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Home Schoolers Are Challenging the Education Monopoly

It is a fundamental tenet of capitalism that free market competition is good for the people and the country. That’s why Congress wisely enacted anti-trust legislation a century or so ago – to prevent big, powerful monopolies from eliminating their competition by stifling the little guy.

But today Americans are threatened by a government-sponsored and taxpayer-funded monopoly, one that is potentially more powerful and dangerous than the old Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel operations. Like a giant octopus with long, deadly tentacles, the socialistic “Official Public Education Trust” has established a virtual stranglehold on the impressionable minds of our nation’s youth.

The Public Education Establishment in America is controlled by the Federal government through the unconstitutional Department of Education and is supported by the Left-leaning teachers’ union, the National Education Association. These power-hungry academic oligarchs desperately want their 3-Rs racket to become the only game in town. Compulsory attendance requirements and anti-truancy regulations allow the long enforcement arm of the law to stretch into homes and classrooms all over America.

The problem for these frustrated educrats, though, is the fact their failed system doesn’t work as well as the competition. The private sector has always been able to out-produce the government system. Rich folks with enough money could always buy their children a top-notch education in the pricier private schools, and that’s still true today.

But the real threat to the public school monopoly comes from the rapidly growing Home School movement in America. Why? Because the numbers prove that average Moms and Dads who take the time to teach their children themselves are able to get much better results for a fraction of the cost. The statistics compiled by both the Department of Education’s own Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) and private researchers bear witness to this truth.

On nationally normed standardized achievement tests, the average score for all public school students is 50 in all areas. For all home schooled students taking the same tests, the average score for the complete battery of tests was 87, a whopping difference of 37 percentile points. For example: Total Reading, 87; Total Math, 82; Social Studies, 85. In every category, the home-schooled kids out-performed their public school peers.

According to Bryan D. Ray, Ph.D., president of the National Home Education Research Institute, the number of home-schoolers has been growing for the past two decades at a rate of between 7 and 15 percent per year, making this the fastest growing form of education. Close to two million American children in grades K-12 were being educated at home in the 2002-2003 school year, with similar overall success.

The education monopoly can’t dispute these figures, let alone duplicate them, although they spend approximately ten times as much per student only to get dismal results. So they try to discredit home schooling in other ways. One way is to set up a straw man called (aptly enough) “Socialization,” and then knock it down.

“The isolation implicit in home teaching is anathema to socialization and citizenship. It is a rejection of community and makes the home-schooler the captive of the orthodoxies of the parents,” charges Dr. Dennis Evans, who directs the doctoral programs in education leadership at the University of California, Irvine.

“Schools, particularly public schools, are the one place where ‘all of the children of all of the people come together,’” explained Dr. Evans in his 2003 “USA Today” op-ed piece entitled “Home is no place for school.” Kids taught by parents and inculcated with their values might miss out on “an openness to diversity and new ideas,” he warned.

Yes, and they might also miss out on dangerous drugs, gang violence, sacrilegious and degrading music, peer pressure to try sex before marriage, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, to mention just a few of the more prominent aspects of “socialization” being democratically spread through the public school system daily.

Some parents might actually prefer that their children would continue to address them respectfully as “sir” and “ma’am” rather than “dude.” Or that they might spend their free time doing something more constructive than swapping pills at Pharming parties.

Frankly, the whole socialization argument is bogus, too. Fully 98 percent of home-schooled kids are involved in two or more extracurricular activities with other kids outside the home. These just happen to be of a more wholesome type, like field trips (84 percent), Sunday School classes (77 percent), group sports (48 percent), music classes (47 percent), and volunteer work (33 percent). (To read some of the many inspiring home school success stories, visit http://nche.hslda.org/docs/brightspots/default.asp or, for academic statistics, see http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/rudner1999/default.asp.)

Some states tightly regulate home schools to make sure that they toe the curricular line. Others do little or nothing to monitor home-schoolers. Either way, the academic results are statistically the same. Home-schooled kids excel across the board, whether they are scrutinized or ignored by the State.

In my own state of North Carolina, an abortive effort to bring home-schoolers under the control of the Department of Public Education was derailed by the protests of outraged parents last Spring. I was glad to see that happen because I know that parents – and not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., or Raleigh, NC – should make the final decisions about their children’s education. Elected officials should actively fight for the rights of home school parents and their children to live free from intrusive government regulations.

If liberals truly believe in tolerance then give home-schooling families a tax credit.  Our children are our greatest natural resource.  If parents are willing to invest the time and effort to train their children to be critical thinkers, law-abiding citizens and productive adults, then I think that we as a nation need to invest in them, too.

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Written By

Mr. Tabor, a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, N.C., is the author of "The Beast on the East River." In addition to writing a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS, he is a contributing editor at TheConservativeVoice.com. His 60-second commentaries are heard on more than 250 stations daily. Contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com.

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