Frequently Asked Questions
- What state requirements apply to private schools in Texas?
The only requirement placed on private schools in Texas is found in the state?s compulsory attendance law, which says that a child may be exempt from attending public schools if he or she attends a private or parochial school that teaches good citizenship.
- How can I be sure that a private school will meet my child?s educational needs?
One way of gauging the quality of a private school is through the school?s accreditation. It is important to know something about the school itself.
- How can I tell if a school?s accreditation is from a reputable organization?
For many years, the state of Texas accredited private schools as well as public schools. Limited resources, however, forced the Texas Education Agency to stop performing this service for private schools. The Texas Association of Non-Public Schools ?TANS-, wishing to maintain the benefits of state accreditation, worked out an agreement with the State Commissioner of Education to form a private accreditation commission that would recognize appropriate accrediting organizations. This new commission is TEPSAC, which began operating in 1986.
- What is TEPSAC?
TEPSAC is first not of itself an accrediting organization. It is instead a confederation of accrediting associations whose primary purpose is to maintain standards of accreditation among its membership. These standards of accreditation are comparable to TEA standards and preserve the integrity of the member organizations and the schools they accredit. Individual schools may seek accreditation from a TEPSAC association member.
- What criteria does TEPSAC use to determine whether an accrediting organization should be recognized?
An accrediting organization that requires its schools to uphold standards comparable to state standards may apply for recognition. These standards include, but are not limited to, consideration of the school?s goals and objectives; compliance with applicable state and federal statutes; effective administration and governance; the teaching of a balanced curriculum; implementation of personnel practices which ensure hiring qualified instructional leaders with college degrees; student achievement; and indicator-based quality of learning.
- How do the recognized accrediting organizations monitor the quality of accredited schools?
The agreement between TEPSAC and the Commissioner of Education requires every recognized accrediting organization to conduct an on-site visit to each of its accredited schools at least once every five years.
- What is the benefit of enrolling my child in an accredited private school as opposed to a non-accredited private school?
Accredited schools usually have a higher quality curriculum and more qualified teachers. Grades and courses completed at accredited private schools are accepted in public schools if you ever wish to transfer your child. In addition, if your child intends to seek admission to a college or university, a diploma from a non-accredited high school may not be recognized for meeting admission requirements. A valedictorian from an accredited private school receives the monetary stipend given by the state to those attending public schools.
- What accrediting agencies have been approved by TEPSAC and how can I get in touch with them?
The accrediting agencies currently approved by TEPSAC and the Commissioner of Education are listed on this website. You can access the list by going back to the top of this page and clicking on Commissioners.