Panel approves bill freeing home-schoolers from state requirements

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  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Feb. 17, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    When a person looks at the:

    * welfare state,-half our people can't feed themselves
    * high unemployment
    * billions spent on education per year
    * national debt

    You start to wonder. How can homeschooling be any worse.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    Why don't we interview people in the trenches who must deal with home schooled kids all the time?

    As someone married to an educator I am aware that:

    Home schooled kids are the most entitled around. They demand our materials, participate in our plays and choirs, and play sports but feel exempt to pay even a dime because they're "home schooled."

    Often, they are socially retarded from being stuck at home all the time. Sometimes their parents do a good job while the majority do not. Meanwhile, my wife gets graded by our state legislature whether these home schooled kids deliver! If they don't, then it's her fault.

    It's such a silly concept, home schooling. It's as if it's a hold over from the 18th century. Apparently fear and paranoia about public schooling is still alive here in utah.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 9:15 a.m.


    Finally... someone with sense!

    The state simply shouldn't be in the business of "requiring" education standards. They enforce the unenforceable on those who don't benefit by it and those who do alike.

    My college experience:

    A newer edition book was required for a class, which cost $200 instead of a used old edition for $50. This new edition had a new introduction, 2 pages, that basically just said "Obama is now our president". The editions were otherwise identical.

    I've taken unnecessary classes, bought unnecessary books, and spent more time learning things that didn't help me in school than not. Homeschooling has different symptoms, but of the same problem. Unrealistic requirements on time spent, lesson material, and testing methods are futile at best.

    We shouldn't treat children like robots, but like children.

  • jbrooke Vernal, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 5:36 p.m.


    While I see the good intentions behind what you say, you and I will never agree on this. To give the state that kind of power over people is immoral. To expect people to prove their good intentions, the guilty-until-proven-innocent approach, is dangerous and authoritarian. Wanting to educate one's own children is not a crime, and these parents should not be treated as though they have some criminal intent when none has been indicated. You talk about standards, I talk about rights. I'm afraid this libertarian/conservative will never be persuaded that "society" should have any say in how parents raise their kids, unless it is believed the children are in imminent danger (btw, publicly schooled kids are something like 1500% more likely to be abused than those who are homeschooled. I'll have to find that stat again.). The debate about whether that imminent danger includes the supposed danger of not meeting society's expectations is another where you and I would not likely agree. Studies show that homeschooled kids do just fine, and pulling out the failures to illustrate how we should punish the whole homeschooling community is irresponsible fear-mongering.

  • Nevashedelo Navarre, FL
    Feb. 14, 2014 4:33 p.m.

    The negative comments above about homeschooling are from those who with no personal experience of homeschooling. Positive comments, though, appear to come from homeschoolers. More likely than not, everyone is acquainted with far more children who are behind grade level in the public school system than in a homeschool. We don't chalk it up to the public school system simply because that is the norm.

    We decided to homeschool our children, and my wife puts in long hours with no real break from her "job" because she doesn't get to "go" home like most people. It is a hard and strenuous job. We do as much, if not more, work as public school teachers in designing our curriculum. We believe that the greater individual attention to each of our boys will help them succeed throughout life. The other homeschoolers we know seem no different than families with children in public schools. The kids are just as varied in ability and temperament as other children. Homeschooling is a valid option for education, and laws that increase bureaucratic red tape for homeschooling families only increase the hassles of an already difficult job with no benefit to the children's education.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 14, 2014 4:16 p.m.


    I suggest you cite your sources for what you called facts about homeschooling. I can’t take seriously any of your claims that as stated sound too wild and off the wall to be reliable

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    Feb. 14, 2014 4:16 p.m.

    Homeschooling at its best is much better than public school could ever be. But homeschooling at its worst can have permanent, devastating consequences. We knew a nine year old in Alaska who was being homeschooled, which, as far as we could tell, meant that her education was being completely neglected. The girl was more or less illiterate and innumerate. Her parents, whether they realized it or not, were setting her up for failure.

    I have also seen some amazing homeschooling successes, and I believe we should give involved parents who want to homeschool as much latitude as possible so they can help their children achieve their academic potential. But for the sake of the children's futures, there needs to be a mechanism that holds parents accountable and prevents long-term disaster if it turns out that a particular homeschooling arrangement just isn't working.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Feb. 14, 2014 3:38 p.m.


    I'll actually address your last point first. Universal education initially came as a way to counteract child labor. It was deemed beneficial that all citizens receive a minimum of education. While it may seem less severe, in society's eyes, withholding education from your children is on the same legal plane as withholding food.

    As to the rest of your post, it in no way disproves that there should be minimum standards. Yes, many home-schooled children are doing well--at least in areas where they are measured (The studies you cite were not random cross-sections of students, but those of parents who subscribed to Rudner's fee-based testing service). But there are also many people who would like to withhold education from their children for various (primarily religious) reasons. Requiring students to prove their level of achievement is meant to address them. Doing away with the requirement opens the door for parents to handicap their children, which many nationwide have been shown to do. Most parents care about their children, but there are those that abuse them. Most care about their education, but there are those who do not.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 14, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Another charter school boondoggle.

  • Reflectere Utah, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 3:20 p.m.

    It's interesting reading all of these comments. I recommend most of you go look up the statistical analyses comparing home schooled children to public school children. Home schooled children tend to out-perform public school children in almost every category of analyses.

    You assume that children wouldn't be able to function if they were reintroduced to the public school system, but that is complete non-sense. You can't generalize a case-by-case situation across the board.

    I was home schooled through all of Middle School and High School. I am now a college student who is on the Chancellor's list every semester. I have a 3.94 GPA. I earned my associates with Magna Cum Laude honors and was awarded the Business Excellence Award with that degree. I am a limited partner in a business based out of Alaska. I'm preparing to attend Law School when I complete my undergrad.

    You cannot generalize a system like education. Every child and family needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis as to what is best for them.

  • jbrooke Vernal, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    The level of ignorance displayed in these comments is truly astounding. How about some facts about homeschooling?

    · The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.

    · Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests REGARDLESS of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.

    · Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is NOT related to their children’s academic achievement.

    · Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is NOT related to academic achievement.

    · Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.

    · Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.

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

    Yes, you have probably seen a homeschooling failure, but statistically the "failures" that you meet are more likely to come from public schools. Beyond that, what right does an of us have to force others to prove they are raising/teaching their families the way we think they should?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 14, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    The end result will likely be a mixed bag. Some parents will do a superb job of educating their children at home. Others will not up to. Still others will be negligent or derelict. Kids will be the guinea pigs in the grand experiment. College’s will continue to determine admissions requirements.

  • MissTeaching Layton, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    When I taught school, I saw some great homeschooled kids, but their parents were very intelligent and able to teach the subjects. I've known of at least one case where a family homeschooled their children and it was a disaster and another case where I heard their child read, and they were way beneath grade level. Their mother, who had good intentions, just didn't have the intellect herself to teach. I could teach my child to a certain level, but I could not teach them some subjects well. Math, I'm great at, English has always been my weak area although I worked hard to improve it. I've always believed that if you're going to home school, you'll need to put in as much effort as a regular classroom teacher.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    I have extended family in Utah who homeschool their children. While I have no beef against homeschooling in principle, I don't consider these parents to be particularly qualified to teach academic subjects to their children. At family gatherings over the years, I observe these children falling further and further behind their cousins of the same age in terms of reading, reasoning, and social interaction.

    Eliminating standards for these children is wrong. It eliminates any accountability for people such as my distant family members.

    Sen. Madsen, I don't expect parents to be accountable to a school bureaucracy. I expect them to be accountable to their children for educating them with a baseline level of knowledge sufficient for them to function in society. I have not been impressed by what I have seen in my observation.

  • dilbertisking Stockton, MO
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    For all those who are concerned about how homeschooling children will perform when the come back to public school, you seem to be forgetting that we're homeschooling because we don't want our kids in public school. Most homeschoolers I know, including myself and my wife, go to great lengths to ensure that their kids get a good education. Many studies have shown that homeschoolers do just as well, if not better than, their public school educated counterparts. Whether the parents are doing an "adequate" job is not a legislative or even a political decision. Its the parents decision.

    Yes there are some bad apples in the homeschooling crowd, just the same as there is in the public school crowd. There are just as many dysfunctional and socially inept kids in public school as there are being homeschooled.

    My wife and I spend far more each year on curriculum, supplies, and other activities for the kids education than the public schools do. And we still have to pay our property taxes that go to the public schools anyway. Since the state is not enforcing the laws anyway, whether they are on the books is meaningless.

  • cocosweet Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    I've known at least 100 homeschooled (or attempted homeschooled) kids. Parents are in general well meaning and a number really do a good (even great job). But many realize that they are in way in over their head and return the kids to school. These kids aren't counted in any college study since they are invisible (hence we really don't know the effect of homeschooling on children). Those kids often have poorer educations than their peers.

    Parents certainly have the right to home-school their kids, but as a society we owe it to those children to make sure they have the basic skills to succeed in life. If that means making sure they pass basic education standards then so be it.

  • ChickenHerder Kaysville, Utah
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    I think those who do more research into homeschool including current curriculum options, available resources, college acceptance rates, and socialization studies would be surprised to find how effective homeschooling really is. While clearly not for everyone, it is a very viable alternative for many. There is no reason to have unenforceable laws that create more busy work for parents and administrators. I homeschool and live in Illinois, which has no state requirements for homeschoolers. It has been a great experience and all three of my children are at least a grade ahead in math and science. We participate in a couple of sports classes held during the day for homeschooled children. While not statistically valid, of the 200 or so children and teens I've met, I haave only seen smart, kind, well adjusted, good kids. If that's "not fitting in" I'll take it!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 14, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    I have no problem with the time in class issue. But each child (in school or at home) should be tested to see if they are meeting the standards. If not, then that teacher needs to be relieved - even if it is the parent.

    I have seen a one or two wonderful home schooling parents. They do a crackerjack job. But I have seen a slew of parents trying to educate at home who have no business holding a piece of chalk. A few with mental health issues that would have made them unemployable anywhere.

    There need to be standards for the students and some evaluation of the teachers (including parents if they elect to do the teaching).

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    I'm quite certain many home schoolers will/are receiving an education superior to what the public schools offer. I am also quite certain that for these families, having to conform to the bureaucratic, detailed state standards would only be a hindrance.

    This isn't true for all kids/families however. I once had a neighbor who didn't believe in sending her kids to public school and taught her kids at home instead. Once I found this out I decided to quiz the oldest (about 5th grade at the time) to see how her education was going. She could hardly read or do basic arithmetic. I asked her what she was being taught, she told me her mother was teaching her the Deseret alphabet.

    I decided to talk to the mother and see if she was aware her kid(s) were behind grade level by quite a bit. She listened but my talking to her didn't change her course.

    Freeing students from detailed state standards is wise, so long as such families are visited by an educator to ensure their kids are getting a decent education. This should be done.

  • cocosweet Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    I feel so sorry for most of those children... Many don't have a level of education that public schools provide... parents lack math and science skills so once these kids go back to school (many, many do) they are behind their peers.

  • azamatbagatov Lehi, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    I also wonder what they will expect when these kids go back to traditional schools? If a kid that has been home schooled their whole life suddenly joins a fourth grade class, that kid will not be able to function at all. Then when the student does not even meet first grade requirements, the score goes on the teacher. Sounds about right.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    There are certainly some unenforcible aspects of the current requirements - for example, classroom time. However, using that to throw out the requirements is flawed for a number of reasons. First, when did we start doing away with laws because they're hard to enforce? If that's our position, it's time to legalize drugs and open the borders. A second problem is that in their efforts to do away with those parts, they've thrown out other good aspects. Universal education was not conceived as a service to parents. The role of public education is social, and is there to ensure that every US citizen has the ability to reach their full potential. If parents are allowed to withhold education for whatever reason, it is detrimental to society. With this in mind, it's critical the state still has some way of ensuring the kids are receiving an adequate education. Proving their children are reaching benchmarks is a good way, something that can be tested and enforced. Finally, I'm fine with allowing parents to enter their kids into whatever grade, IF they can demonstrate the proper skills, like testing into a higher-level class in college.

  • Bored to the point of THIS! Ogden, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    I thought the point of having standards was to meet minimum requirements? I guess since kids are at home they should be allowed less than minimum.

    Maybe if our state legislature stayed home we'd get less than minimum too? That's what we're getting from them now... minimum!

    I guess I shouldn't complain. After all we will most likely have a new State Tree soon! That's important and meaningful. I was actually considering a move out of state because having the Blue Spruce was offensive. Now I can stay! Whew.. that was close.

  • azamatbagatov Lehi, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    Wow, I'm sure those kids will do very well in society. I'm sure they will be able to get into the best colleges and universities. They will have no problem adjusting to the real world.