POSTED: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 10:48pm
UPDATED: Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 9:43am
El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — Between bullies and standardized tests, thousands of Texas parents are frustrated with the public school system in the state and now they're doing something about it. They're pulling their kids out of school, opting for an alternative education.
Kim Wright decided to pull her two youngest sons out of their El Paso schools to homeschool. She's not the only one in Texas making this choice.
NewsChannel 9 requested data from the Texas Education Agency to find out how many students have left school districts across Texas to homeschool or to attend private schools.
The number has soared by 39 percent over the past decade to more than 31,000 students in 2012. For homeschooling, that number jumped to 56 percent.
For the Wrights, they had many reasons to stay home.
"Some of them were kind of mean, like they bullied me, and that kind of hurt my feelings," said Bernie Wright.
But the biggest frustration came down to testing.
"Like when I failed, I felt like I wasn't smart, not smart like the other kids who got 100's," Bernie said.
His mother Kim saw the frustration first hand, as a teacher herself at an El Paso elementary school.
"When I would teach, we would get up move around and we would do different activities," said Kim. "After awhile it became benchmark testing every few weeks and so a lot of our preparation instead of learning, was preparation for the test," she added.
The Texas legislature's vote this year could help families like the Wrights. They've reduced the number of standardized tests from 15 to 5.
For now, the Wrights will continue learning their way, at home.
Notably, El Paso's enrollment numbers actually buck the state-wide trend despite the cheating scandal here, with 72 percent fewer students getting pulled out.
Why has yet to be explained.