• Education Secretary Worried About Increased Popularity of Homeschooling

    So get this.

    U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. says he’s concerned homeschooled students aren’t:

    “getting the range of options that are good for all kids.”

    He also says he is aware of some homeschooling families:

    “doing it incredibly well.”

    And he even knew of students in college who had:

    “very tremendous academic success.”

    “Obviously, it’s up to families if they want to take a homeschool approach,” King said during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters on Wednesday.

    King did concede research shows homeschooling is growing in popularity.

    The number of homeschooled students in America has doubled since 1999.

    Currently there are about 2.3 million homeschooled students in the United States, or 3.4 percent of the school-age population, which is more than double the percentage (1.7 percent) of homeschooling families in 1999.

    But despite his (half-hearted) plaudits, Secretary King says he worries that:

    “students who are homeschooled are not getting the kind of the rapid instructional experience they would get in school” – unless parents are “very intentional about it.”

    He told reporters the school experience includes building relationships with peers, teachers and mentors – elements which are difficult to achieve in homeschooling unless parents focus on it.

    Will Estrada, Director of Federal Relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association, said on Facebook:

    Friends, this is why HSLDA and other supporters of freedom and constitutionally limited government do not believe that we should have a federal department of education. Government bureaucracies always seek more power at the expense of individual liberty. Education policy should be left to the states and localities.

    The success of homeschooling shows that freedom works. Secretary King would replace that God-given freedom of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children with more government regulation.

    One of the catalysts behind the growth in homeschooling is a sense among many parents public education is not meeting the needs of their children, according to Lindsey M. Burke, the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation, writing in The Daily Signal, Burke said:

    Recent federal efforts to establish national standards and tests through Common Core have heightened concerns among many parents that they no longer have a seat at the table when it comes to what is taught in their child’s public school. And math and English language arts scholars have repeatedly voiced concerns that Common Core fails to prepare students for college.

    She continued:

    “Government education bureaucrats are right to worry about homeschooling — but not for the reasons King set forth. It is more likely they are worried parents — whether empowered to homeschool or to select from the some 59 education choice programs now in place — will choose something other than a government education provider.”

    Kenneth Artz

    Kenneth Artz is a news reporter for The Heartland Institute, covering health care, energy and the environment, education, and budget & tax news. He has over 20 years’ experience in nonprofit organizations, publishing, newspaper reporting, and public policy advocacy, and has worked as a newspaper reporter for several papers in Texas, and as a writer/editor for the National Center for Policy Analysis.

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