Sunday, December 11, 2005

Home Schooling

EdWonk discusses the trend of home schooling increasing in the African American population.

Indiana has some of the least restrictive home schooling regulations in America. When it is done well, home schooling can hardly be beat. With internet resources growing daily and the home school network continuing to grow - it should come as no surprise.

Some of them have their own extra-curricular teams and even organize large scale field trips.

With a knowledgeable parent or tutor, the right resources and an independent or motivated learner - it can work wonders.


At Sunday, December 11, 2005, Blogger Joe Thomas said...

What could your teachers do with zero red tape, complete freedom of curriculum and instruction, and a 3 to 1 ratio?

At Sunday, December 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget: no pay, no breaks, limited "classroom" resources, loss of half of the family income, and more. These families sacrifice a LOT and their track is pretty amazing.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public education has a lot to learn from parents who homeschool their kids. I wish "it" would wake up before it is too late.

While both of our kids are in school (private and academic magnet) we homeschool them in their passion -- music, arts, film -- as they do not get what they need at school. The gifted program does not recognize artistically gifted students and at this point it would have nothing to offer my sons.

Now it seems I need to homeschool my 8th grader on what to expect out of high school. I do not believe his academic magnet middle school has prepared him for what to expect from high school much less his academic magnet high school. Thank goodness I have a whole semester to help him develop better study habits and learn how to take notes.

Schools are asked to do way too much. The growing number of students being homeschooled should be a wake up call to public education., they like being a monopoly and what difference does it make if 2MM plus kids are being homeschooled. It makes a huge difference if the home school kids coupled with white and middle class flight to private schools continues to pull out the average and above average students....


At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homeschooling parents enjoy an advantage that the public schools do not...we have to educate everyone, not just the average and above average students. We do not have the luxury to control the quality of the input, something that most businesses take for granted. We are saddled with expectations that in many respects have taken loco parentis to a new level. We are expected to be all things to all people, and I agree that we need to reorder the priorities. Possibly taking a lesson from GM...Shed those things that have taken us away from our core business, so that we can concentrate on academic achievement. This way we do not have to pour millions into football stadiums, coaches' salaries, gyms that seat in excess of 5000, tell the public that we are no longer responsible for breakfast and lunch programs, health clinics, etc.

We know that this will not happen. Schools are giving the public what it wants. It is the think tanks, politicians, and business leaders that have colluded to manufacture this crisis so that they can increase their profit margins.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last post makes a far too common assumption. Just because home school students perform above average does not mean that they started that way. I, and a lot of over home school parents, chose that route because there was a problem. Had I left my child in the traditional setting, then you would have had more challenging students to deal with, not less. Our child returned to the traditional setting only after we resolved the issues. And my story is not uncommon.

To suggest that home school families have some advantage over public schools is just simply ridiculous. As the previous post noted, we gave up half our income, invested more money (despite the loss of income) and turned our home into a permanent school. Please tell me, where is the "advantage?"

There really is a crisis in education, which the poster seems amazingly blind to seeing. At least one-quarter of our kids don't even graduate from high school and among those who do graduate, their academic performance ranks among the worst in the world. These are facts, not a "manufactured crisis." Get your head out of the sand.

And by the way, I have never seen a district "forced" to spend millions on football stadiums, coaches salaries and gyms. In fact, I have never seen a multi-million high school sports complex that originated anywhere other than the school administration.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...

I would guess the "advantage" the individual is referring to is merely one of time and flexibility.

There are many sacrifices that home school parents make so, I wouldn't necessarily view homeschooling as providing a "material" advantage.

An educator would view it as an advantage or an added benefit to have a flexible schedule built almost solely around the needs of the learner instead of the "School Schedule and Calendar."

Another advantage is the choice of curriculum. Home schoolers for example can focus at great length on more limited curricular areas if they want to.

This too is really just a matter of additional flexibililty.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous lonestar said...

Anonymous, perhaps you could be a little more specific in your accusations about graduation rates, etc. Are you referring to "education" nationally, in a particular state, or locally where you live? There are many problems in some school systems that simply aren't problems in many, many others. To generalize those issues to "education" in general only causes the debate to bog down into a "6 blind men and an elephant" kind of free-for-all.

It is also helpful when citing facts if you could provide a link to or at least reference your source so that other readers/posters can analyze the data. I realize that may not always be possible, but it is very helpful if that information is available.

Thanks for your consideration.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are multiple reports available to anyone who looks which indicate that Indiana's graduation rate is somewhere between 68% and 75%. The Indiana Department of Education continues to publish an "official rate" in the high 80s/low 90s. But even Reed and her staff admit that reality is closer to 78% (still higher than all the other reports - but much closer to reality - and by her own admission, relying on some "proxy" data). If you want specifics, see any of the following: US Department of Education, National Governors Association, Manhattan Institute, Education Trust, Urban Institute and Johns Hopkins University. You can also get a compilation of these reports from the Indiana Education Roundtable. You might also glance at the Indianapolis Star, which did a lengthy series on this issue.

Now... given that this string of the conversation got started with an accusation that "the think tanks, politicians, and business leaders... have colluded to manufacture this crisis so that they can increase their profit margins," would the poster like to provide his own data to back that accusation? Would anyone else like to claim that the dropout situation is NOT a crisis? Or continue to claim that all these numbers are just "made up?" Frankly, I am amazed that these questions are even needed any more.

I know this is off topic from the homeschool discussion; but baseless rants like these need to be addressed.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous lonestar said...

I'm not the one who posted the "baseless rant" about whether a crisis has been manufactured. And I can't provide any hard data. It is difficult to provide data on what someone's motives are. However I can look at the actions of corporations like Wal-Mart and the charitable giving patterns of some of the family and ask myself why they are so interested in "school reform" issues. Perhaps it is just out of the goodness of their heart. But perhaps they would like a piece of the $450 billion that goes into public education in the United States. That may not even be a bad thing. If that is their motivation, I think they should be honest about it.

Regardless of their motivation, they are throwing a lot of money in a direction that could eventually provide an income stream. People should just be aware and draw their own conclusions

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous strayhorn said...

Since I am not an educator, can someone provide me with a definition of who is considered a dropout in the official statistics in Indiana? That way this dummy will have a better idea what you intelliegent people are discussing.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear strayhorn,

I understand your question, but the differences that you see in various reports are the result of reporting more than they are definitions. For the future (due to a recent change in law), students are considered dropouts if they leave school or disappear before graduating and if there is no evidence that they transferred to another school, left for chronic health reasons, died, etc. Previously, the definition was the same, but schools were not reporting dropouts unless they went through the official process of telling the school they had dropped out. In other words, if a student just disappeared (like most dropouts do), then they weren't reported as a dropout. Under the new law, such students must be assumed to be dropouts unless evidence to the contrary can be presented (request for records transfer, obituary, etc. )

Hope that helps.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous strayhorn said...

Another question for all of you education "insiders." Is anyone aware of data on test results and race/poverty? And the same thing for dropout rates.

My own limited observation is that there are significant problems in large urban schools that simply aren't issues outside of those areas. However, I never seem to hear anyone discuss reform in that context. It sometimes seems to me that if most of the problems exist in inner city schools, then the solutions should primarily focus there as well. Frankly, it appears to me that my local school and all of the surrounding ones seem to be doing quite well. Maybe some of you ranters should get out of downtown more and see what is being done right out here in the heartland.

Please don't misunderstand. I don't mean to minimize the problems of inner city schools at all. As an educational lay person, it just seems that a "one size fits all" solution may create more problems than it solves.

Thanks for your consideration.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, lonestar, now you have, indeed, engaged in a baseless rant. If you are really concerned about private businesses making money off of education, I'd think you could find much more direct connections to architecture firms, construction companies, textbook companies, testing companies, computer companies, etc. -- and even then, I'd have a hard time jumping to the conspiratorial conclusions that you have found.

Just out of curiosity, can you describe for me and the rest of this group precisely HOW Wal-Mart would make money as a result of their school reform issues?

Meanwhile, we digress even farther from the issue of homeschools.... and now from the issue of dropouts. But hey, that just seems to be typical of education debates. If the facts don't back your statement, change the subject...

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AH HA! We're back to dropouts and test scores. Thank you, strayhorn!

Unfortunately, your assumption, while shared pretty widely, is not right. While the urban districts do have some pretty bad dropout rates and test scores, they are far from the only problem. For any data set that you consider, you could remove the 10 worst districts in the state and the statewide average would change by only a couple or few percentage points.

If you want to identify a specific set of districts that you think are doing well, I (and others, I assume) would be glad to look up the data or give you a source where you could look it up yourself.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Pretty good, but not quite Super said...

Congratulations, Super! You now have your very own troll. You have attracted enough attention that someone feels a need to bash everything you say.

Welcome, troll. I would ask one favor. You are obviously intelligent. Would it be too much to ask you to make up a name for yourself? "Anonymous" doesn't show evidence of much original thought.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Blogger Indiana Public School Superintendent said...

Well, lots of issues being discussed here - but seeing as how they have strayed somewhat from the topic of Homeschooling, I will just return briefly to the topic by saying...homeschooling has its place and for many parents it works very well.

All the other discussions have a place too. Dropouts are an issue. But only recently since dropouts have no place to go and still join the American mainstream. You never heard this as a "school" problem before, although I believe schools share in the blame.

Our alternative school has almost 100 students in it - many of whom would have been long gone in previous days. Yet as I understand the new Indiana definiton of dropout, even though many will likely graduate, under the new definitions they could be "dropouts" if they dont graduate in four years.

Seems a little deceiving to the public to call a graduate a dropout. Yet the reason the new definition exists is because schools didnt use a consistent definition of their own.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


From Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: 'bash
Function: verb
Etymology: origin unknown
transitive senses
1 : to strike violently : HIT; also : to injure or damage by striking : SMASH -- often used with in
2 : to attack physically or verbally (media bashing) (celebrity bashing)

I do see a lot of bashing going on here. Bashing of the governor. Bashing of Republicans. Bashing of Wal-Mart. Bashing of "school reformers."

But I do not see much bashing being done under the name of "anonymous." That seems to be reserved for those who are regular enough to choose a name.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And voila! There's a post from Super where "anonymous" can (almost) completely agree!

Unfortuantely, the review of the new dropout reporting system is not quite factually accurate. If a student takes a little longer to graduate, then he can be bumped from his current cohort to the next (or even later, if necessary). Conversely, a student who graduates early gets bumped up to an earlier cohort. That is explicit in the law and should be explicit in explanatory materials from the IDOE.

At Monday, December 12, 2005, Anonymous strayhorn said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I guess I am kind of one of those conservative personal responsibility people. I figure that by the time someone is old enough to decide whether or not they want to stay in school, they should take responsibility for that decision. I guess that makes me kind of a dinosaur. I'm definitely out of the mainstream.


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