Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Are home school students better educated than public school students?

Yesterday's Louisville Courier-Journal featured a letter from Richard Esarey, expounding on the alleged inaccuracies of a recent column by Thomas Sowell by propounding inaccuracies of his own:
I am truly tired of hearing arrogant know-it-alls sitting in ivory towers telling the world how lousy the teaching profession is (Thomas Sowell's column, Aug. 21, "Amateurs outdoing pros"). Sir, if it really is true that "... it is common for ordinary parents, with no training or education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teacher's with Master's degrees," then we have a problem. Sowell spouts this as though it were common knowledge so that he can then lead into another point. It is, however, not true at all, and Sowell is guilty of the basest libel for saying it in print.
Not true at all? Libel? I'll say it too: home school students, educated almost exclusively by people without education degrees, are, in general, better educated than the public school students whose teachers have degrees from teachers college.

I'm waiting for Mr. Esarey to sue me.


Anonymous said...

There are some really good teachers out there. However the problem is that in the public schools there is no consistency from year to year; sometimes from one semester to another.

As an example; my youngest child had an excellent teacher in first grade. The second grade teacher was lousy and didn't follow through with what the first grade teacher did.

This lack of consistency is particularly more pronounced when it comes to to students with dyslexia or other learning disorders. By the way; Did you know that Kentucky doesn't admit that dyslexia exsist? They lump all disorders under a unspecified learning disability.

Markese said...

Let's see.. uhh, most children who are homeschooled come out better than public school students because of the attention they receive. Basically, whne there's one parent working with her one child, or two children, or maybe even three children the parent will learn the speed and way the child works. Lessons can be tailored specifically to the child instead of a teacher trying to tailor it to 20-20 children. Plus the education can be enforced all day. Whereas now in public schools, the schools request for the parents to become involved, home schooled parents are involved. What the child learns in class can easily be in forced at home because home is class.
By the way I'm in a public school...

kycobb said...

You're right. Home schools don't have to take on the education of children from broken homes, children living in poverty or children with learning disabilities. Most home schooled children have highly motivated parents (or they wouldn't have taken on the challenge of teaching their children). Public schools have to try to teach children whose parents literally couldn't care less. Despite that, public schools are improving-a recent report shows more children are taking the ACT and scoring higher than ever before.

kycobb said...

I should add that the only way to judge how well home schooled children do is to compare them to public school children of the same socio-economic status, rather than the general public school population.

Martin Cothran said...

I don't disagree with most of these comments, with the exception of the Kycobb's statement about public education getting better. If your basing that on something like ACT scores, you have to take into account that those scores are affected by at least two things that make such a statement doubtful:

1. College entrance exams are "renormed" every few years, which is jargon for "dumbed down", making comparisons to previous tests suspect; and

2. The aggregate ACT scores do not just include public school students, but home and private schooled students, who have become a greater portion of children taking the test. My testing friends tell me it is extremely difficult to get the breakdown figures. In any case, you can't just claim on the basis of aggregate ACT scores that public schools have gotten better.