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There was an interesting article on the front page of today’s (1/5/15) New York Times. The title of the article is Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/education/home-schooling-more-pupils-less-regulation.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0) In it, the article talks about how more students are being home schooled, but there has been a reduction in the oversight of this type of education. One paragraph in the article states:
“Eleven states do not require families to register with any school district or state agency that they are teaching their children at home, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, a nonprofit group that is pushing for more accountability in home schooling. Fourteen states do not specify any subjects that families must teach, and only nine states require that parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in order to teach their children. In half the states, children who are taught at home never have to take a standardized test or be subject to any sort of formal outside assessment.”
Let’s break this down one idiotic sentence at a time, shall we? So first, eleven states allow a child to stay at home with the assumption that they are being educated? As it is, public schools have cut back on music and physical education to stress reading and math that their students will be tested on, yet fourteen states have no mandatory curriculum that kids must be taught if they are going to be taught at home. Lastly – and this is the most ridiculous of them all – you as a parent can teach your child from home with nothing more than a high school diploma. Hmmm…most real teachers have Master’s Degrees, or at the very least a Bachelor’s Degree. Is a child supposed to fare better with someone who is only slightly more educated than they are?
I’ll be the first to admit that the United States educational system leaves much to be desired -NPR reported that the most recent results of the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) show American 15 year old students slipping in global rankings in reading ranking 20 out of 65 participating nations, math 30/65 and science 23/65-but at no point did I ever think that home schooling was the answer. As a matter of fact, I supplement my children’s education by sending them to Ann’s Christian Learning Center both for enrichment and to reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.
The article also reports that home-schooled students in 25 states are not required to take any standardized tests nor are they subjected to any sort of formal outside assessment. How can you tell how you are doing relative to your peers? How can you competitively apply for college, or even pass the SAT/ACT required to get into college in the absence of core testing? I admit that not all learning takes place in the classroom, but it is the foundation that is built upon in each grade level that prepares a student to think for themselves and ask questions that broaden their horizons. I can’t see this happening as effectively in the living room of a suburban split level ranch.
Speaking of peers….how is a child supposed to learn how to interact with other children if they don’t spend time with any other than family and neighbors that they’ve chosen? Coursework now focuses on teams and working in them as it mirrors the collaboration that is expected in the workforce. Homeschooled kids are missing out on that entire experience. They miss out on the perspectives, attitudes, and holidays of others of different races, religions, and beliefs.
There may be reasons for homeschooling, but the greater good will be served to this country and its economy if every child is held to the same standards and those standards are toughened so that this country finds itself in the top ten globally in reading, math, and science.
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