September 21, 2016

Secretary Kind's remarks about homeschooling are telling.

Secretary King: Homeschoolers Have Limited Options

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HSLDA has received word that U.S. Secretary of Education John King has said he is “concerned” about homeschooled students. As Politico.com reported:

Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said today that he’s concerned that homeschooled students aren’t “getting the range of options that are good for all kids.”
But King also said he’s aware of homeschooling families “doing it incredibly well” and he knew of homeschooled students in college who had “very tremendous academic success.”
“Obviously, it’s up to families if they want to take a homeschool approach,” King said, when asked about the topic during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters.
King noted that research shows homeschooling is growing in popularity.
But King said he worries that “students who are homeschooled are not getting kind of the rapid instructional experience they would get in school”—unless parents are “very intentional about it.”
King said the school experience includes building relationships with peers, teachers and mentors—elements which are difficult to achieve in homeschooling, he said, unless parents focus on it.

We appreciate that Secretary King acknowledges the academic success of homeschooled students and agree with his assessment that homeschooled parents should be intentional about their student’s instruction, but his remarks are nonetheless concerning to us. Back in March, HSLDA called for Congress to block the nomination of Secretary King based on his support of the Common Core State Standards, and we believe his comments are paving the way for more government oversight to make sure that parents are being intentional.

“While Secretary King had some good things to say about homeschooling, I’m disappointed that his comments imply that public schoolers have a wider range of options in education, which is simply not true,” said HSLDA co-founder and Chairman Michael Farris. “Homeschoolers are far outperforming their public schooled peers, largely due to the fact that parents know what works best for their child instead of implementing an outdated, one-size-fits-all approach that Secretary King appears to favor.”

Farris and Director of Federal Relations William Estrada have both reached out to Secretary King’s office and hope to introduce the secretary to a few homeschool leaders, parents, and students to explain the facts and benefits of homeschooling.