State: Texas

Texas State Guide

Choosing a school? You’ve got options.

Wondering about school choice in Texas? There are a variety of options available for Texas families. Knowing these options can help you find a learning environment where your child is not just “getting by” at school, but actually thriving and inspired to learn.

In Texas, families can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online learning, homeschooling, and microschooling and mix-and-match learning.

Looking for special education options? You can learn what special education services are available in Texas at the Ultimate Guide to Special Education.

Texas Traditional Public Schools

Most Texas families choose traditional public schools, which are operated by school districts, free to attend, open to all students, and funded by taxpayers. Currently, 81.3% of K-12 students attend a traditional public school. Did you know that, on average, Texas spends $11,005 per public school student each year?  

In Texas, the state allows each district decides to set its own open enrollment policies. Open enrollment refers to whether parents can send their children to any public school, regardless of where it is located. Parents wanting to transfer their child to a different public school than the one they are assigned should contact their local school district to see if this is an option. As an example, Socorro Independent School District allows families to switch schools within the district for qualifying reasons, including afterschool care needs or having a sibling at another school. Note that if your child attends a school on the Texas Public Education Grant list of poorly-performing schools, you are automatically allowed to request a transfer. 

Open enrollment is a valuable choice, widening parents’ options and ensuring that their zip code isn’t the sole determiner of their education. Texas’ public schools come in all different flavors. Burbank Middle School, for instance, has a strong dual-language program. And Dallas ISD’s offerings range from International Baccalaureate schools to STEM schools. 

Find out more about public schools in your state at the Texas Education Agency. You can also learn more about open enrollment at “Public Schools without Boundaries: A 50-State Ranking.”

Texas Charter Schools

Texas has had charter schools as an option for more than 20 years. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are public, free, and typically have no requirements for entry. What distinguishes charter schools is that they have extra freedom to innovate with learning methods and they are accountable to authorizing bodies for results. 

In Texas, 7% of all K-12 students attend a public charter school. Parents can choose from more than 700 charter schools in Texas. Each school has a charter which explains the school’s purpose and what specific community need it serves. That could be providing a STEM program or offering a rigorous, literacy-based curriculum. If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system (like drawing random names out of a hat!)  is usually used to determine admittance. 

You can read more about these charter offerings at the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Public Charter Schools Association.

Texas Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are free public schools that allow kids to narrow in on a specific learning track, such as an International Baccalaureate program or the performing arts. Magnet schools teach all subjects through the lenses of that specific track. If your child learns well through diving deeply into a particular subject, a magnet school could be a good fit. Currently, 3.8% of all K-12 students attend a public magnet school in Texas.

Texas has many magnet schools. For example, Aldine ISD, Dallas ISD, DeSoto ISD, Galveston ISD, Houston ISD, and Richardson ISD all offer magnet choices. These schools have themes ranging from linguistics to applied technology. One of the state’s newest magnet school programs is the Space and Engineering Technologies Academy (SETA), opening in North East ISD in 2023.

You may also be interested in checking out U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of Texas’ magnet high schools. Please note that the list may not be exhaustive and you should check with your local district about options near you.

Texas Private Schools

Private schools, nonpublic schools that charge tuition, offer a unique learning environment that may include a smaller class size, pass on a specific religious tradition, or provide a different curriculum than is available in your district school. 

There are about 2,000 private schools across the state of Texas. The average tuition for private schools in the state is $10,076 for elementary schools and $11,515 for high schools.

There are no state-run scholarship options in Texas, but private scholarships may be available to help families access private school. Also, the federal government allows parents to save for K-12 private school tuition using tax-preferred 529 savings accounts.

Learn more at ACE Scholarships-Texas, the Texas Catholic School Directory, the Texas Private Schools Association, and Private School Review: Texas.

Texas Online Learning

Don’t overlook online learning! It offers a uniquely flexible learning environment that meets a variety of family needs. Whether your child wants to accelerate his or her learning or needs a quieter environment in which to focus, you may be interested in giving virtual school a try.

Texas offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, including tuition-free online schooling through the Texas Virtual School Network’s Online Schools. For the 2023-2024 school year, full-time online schools to choose from in the Texas Virtual School Network include:  iUniversity Prep, Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville, Texas Connections Academy at Houston, Texas Online Preparatory School, eSchool Prep, Digital Academy of Texas, and iSchool Virtual Academy of Texas. Meanwhile, TEXAS Virtual Schools offers eSchool Prep and Lone Star Academy as statewide options.

For Texas district and charter schools, state funding has historically been based on the number of students physically present in classrooms, which has made it tough for schools to fund virtual learning. Still, some school districts and charter networks have developed online schools, such as such as Harmony Virtual Academy and South Texas ISD Virtual Academy. In 2021, Texas lawmakers passed a funding bill to help districts cover the costs of virtual learning. According to the law, district and charter schools that received a C or higher in the latest accountability ratings can receive funding for students enrolled in full-time remote learning in their boundaries. In some cases, district online options may be available to out-of-district students through open enrollment.

Students can also choose part-time options through the Texas Virtual School Network.

To read more about online learning in Texas, check out the Digital Learning Collaborative’s state profile.

Texas Homeschooling

Texas families can also choose to homeschool, which allows for high levels of customized learning and flexibility. Homeschooling is the process of parents educating students at home and all 50 states allow it. The Texas Homeschool Coalition estimates that more than 750,000 students in the state are homeschooled.

The state requires homeschooling parents to teach certain subjects (including math, spelling, and good citizenship), but does not require homeschoolers to take standardized tests. In some cases, homeschooled students may still be eligible to participate in sports or activities at local public schools.

In Texas, it is not required that you provide notice of your intent to homeschool; however, it is recommended that you formally withdraw from your public school so your student is not marked truant. In the case that you decide to return to public school, contact your local school to find out their placement process.

You may also want to check out the Texas Education Agency’s Homeschooling page, the Texas Homeschool Coalition, the Home School Legal Defense Association – Texas, and the  Arlington Association of Home Educators.

Texas Microschools and Mix-and-Match Learning

Today, many Texas families are mixing and matching school options to come up with new ways to personalize education. Microschools are one of these ways. A microschool refers to students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Microschools can take a variety of shapes and legal forms, from homeschoolers coming together at an enrichment center to a private school committed to small classrooms. What microschools share in common is a distinct commitment to small-group learning, close-knit relationships, and an emphasis on children as individual learners.

Here are real examples of microschools and related resources in Texas:

 

 

 

 

  • Dallas Hybrid Preparatory is a district-run, hybrid learning arrangement that allows students in grades 4-6 to learn at a “small, boutique campus” two days a week, and at home three three days a week.

 

  • Leading Little Arrows is a hybrid school and multi-cultural co-op located in Arlington that embraces and celebrates students’ diverse cultural backgrounds.

 

  • Spyrja Academy offers a blended learning environment for homeschoolers and students enrolled in online schools, with a focus on innovative instruction and community engagement for high school students.

 

  • Safari Small Schools is an innovative microschool that specializes in serving children with behavioral challenges.

 

  • Great Hearts Online, a classical virtual academy, is piloting classical learning microschools in Texas for families enrolled in their online program.

 

  • Veritas Academy is a “collaborative” hybrid school that focuses on family leadership and togetherness in learning.

 

 

  • In an effort to keep learning pods a flexible choice for families, Texas legislators passed a bill in 2021 to protect learning pods from burdensome government regulations.

 

 

Remember, microschooling is more a mentality than a specific legal distinction in most cases. Often, a family participates in a microschool while legally homeschooling, or being enrolled in a private or online school. 

Download the School Choice Snapshot for Texas

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What is School Choice

How can it empower parents and help kids achieve their dreams?

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Choosing the Right School

Tips to help you find a school where your daughter or son will learn, succeed, and be happy.

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Search for Schools Near Me

School Type
Traditional public schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public charter schools do not charge tuition. They are usually managed by nonprofit organizations and do not require students to pass tests to enroll.
Public magnet schools do not charge tuition. They are managed by school districts and focus on themes, such as math, science, technology, and the arts.
Private schools charge tuition, but scholarships are often available via state programs or by individual schools. Private schools are privately managed and can be faith-based or secular.
Grade Levels

Microschooling and Mix-and-Match Learning

How can it empower parents and help kids achieve their dreams?

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7 Step Guide

Tips to help you find a school where your daughter or son will learn, succeed, and be happy.

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Education Resources for
Texas Parents

For additional information about school choices in Texas, visit these resources:

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Landmarks Across America Shine for School Choice Week 2024!

Did you witness the magic of National School Choice Week 2024? Starting January 21st, close to three dozen landmarks and notable buildings from Alaska to New York lit up in dazzling shades of yellow and red and created a vibrant celebration of K-12 education opportunities!

Alaska

JL Tower in Anchorage, Alaska

January 21-27, 2024

Anchorage

Arkansas

Junction Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 26, 2024

Little Rock

Main Street Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 26, 2024

Little Rock

Union Plaza in Little Rock, Arkansas

January 21-27, 2024

Little Rock

California

“M” at Box Springs Mountain in Moreno Valley, California

January 26, 2024

Moreno Valley

Union Station in Los Angeles, California

January 21-27, 2024

Los Angeles

Florida

Las Olas Centre in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

January 21-27, 2024

Fort Lauderdale

Platt Street Bridge in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024

Tampa

Kennedy Blvd Bridge in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024

Tampa

Old City Hall in Tampa, Florida

January 22, 2024

Tampa

Georgia

One Atlantic Center in Atlanta, Georgia

January 22, 2024

Atlanta

Hawaii

Aloha Tower in Honolulu, Hawaii

January 21-27, 2024

Honolulu

Idaho

8th and Main Tower in Boise, Idaho

January 21-27, 2024

Boise

Illinois

The Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois

January 25, 2024

Chicago

Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois

January 21, 2024

Chicago

Indiana

AES Building in Indianapolis, Indiana

January 21, 2024

Indianapolis

Louisiana

Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

The Governors Mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

January 21-27, 2024

Baton Rouge

Minnesota

Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 26, 2024

Minneapolis

Missouri

Waldo Water Tower in Kansas City, Missouri

January 21-27, 2024

Kansas City

Nebraska

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Nebraska

January 23, 2024

Omaha

New York

Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York

January 24, 2024

Buffalo

North Carolina

550 South Tryon Tower in Charlotte, North Carolina

January 27, 2024

Charlotte

Ohio

Dublin Link Bridge in Dublin, Ohio

January 26, 2024

Dublin

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

January 21-27, 2024

Cleveland

Oklahoma

Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma

January 21-27, 2024

Durant

SkyDance Bridge in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

January 25, 2024

Oklahoma City

Oregon

Salem Convention Center in Salem, Oregon

January 20, 2024

Salem

Pennsylvania

The Symphony House Condo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 26, 2024

Philadelphia

Koppers Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 24, 2024

Pittsburgh

Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 24, 2024

Pittsburgh

South Carolina

Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina

January 21-27, 2024

Columbia

Washington

Columbia Town Center in Seattle, Washington

January 23, 2024

Seattle

Wyoming

Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center in Laramie, Wyoming

January 23, 2024 

Laramie

If you know of a building in your community that would light up for National School Choice Week, please reach out to our team! Send us an email.

For journalists covering the Week, more information and resources to enhance your coverage on a variety of platforms can be found on our media resources page. For families interested in discovering more about the different school choice options available in their home state please visit your state page for a detailed roadmap.

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and homeschooling.

Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities.  The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.

From Alaska to New York, America will light up in yellow and red to raise awareness about K-12 education opportunities during National School Choice Week 2022 (January 23-29). 

Close to 3 dozen iconic landmarks or notable buildings will sparkle in red and yellow. Enjoy our gallery and click on each location for details. 

VIEW PHOTO GALLERY: America Shines for School Choice Week

PLEASE NOTE: If you plan to visit in person please check the local public health guidelines for your location and take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe.

Alabama: The Retirement Systems of Alabama Tower, Montgomery will light up from dusk – 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 26.
The Retirement Systems of Alabama Tower, Mobile will light up from dusk – 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 26.
Alaska: The JL Tower, Anchorage will light up in red from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 a.m. all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Arkansas: Union Plaza Building, Little Rock will light up from dusk – dawn all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Colorado: The McNichols Civic Center, Denver will light up in red from dusk – dawn during the week Jan. 23-29.
Florida: The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, West Palm Beach will light up from 6:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Georgia: The King and Queen Building, Atlanta will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Hawaii: The Aloha Tower, Honolulu will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Idaho: The Eighth & Main office tower in Downtown Boise will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23-29.
US Bank Plaza in Downtown Boise will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Indiana: Monument Circle in Indianapolis will light up from dusk to dawn on Jan. 25.
Kentucky: The Big Four Bridge, Louisville will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23-29.
Maryland:  The Maryland Governor’s House, Annapolis, Maryland will light up from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Massachusetts: Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Leonard Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, Boston will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Longfellow Bridge, Boston will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Fore River Bridge, North Weymouth will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Minnesota: Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Minneapolis will light up from sunset – sunrise on Jan 24.
Sperry Tower, Eagan will light up from sunset – sunrise on Jan 24.
Missouri: Kansas City Power and Light Building, Kansas City will light up in yellow on Jan. 29.
Nevada: Henderson Water Street District, Henderson will light up on Jan. 25.
New York: Niagara Falls will light up from 10:00 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 27.
The Helmsley Building, New York City will light up from dusk – 2:00 a.m. on Jan. 23.
North Carolina: Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center in Charlotte will light up from sunset – 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 23.
Reynolds Building/Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23-29.
Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Oklahoma: Skydance Bridge, Oklahoma City will light up from sundown – sunrise on Jan. 27.
Pennsylvania: Koppers Building, Pittsburgh will light up on Jan. 28.
South Carolina: The South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, Columbia will light up on Jan. 24.
Texas: McLennan County Courthouse, Waco  light up all week.
Washington: Columbia Center, Seattle will light up from 12:30 pm – midnight on Jan. 22.
Wyoming: The Marian H.Rochelle Gateway Center, Laramie will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 22.

The landmarks’ sparkling red and yellow lights will play a role in this year’s festivities for National School Choice Week. Families are invited to capture pictures of the landmarks’ lights (or their own at-home red and yellow light displays!) to share on social media with the hashtag #SchoolChoiceWeek.

In addition to the light displays, National School Choice Week 2022 will feature more than 26,000 virtual or socially-distanced celebrations across the country––including social media contests, drive-in movie screenings, and scavenger hunts, and virtual school fairs––to spread awareness of school and scholarship opportunities. 

 

If you know of a building in your community that would light up for National School Choice Week, please reach out to our team! Send us an email.

For journalists covering the Week, more information and resources to enhance your coverage on a variety of platforms can be found on our media resources page. For families interested in discovering more about the different school choice options available in their home state please visit your state page for a detailed roadmap.

Soon, from Alaska to New York, America will light up in yellow and red to raise awareness about K-12 education opportunities. During National School Choice Week, happening January 22–28, 2023, close to 3 dozen iconic landmarks or notable buildings will sparkle in red and yellow. Enjoy our gallery from previous years and check back soon for locations and details. 

VIEW PHOTO GALLERY: America Shines for School Choice Week

<!– PLEASE NOTE: If you plan to visit in person please check the local public health guidelines for your location and take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe.

Alabama: The Retirement Systems of Alabama Tower, Montgomery will light up from dusk – 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 26.
The Retirement Systems of Alabama Tower, Mobile will light up from dusk – 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 26.
Alaska: The JL Tower, Anchorage will light up in red from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 a.m. all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Arkansas: Union Plaza Building, Little Rock will light up from dusk – dawn all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Colorado: The McNichols Civic Center, Denver will light up in red from dusk – dawn during the week Jan. 23-29.
Florida: The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, West Palm Beach will light up from 6:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Georgia: The King and Queen Building, Atlanta will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Hawaii: The Aloha Tower, Honolulu will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Idaho: The Eighth & Main office tower in Downtown Boise will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23-29.
US Bank Plaza in Downtown Boise will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23- 29.
Indiana: Monument Circle in Indianapolis will light up from dusk to dawn on Jan. 25.
Kentucky: The Big Four Bridge, Louisville will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23-29.
Maryland:  The Maryland Governor’s House, Annapolis, Maryland will light up from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Massachusetts: Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Leonard Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, Boston will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Longfellow Bridge, Boston will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Fore River Bridge, North Weymouth will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Minnesota: Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Minneapolis will light up from sunset – sunrise on Jan 24.
Sperry Tower, Eagan will light up from sunset – sunrise on Jan 24.
Missouri: Kansas City Power and Light Building, Kansas City will light up in yellow on Jan. 29.
Nevada: Henderson Water Street District, Henderson will light up on Jan. 25.
New York: Niagara Falls will light up from 10:00 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 27.
The Helmsley Building, New York City will light up from dusk – 2:00 a.m. on Jan. 23.
North Carolina: Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center in Charlotte will light up from sunset – 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 23.
Reynolds Building/Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem will light up from sunset – sunrise all week from Jan. 23-29.
Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 23.
Oklahoma: Skydance Bridge, Oklahoma City will light up from sundown – sunrise on Jan. 27.
Pennsylvania: Koppers Building, Pittsburgh will light up on Jan. 28.
South Carolina: The South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, Columbia will light up on Jan. 24.
Texas: McLennan County Courthouse, Waco  light up all week.
Washington: Columbia Center, Seattle will light up from 12:30 pm – midnight on Jan. 22.
Wyoming: The Marian H.Rochelle Gateway Center, Laramie will light up from dusk – dawn on Jan. 22.

The landmarks’ sparkling red and yellow lights will play a role in this year’s festivities for National School Choice Week. Families are invited to capture pictures of the landmarks’ lights (or their own at-home red and yellow light displays!) to share on social media with the hashtag #SchoolChoiceWeek.

In addition to the light displays, National School Choice Week 2023 will feature more than 26,000 virtual or socially-distanced celebrations across the country––including social media contests, drive-in movie screenings, and scavenger hunts, and virtual school fairs––to spread awareness of school and scholarship opportunities. 

 

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If you know of a building in your community that would light up for National School Choice Week, please reach out to our team! Send us an email.

For journalists covering the Week, more information and resources to enhance your coverage on a variety of platforms can be found on our media resources page. For families interested in discovering more about the different school choice options available in their home state please visit your state page for a detailed roadmap.

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and homeschooling.

Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities.  The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.

Governor Greg Abbot issued a proclamation recognizing January 23-29, 2022 as Texas School Choice Week.

 


There are a variety of school choice options available for many of the 7.1 million children living in Texas. Families in Texas can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.

You can discover more information about the school choice options available for your family by reading our Texas School Choice Roadmap and by visiting the Texas state page
As a nonprofit, charitable effort, School Choice Week works throughout the year to develop and provide free, practical, and unbiased school search resources for Texas families.

During our annual awareness celebrations each January, schools and homeschool groups partner with community organizations to plan school fairs, parent information sessions, open houses and other awareness events to spotlight the diversity of education options available in the state. In January 2022, we will partner with 2,214 schools and organizations in Texas to raise awareness of K-12 education options.

Texas