Recently, the modern home schooling movement made the cover of a major national news magazine for the first time. Newsweek featured several home school families in its fairly positive report. The following is an excerpt from the article:
Just a few years ago, home schooling was the province of religious fundamentalists who wanted to instill their values in their children and back-to-the-earth types who rejected the institutional nature of public schools. Now it's edging ever closer to the mainstream. . . . Researchers who study home schooling estimate that as many as 1.5 million youngsters are currently being taught primarily by their mothers or fathers. That's five times the estimated number of home schoolers just a decade ago and bigger than the nation's largest public-school system, New York City's. The increase is especially remarkable in an era of two-income families, since it pretty much requires one parent to stay at home (generally the mother), at some financial sacrifice. In a recent Newsweek Poll, 59 percent of those surveyed said home schooled kids were at least as well educated as students in traditional schools. "Home schoolers' image is not wacko, fringe, lunatic-type people anymore," says Brian Ray, president of the Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Ore., a nonprofit group. "Today almost everyone knows a home schooler, so it's more socially acceptable."
. . . What unites all these parents is a belief that they can do a better job at home than trained educators in a conventional school. . . .They see home schooling as one more step in the evolution of parent power that has given birth to school-choice programs, vouchers and charter schools. "Americans are becoming fussy consumers rather than trusting captives of a state monopoly," says Chester Finn, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "They've declared their independence and are taking matters into their own hands." . . .
Barbara Kantrowitz & Pat Wingert, Newsweek, October 5, 1998, Page B2
Activists complain daytime curfews make criminals of homeschoolers; suit makes constitutional challenge
. . . During the 1996_97 school year, police detained and questioned [home schooler] Jess Harrahill and his 13-year-old brother Ben-Joe a total of 22 times under Monrovia's truancy law, an ordinance that doubles as a de facto daytime curfew. . . . As of December, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 76 cities enforce daytime curfews; still more are considering imposing them.
School and law enforcement officials credit the curfews with driving down truancy and juvenile crime. But the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), ACLU, and other watchdog groups believe such edicts erode constitutional freedoms. "Daytime curfews reverse the long-held American presumption of `innocent until proven guilty' and preempt the constitutional right to move about freely," says Michael Farris, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association.
. . . On behalf of the Harrahills and four other families, HSLDA filed suit in May 1997 questioning the constitutionality of Monrovia's truancy
ordinance. . . . the Harrahill suit may be a national test case for daytime curfews.
HSLDA's case also seeks to debunk the city's statistical claims of success. Monrovia police officials claim the daytime curfew contributed to a 54 percent decline in the school district's dropout rate during the 1995_96 school year. But the California Department of Education has a different story: Its annual report for the same period pegged Monrovia's dropout rate at 3.3 percent, an increase of more than a third over the previous year. . . .
Lynn Vincent, World magazine, October 3, 1998
School Board Denounces Home Schooling Teacher
A local Michigan newspaper's report on a September 14 Engadine School Board meeting, included the following:
. . . A third item was brought to the board's attention by member Linda Livermore, who mentioned that a teacher from the high school has chosen to "home school" his children. The situation elicited a unanimous denouncement by the board. [Mr.] Pershinke (who owns Engadine Feed & Supply) summed up the feelings of most of the board members when he stated, "If I had someone who worked for me and they started to buy their feed over at D&D, that person would be down the road."
Superintendent Leveille noted that although the board could voice its disapproval, because of constitutional issues the teacher in question has every legal right to home school his children. The discussion ended on that note. . . .
Stephen King, The Newberry News, September 23, 1998, Page 13