Saturday, June 8, 2013

Homeschooled children: A promising remnant

A recently published article at the American Thinker website, “Homeschooling enrollment explodes” by Rick Moran, shows that the surge of homeschooling derives from a widespread dissatisfaction of public education. Moran, in turn, references a column from Education News by Julian Lawrence. In it, she reports that, “Since 1999, the number of children who are being homeschooled has increased by 75%.” In fact, homeschooling nationwide is growing seven times faster than traditional education. I would go so far as to say that homeschooling, generally speaking, is just as impressive, if not more so, than your average Catholic parochial school. According to Education News, the results are indeed impressive:

“Data shows that those who are independently educated typically score between 65th and 89th percentile on such exams, while those attending traditional schools average on the 50th percentile. Furthermore, the achievement gaps, long plaguing school systems around the country, aren’t present in homeschooling environment. There’s no difference in achievement between sexes, income levels or race/ethnicity.”

Results speak for themselves. Perhaps this is why homeschooled children are on the radar screen of several distinguished universities. Lawrence said,

“Homeschoolers are actively recruited by schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University and Duke.” What is more, homeschooling is far more cost-effective than public education. “[T]he average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.”

Yet, according to Rick Moran’s article at the American Thinker (and I would have to agree with him on this), a secular State-run education system doesn’t like competition. Academic results are immaterial to such massive bureaucracies. Teachers unions, for instance, will continue to seek to eliminate their rivals. Moran reminds us that “they are already trying to make it more difficult.” This shouldn’t surprise us because Bob Chanin, a top lawyer for the National Education Association, recently told us why public schools are less about education and more about power. At a NEA’s annual meeting in July, 2009, he said:

“Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.”

Chanin got it right. The monopoly the State has over education is not due to its concern for children or its vision for great public schools. It’s about power. This is why public education has been proven to be seriously deficient. But parents who want the best for their children, the option to homeschool is not motivated by the lust for power. It’s about love. Or to say it another way, homeschooling parents, by and large, have one principal aim: to empower their children by giving them the best education and formation. And, it would seem, they are succeeding. Can it be any wonder why homeschooling has experienced 75 percent growth in recent years?

Although homeschooled children represent about 4 percent of all school-aged children nationwide, as Rick Moran reported, it is bound to make even greater gains in the future. Today, they are a remnant. But let there be no doubt, if the American Republic is to be saved, this tiny and often overlooked demographic is destined to play an important role in saving it. Indeed, what State-run education tore down, the homeschooling community will assume a leading role in building it back up!