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Homeschoolers Lack Regulation—Quick, Call the State!

1:19 PM, Jul 22, 2011 • By JOY PULLMAN
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Yes, because “imposing standards” has worked so well in American education. As I recall, federal standards are the reason Montana and Idaho are ignoring No Child Left Behind this year and why Education Secretary Arne Duncan has unilaterally decided to relegislate NCLB “relief” in exchange for unspecified state education policy changes. We definitely need more bureaucratic oversight over ideologues like Andrew Schlafly. He has absolutely no leftist counterparts reigning over publicly-funded classrooms in New Jersey and around the country.

The Star-Ledger is correct in one thing: Homeschoolers have not been largely studied and analyzed like public school students. The paper notes in horror, “No reliable data exist on whether home schoolers do better as a whole, because their parents don’t have to notify the state or district of their choice to home-educate. They aren’t required to show a curriculum or textbooks. They don’t even have to be high school graduates. And their kids don’t have to take state tests or earn diplomas.”

The data we do have, while admittedly not randomized or uniform like that on public-schooled kids, demonstrates that complete amateurs can educate kids to scoring, on average, around the 80th percentile on standardized tests. Research has also shown no correlation between increased homeschooling regulations and higher homeschooler test scores. Perhaps rather than attacking how ably these Americans employ their freedom, we should protect and extend it to others.

Joy Pullmann is an education research fellow and managing editor of School Reform News at The Heartland Institute.

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