addition to the state's more than 1,000 public school districts, Texas
offers a variety of alternative schooling options for parents. These
include charter schools, which are monitored and accredited under the
statewide testing and accountability system; private schools, which may
or may not be accredited through various organizations; and home
schooling, which is not accredited or regulated by any state agency in Texas or
commission. Families may also be interested in online learning programs and high school
equivalency programs. For more information on each of these alternative
schooling options, follow the links below:
1995, the 74th Texas Legislature passed legislation giving the state
the authority to create open-enrollment charter schools. These schools
are subject to fewer state laws than other public schools with the idea
of ensuring fiscal and academic accountability without undue regulation
of instructional methods or pedagogical innovation. Like school
districts, charter schools are monitored and accredited under the
statewide testing and accountability system.
Private Schools (outside source)
does not have oversight of private schools in Texas; however, the
agency works with the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission to
ensure that students can easily transfer from non-public to public
schools and that teacher service at non-public schools is recognized at
public schools for salary purposes. Private schools may be accredited by
a variety of organizations, but many private schools in Texas are not
accredited by any organization.
In 1995, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed the decision in the class action lawsuit Leeper v Arlington Independent. School District
that home schools can legally operate as private schools in Texas.
According to the ruling, home schools must be conducted in a bona fide
manner, using a written curriculum consisting of reading, spelling,
grammar, math, and a course in good citizenship. The Texas Education
Agency has no regulatory authority over home schools, and the state of
Texas does not award diplomas to students who are home schooled.
Texas Virtual Schools Network
Texas Virtual Schools Network (TxVSN),
which launched in 2009, provides Texas students and schools access to
interactive, collaborative, instructor-led online courses taught by
state-certified and appropriately credentialed teachers. The TxVSN is
made up of two components: the TxVSN statewide course catalog, which
provides supplemental online courses to students in grades 8-12; and the
TxVSN online schools program, which offers full-time virtual
instruction through eligible public schools to Texas public school
students in grades 3-12.
High School Equivalency Program (HSEP)
High School Equivalency Program is
designed to provide an alternative for high school students age 16 and
over who are at risk of not graduating from high school and earning a
high school diploma.
Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency
aged 18 and older who has not earned a high school diploma and is not
currently enrolled in an accredited high school is eligible to earn a
Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency. Any exceptions must meet eligibility requirements to test for the high school equivalency.