While many respectable Hoosiers no doubt drive pickup trucks with shotgun racks, it is unlikely that the school official's description of home schoolers was intended to be a compliment. The comment is surprising in light of a favorable review of the progress of home schooling by nearby Brown University (located in Providence). The January/February 2002 issue of Brown Alumni Magazine Online features an article entitled "Homeschooling comes of age," http://www.brownmagazine.org/storydetail.cfm?ID=672.
According to the article, Joyce Reed, an associate dean at Brown, educated her children at home when she lived in Hawaii. Brown now actively recruits home schooled students. "Homeschoolers are the epitome of Brown students," says Dean Reed. "They are self-directed, they take risks, and they don't back off."
The magazine continued, "Brown is considered receptive to homeschoolers because it does not require them to supply any more information than traditional applicants. Some schools go further, offering scholarships specifically for homeschoolers or, as in Stanford's case, posting special information for potential homeschooled applicants on their admission-office Web sites."
To its credit, after reversing its earlier denials, the East Providence School District has been working with home schoolers to develop a procedure that is both in keeping with the statute and is sensitive to the needs of home schooling families. Chris Anderson described the first meeting as "extremely positive and constructive."
We are glad that East Providence is recognizing what Brown University has already discovered-home schooling works and home schoolers should be welcomed!