A Response to the NEA’s 2007-2008 Homeschooling Resolution

The NEA, for those of you who don’t know, is the National Education Association. And every year, they pass a set of resolutions as the ’experts’ in education. To be fair, this is one itsy bitsy tiny piece of their entire resolution. In short, they are against home schooling and always have been. They are so against home schooling in fact, that they’re willing to tout an article, written by a janitor, as good reasons not to home educate their child. But I digress. Below is this year’s resolution, and my response.

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. The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools. The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting.

A Comprehensive Experience

First, let’s talk about what exactly is a ‘comprehensive education experience.’ Thus far, my children have experienced more field trips, have read more books, and know more basic facts than their publicly schooled peers. They get to socialize with people of all different ages. I’m failing to see what they’re missing or what is not ‘comprehensive’ about their education. My oldest child takes two languages, while my son takes one. They get art from the best teachers in the city, and take music lessons. Pray tell, what are they missing?

All Those Requirements & Assessments

Research shows that home schooled kids do well even without all those state requirements. Homeschooled kids are consistently beating out their traditionally schooled peers in Ivy league schools. I think research has established that as a group–they’re doing pretty well. What I can’t understand is if the state’s curriculum is so good, why don’t all the states have the same one? If the state’s curriculum was designed by experts, why is it that a student in 3rd grade math in California is learning something entirely different than a 3rd grader in New York? The truth is that education is a journey and an art as much as it is a science. The ‘experts’ are still trying to figure out what works best too.

All Those Expenses

In most states, home schooling is limited to the immediate family. I cannot home school my friend’s son for example. However, you can rest assured that most homeschoolers don’t even want to touch the state’s curriculum. The exception is when there are special needs and then actually the state is required to pay. What I do not understand though, is that public schools get our money for us to home school our kids and you’re complaining that some homeschoolers may want to borrow resources? Perhaps a better solution is for the public school system to loose the millions of tax dollars that homeschoolers pay every year and then we will all be content not to ever borrow your resources. Apparently to you, ‘public’ doesn’t really mean ‘public.’

Licensure Requirements

I hate to break it to you but there are kids receiving private education from unlicensed teachers. There are not generally licensure requirements in private schools. And even those kids are superseding the expectations set forth by public schools. But what I really don’t understand is this: I’ve been home schooling since March 14, 1999. That was the day my daughter was born. I taught her to feed herself, I taught her the alphabet, I taught her how to count, how to throw, and how to do numerous other things. But somehow, upon compulsory age, I have turned dumb and no longer know how to educate?

The reality is that the NEA has clearly not researched home schooling to come up with resolutions that make sense. When you do research home schooling, come back and we can talk. But I have to ask: Are you truly interested in every child receiving the best education possible? Can you guarantee that every teacher my child will have over 13 years is going to have the vested interest that I do in seeing my child succeed? Honestly, if the NEA spent more time paying attention to homeschoolers, they may well be able to better address the weaknesses of their own institution.