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Education

NHERI: 2.3 million homeschoolers saving taxpayers $16B

Michael F. Haverluck   (OneNewsNow.com) Friday, February 15, 2013

Academic and socialization aspects of homeschooling in American aren't the only plus for children and the nation.

Even though many conservatives argue that the current administration has done little to cut the budget or taxes, the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) contends that homeschoolers have saved taxpayers billions.

Ray

"Families engaged in home-based education are not dependent on public, tax-funded resources for their children's education," NHERI founder Dr. Brian D. Ray states. "The finances associated with their homeschooling likely represent over $16 billion that American taxpayers do not have to spend since these children are not in public schools."

The institute maintains that the age-old practice of homeschooling ― which just over a decade ago was considered cutting-edge as an alternative form of education ― is now bordering on being mainstream. Ray claims that home education is likely the fastest-growing form of education in the United States, reporting that up to 2.35 million students are now being taught from home, a number that has been increasing by as much as 8 percent a year.

In fact, homeschooling is growing in many other countries around the world, as well, including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom.

More money, more learning?

During the months preceding election day last year, millions of Americans repeatedly heard pleas on the television and radio to vote for more educational funding "for the children." With the greatest proportion of collected tax revenues filtering into public education for state and local governments, do schools need more money to produce the greatest learning?

Factoring in inflation, studies by NHERI and Dr. Lawrence Rudner (College of Library and Information Services, University of Maryland) show that it costs between $760 and $780 annually to educate home learners.

The per-pupil costs for publicly schooled students?

The average per-student expenditure for publicly educated children in the United States is $10,615 ― nearly 14 times greater than that of homeschoolers.

Does this reflect on their learning?

NHERI reports that homeschoolers score between 15 to 30 percentile points higher on average across the curriculum on standardized testing than their publicly schooled counterparts.

And a comparison of per-pupil expenditures with graduation rates in states further attests that more money is not the ingredient for better education.

When comparing all the states (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), D.C. ranked number one when it comes to per-pupil expenditure at $19,698 ― nearly twice the national average and almost 26 times greater than the average annual amount spent on home learners. Paradoxically, D.C. ranks dead last (52nd) in high school graduation rates at 52.4 percent ― more than 20 percent above the national average of 73.4 percent.

Further contradicting the argument that schools need more taxpayer funds to increase learning is the state of Utah. With the lowest per-pupil expenditure in the nation at $6,612 (still nearly nine times that of homeschoolers), the Beehive State is ranked in the top 10 when it comes to high school graduation rates at 78.4 percent.

Demographically speaking

Even though homeschooling has been stereotyped over the years as being practiced by predominantly white, upper-income and higher-educated families, this form of education continues to become represented by more and more diverse segments of America's population.

"Homeschooling is quickly growing in popularity among minorities … [a]bout 15 percent of homeschool families are non-white/non-Hispanic (i.e., not white/Anglo)," NHERI asserts. "A demographically wide variety of people homeschool - these are atheists, Christians, and Mormons; conservatives, libertarians, and liberals; low-, middle-, and high-income families; black, Hispanic, and white; parents with Ph.D.s, GEDs, and no high-school diplomas."

Regardless of the level of education possessed by home educators and regardless of whether parents have a credential or not, home learners consistently score higher academically than those enrolled in traditional education.

"Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents' level of formal education or their family's household income," Ray points out. "Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children's academic achievement."

One-on-one instruction and the ability to adapt instruction to children's needs play a bigger role in home learners' exceptional performance than the actual curriculum being taught, which benefits them past their K-12 years.

"Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement," divulges Ray, who also publishes the peer-reviewed, refereed academic journal The Home School Researcher. "Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions [and they] are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges."

Socialization skills

As many critics of homeschooling have claimed that children don't get properly socialized when instructed by their parents, NHERI emphasizes that they are very active outside their homes.

"Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members," the Salem, Ore.-based organization maintains. "They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work"

In fact, homeschoolers are reported to be above their publicly schooled peers when it comes to social engagement and charisma.

"The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development," the NHERI founder contends. "Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem."

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