NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Home Schooling Victory

June 9, 1997

Today, some 1.23 million American children are being taught at home -- including Rebecca A. Sealfon, of Brooklyn, New York, the winner of this year's National Spelling Bee, who is taught by her mother.

  • Home school advocates point out that students who are taught at home achieve high test scores -- averaging in the 86th percentile.
  • Nevertheless, home-schooling parents in New York state face restrictive laws and a daunting list of rules, regulations and paperwork which might discourage even the most determined parent-educator, according to those who are familiar with the system.
  • Even after all the paperwork is filled out, the education superintendent can determine that any student covered under the compulsory education law -- between the ages of 5 and 16 -- is out of compliance with the regulations, any of which can be seized upon and interpreted capriciously, experts say.
  • In many states, parents must be certified by the government as teachers -- a requirement often drawn up by legislatures dominated by teachers' unions which want to use certification laws to discourage home-schooling.

One home-school mom in Georgia was even arrested at her home at midnight last year because of a disagreement between the state's Department of Education, which said she could home school, and country officials who said they would "let the judge decide."

Georgia, Massachusetts, California, Texas and Florida are now considering new restrictions and requirements on home schooling.

The Home School Legal Defense Association recently compared students scores in highly-regulated, moderately regulated and largely unregulated jurisdictions. It found no statistically significant difference.

Source: Mark Brandly (Ludwig von Mises Institute), "Home Schooling Leaps into the Spotlight," Wall Street Journal, Monday, June 9, 1997.


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