Friday, November 02, 2007

The NEA's Bassackward View of Homeschooling

The NEA supposedly believes that "every child in America, regardless of family income or place of residence, deserves a quality education." They pursue their mission by "improving the quality of teaching, increasing student achievement and making schools safer, better places to learn". I see nothing inherently wrong about their vision of "a great public school for every student." I find it noble that they desire to "to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world." In fact, since my tax dollars support public education, I would like nothing better for teachers to succeed in this mission. However, I firmly believe that parents ought to be in the driver's seat in making a choice about education, whether it be in public, private, or home schools.

Closer scrutiny of their core values causes me to pause.
We believe public education is the gateway to opportunity. All students have the human and civil right to a quality public education that develops their potential, independence, and character.
Education is the gateway to opportunity, period, end of story. A quality education ought to develop the character of each student. Every achievement flows out of character.
We believe public education is vital to building respect for the worth, dignity, and equality of every individual in our diverse society.
The result of an education that respects children as born persons, teaches them in their natural environment, trains good habits, and presents of living ideas will build respect for the worth, dignity, and equality of every individual.
We believe public education is the cornerstone of our republic. Public education provides individuals with the skills to be involved, informed, and engaged in our representative democracy.
Pardon me while I scream! Public schools were a rarity in most colonies at the foundation of our country. Most of the founders were educated at home by parents or tutors or attended private schools. Thus, those who built our representative democracy were involved, informed, and engaged without a public education. Research shows that adults who were home educated participate in local community service and vote and attend public meetings more frequently than does the general population.

There is more to the NEA's core values, but I need to get to the nut of this post. You can read it for yourself if you can stand it.

Here is the anti-homeschooling resolution (page 36) that the NEA renewed in 2006 after years and years of research documenting the success of homeschoolers. While I can understand the hesitancy of the NEA back in 1988, how many spelling bees do homeschoolers have to win for them to get the point?
B-75. Home Schooling The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used. (1988, 2006)
Sigh . . .

According to research, "the largest data set on the academic success of the home educated reveals positive things. 16,311 students from across the country were tested with the nationally normed Iowa Test of Basic Skills. The nationwide average for the homeschooled on the Basic Battery (i.e., reading, language, and math) was the 77th percentile. They were at the 79th percentile in reading, the 73rd in language, and the 73rd in math. (The national average is the 50th percentile.)" In a Canadian study on homeschooling, "students whose parents were certified teachers did no better than the other students." And, all of you parents of special need children, chin up:
Dr. Steven Duvall compared the academic engaged time (AET) and basic skill development of learning disabled students who were home educated to those in public school special education programs. Higher rates of AET and greater academic gains were made by the home educated. "... parents, even without special education training, provided powerful instructional environments at home..." (NHERI)
How about these factoids from the NHERI site and for more information, check out Home Educated and Now Adults:
  • The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.
  • Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
  • Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
  • Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
  • Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
  • Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.
Are you steamed?

Some homeschoolers in Florida started a petition to present to the NEA in protest of their ridiculous resolution. They include a link to statistics supporting their petition. One word of caution: always beware of any petition you sign because you do not want to be caught looking foolish like the young ladies at Padua Academy who signed petitions to end women's suffrage.


poohder said...

Tammy, I signed the petition!!

Bonnie said...

When schools are honestly ready to teach our children in a way that each individual can learn, then I'll send G back. Ha, ha, ha! Or should I say grooooowl...

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

I couldn't read it all- because it made my blood boil. Seeing that poohder mentioned a petition will go back and see what that's about. I'd like to see the ps every attempt at doing what I do! And that's not prideful..just a matter of numbers!

walking said...

Yippie, it's up to 5,700 signatures . . .

I know Bonnie . . . they would have to create a Charlotte Mason charter school with staff trained in Relationship Development Intervention and the association method (and NOT behaviorism). Let's face it . . . I'll be pushing daisies before a school like that is created. . .

JamBerry said...

Hey, when you ever find a CM/RDI/AM school, let me know!! That'd be worth moving for! ;o)

walking said...

Somehow, I do not think it is on this side of paradise, Jamberry!