Independent Record, March 29, 2000
everyone finds it possible, or even considers education their own children
at home. For this reason we are grateful to public and private schools
for filling in for parents.
logic expressed in the recent editorial suggesting that home schoolers
should be tested just like public school students is missing. The
purpose of the statewide testing of public schools in Wyoming is not to
assess how each individual student is doing, but to compare school district
to school district to see how they are doing.
the students are being tested frequently over the materials that they are
being taught in the classroom, which is an accurate reflection of how much
the individual student is learning. The statewide testing in many
cases will not be an accurate representation of how an individual student
is doing in school.
purpose of the test is to compare one public school to another and the
overall performance of public schools in educating students. Those
purposes do not support mandatory testing of home school students.
Since there is no logical purpose for comparing one home school to another
(the student population is too small in each school for valid comparison),
the only logical basis for testing home school students is to find out
how homeschoolers, in general, do.
information is already available. There have been numerous studies
testing home schoolers across the nation on how well they do. Their
test scores exceed the national norm, which is the 50th percentile, by
at least 20 percentile points. Home schooling has already demonstrated
that it is a superior method of education pupils. The comparison
between how well home school students and public school students do is
tell us that the three basic foundational blocks for a successful education
program are low pupil to teacher ratio, individualized instruction and
a strong nurturing, disciplined environment for learning. home schooling
majors on these three building blocks, which largely explains why home
school students test far above the average students' test scores.
editorial states that testing would make sure that those withdrawing from
public school would get the education they need to cope in a modern world,
and even if only one youngster benefited from mandatory testing for home
schoolers, it would be all worth it. The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated
that this kind of thinking is repugnant to the American tradition.
In the case of Parham vs J.R., 442 U.S. 548 (1979), Chief Justice Burger
wrote that parents can be trusted with the upbringing and education of
statist notion that governmental powers should supercede parental authority
in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect their children is repugnant
to the American tradition.
is no evidence in Wyoming that home school children's education is being
neglected. To the contrary, they are required to file an annual notice
with the local school district and provide the curriculum that they will
be providing. To saddle Wyoming home schooler with mandatory testing
because of the suspicion that at least one youngster might be saved, in
un-American and shows extreme distrust of parents.
type of thinking is statist. the notion that we cannot trust parents
because a few are not responsible must be rejected in our nation and in
the State of Wyoming.
consider it a great responsibility and privilege to raise, train, educate
and enjoy our children. How we prepare our children for life should
be our choice, not the government's.
you would like test scores and other proofs that home schooling does work,
Home Education Research Institute
call 503-364-1490. Ask for a reprint of "Home Education Across the
United States." Cost $2. Or visit their web site at www.nheri.org
for fact sheets.
and Libby Meier