This week, The New York Times published a story about a trend toward deregulation among states with home-school laws. This, the newspaper reports, is happening as the home-schooling population has grown from 1.5 million in the 2007-08 school year to nearly 1.8 million in 2011-12.
Utah, Iowa, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania have recently lifted requirements for home-schooling families, reports The Times. Once among the states with the strictest laws, Pennsylvania eliminated superintendent review of home schoolers this fall, marking a departure from other education sectors, writes Times reporter Motoko Rich:
Unlike so much of education in this country, teaching at home is broadly unregulated. Along with steady growth in home schooling has come a spirited debate and lobbying war over how much oversight such education requires.
And that debate has been playing out on social media this week as people weighed in on whether the lack of regulation was harmful to home-schooled students. Because of the strong reaction to the article, I’ve decided to devote this week’s entire school choice roundup to this issue.
Nearly as many kids homeschooled as in charter schools, but little research on them. http://t.co/WhPcMmRc8T
— Rob Reich (@robreich) January 5, 2015
— First Focus (@First_Focus) January 7, 2015
Home schooling is now attracting parents who want to escape the testing and curriculums that come with Common Core http://t.co/1HE7wV72gY
— Karen Yi (@karen_yi) January 5, 2015
Children have a right to education. Deregulating home schooling makes for vulnerable kids. http://t.co/AWaa1j0wum
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) January 5, 2015
Unregulated homeschooling is definitely one of the strangest (& least defensible) aspects of US schooling: http://t.co/DPkrAEdCj8
— Ethan Hutt (@ehutt1) January 5, 2015
Reasonable people shld B able 2 agree on homeschool policy respecting liberty & parental rights & protecting children http://t.co/njWa4V62UX
— Andrew Rotherham (@arotherham) January 5, 2015
— Robert Pondiscio (@rpondiscio) January 5, 2015
A few news outlets waded into the conversation. The Huffington Post hosted a panel discussion including two researchers, a home schooling parent of six, and a former home-schooled student who is now pursuing a PhD. You can listen to the conversation below.
— IU School of Ed (@IUSchoolofEd) January 6, 2015
But, regardless of where you stand in the debate, it was nice to see home schooling—which is often off the radar—get some attention, as this Twitter user summed up:
Homeschooling on the front page of the New York Times this morning. Above the fold! Amazing. What’s happening to... http://t.co/rVzTXAKUq5
— hatched (@hatchedboston) January 5, 2015
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.