School's In the Home
Donald Stewart had a choice of six colleges, including Johns Hopkins University, Amherst College and Haverford College. He ultimately chose Dartmouth. The enviable list of schools wanting to admit him, he says, was the payoff of the education Stewart received in his Chicago home.
The number of students being taught at home increased by 29 percent from 1999 to 2003 (the most recent year for which figures are available), according to the U.S. Department of Education. Attitudes about home schooling have changed as well: 41 percent of families, many concerned about the quality of education available in public schools, and sometimes private, considered home schooling to be a good thing in 2001 compared to 16 percent in 1985, according to a study by Rose and Gallup. Critics who worry about home schooling are limited to teachers' unions: They are concerned parents aren't properly trained to instruct.
Yet advocates say such fears are unfounded: They cite research indicating kids educated at home score better on standardized tests than those from public schools. Home-educated students scored an average 80 points higher on SATs compared to their public school counterparts, and 70 points higher than those from private schools, according to the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Columbia University's Teachers College.
This article, written by Cheryl V. Jackson, appeared in the October 7th, 2005 publication of the Chicago Sun Times.
Published Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005