Monday, March 26, 2012

Why would homeschoolers need tight regulations?

Many states loose on homeschooling regulations is an OK article about homeschooling.  It covers the basics of homeschooling.  It discusses the laws in Ohio where parents just have to notify that they will be homeschooling their children. 

But the article has implied call to "fix" homeschooling in Ohio.  I have a problem with the comparison of public schools to homeschools.  The article starts with:

With ever-tougher academic standards coming from both state and federal legislatures, schools are under unprecedented, increasing pressure to perform well on a variety of measures, including mandatory testing and more rigorous teacher evaluations.

The implied assumption through the article is that tougher regulations are somehow good.  That more and more laws have helped the government schools. 

But the opposite is true.  Over the last thirty years the quality of public education has declined.  Over the same time period there has been an explosion in regulations.  The government keeps demanding tougher standards; but more and more students are graduating illiterate.  While corelation does not imply causation, I think it is easy to see in this instance that instance that having law upon law with conflicting goals and more and more forms makes it hard for teachers to teach.  And I'll acknowledge that there are many other contributing factors.

But more laws, on either public schools or homeschoolers, does not mean education will improve.

Rather than worry about something which is not broken, homeschooling, I wish people would stay focused on a very real problem: broken government schools.  Every year tens of thousands of students in public schools simply drop out.  They stop showing up. 


Tina Hollenbeck said...

There is also research that clearly shows that homeschoolers' academic achievement - averaging 30+ percentile points above the public school average - does not vary among "high regulation" and "low regulation" states. Anyone wanting to regulate homeschooling more cannot honestly say that is based on any kind of real reason; it's just based on a political agenda seeking to control even private education.

Joe said...

As a public school teacher I cant help but agree completely. I am absolutly suffocated by government "reform" efforts. Homeschoolers have the right idea because I am convinced that in the current state of public education 95% of parents can do as good or better educating their children themselves.
Joe @

Henry Cate said...

Tina - I think there clearly is a political agenda. I also think some politicians just don't think about the issue very much and at some level think more laws are always good.

Joe - Thank you for the affirmation. Good luck.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Let them stop showing up! Let it be ok for these kids not to go. Who cares? Let their parents parent them.

Honestly, if it were voluntary, most people would still send their children and the few who wouldn't? We can stop fighting them and each other and regulating everybody to death. Peace. :)

Henry Cate said...

Amen! I am for letting people live their lives. We have way too many laws and regulations.

Jenny said...

I think the biggest problem is the standardized testing. Teachers teach to the test (or even cheat), and students don't really learn anything. I'm not saying that standardized tests should be eliminated completely for public schools, but limiting it to a few key grades would help.

Henry Cate said...

Jenny - I'm not sure what the answer is. At some level I think having yearly tests to assess is a good thing. It is important to know how children are doing and how the schools are doing.

Unfortunately even now with all the emphasis on passing the test we are still gratuating huge numbers of students from high school who are functionally illiterate.