting an education because the family expected to be raptured.
Michael McIntyre's twin brother reportedly turned them in to the El Paso Independent School District, but grandparents were also involved:
In January 2006, the District received an anonymous complaint that the McIntyre children were not being educated. In November, Gene and Shirene met with Mark Mendoza, the District’s designated attendance officer, and expressed concerns that their grandchildren were not attending school or otherwise receiving a proper education. After the meeting, Mendoza confirmed that the oldest of the McIntyre children, Tori, had run away from home at age seventeen so she could “attend school.” He discovered that when Tori enrolled at Coronado High School, she was unable to provide any information regarding the level of her education or the curriculum provided as part of her home school education. The McIntyres refused to provide any information to the District on Tori’s behalf. As a result, Tori was placed as a second semester freshman, a year and a half behind her age group.
The El Paso school district repeatedly asked for evidence the children were getting an education and that's when the legal case began.
In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a "startling assertion of sweeping governmental power."
In home-school friendly Texas, the problem of home-schooling standards is big one:
The Texas Home School Coalition estimates 300,000 students are home schooled in the state - more than one-sixth of the national total.
No one knows for sure since Texas is one of 11 states that don't require home-school families to register. And 14 states have no subject requirements for what's taught, according to Coleman's Coalition for Responsible Home Education, which advocates for greater home-schooling accountability.
After eight years of lawsuits and appeals, the case is headed to the Texas Supreme Court this week:
Nine Republican justices heard arguments Monday on whether home-school students are required to learn anything. The McIntyre family says the El Paso school district’s attempt to verify learning violates its 14th Amendment rights.
Texas mandates that home-school children be taught basics like spelling and math. But, like many states, it doesn’t require testing or showing student progress.
Regardless of who wins the final appeal in Texas, it's clear the McIntyre kids are the unfortunate losers in the whole affair.
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