NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More are Learning at Home

November 14, 2003

In New York City, some 1,800 children are being schooled at home. At least 850,000 children nationwide are schooled at home, up from 360,000 a decade ago, according the Education Department.

Many come to home schooling because of frustration with the shortcomings of public education and the cost of private schools. The new nationwide standards of uniform curriculum and more testing, which may penalize children with special needs, are also driving parents to home schooling.

A 1999 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, considered the only authoritative snapshot of home schooling finds:

  • Nationwide, a majority of home-schooled children come from white, two-parent, one-income families with three or more children.
  • The top three motivations for home schooling were the prospect of a better education (49 percent), religious beliefs (38 percent) and a poor learning environment in the schools (26 percent).

Home schooling is legal in all 50 states, although there are widely different regulations.

New Jersey requires virtually no oversight while New York requires that parents notify their school district, file an instructional plan and quarterly reports and submit to annual assessments, alternating between standardized tests and portfolios.

Source: Jane Gross, "Unhappy in Class, More Are Learning at Home," New York Times, November 10, 2003.


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