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July 9, 2007

Rep. Colloton Misfires on Citizenship Training

The Lawrence Journal-World reported that state Representative Pat Colloton (R-Leawood) “...would like to see the state pass laws requiring home schools to supply proof that they’re providing a well-rounded education, complete with citizenship training.”

Sometimes you don’t need to pass a new law to find proof. In 2002, Dr. Brian D. Ray studied the civic involvement of homeschoolers. He found that among students who had completed high school in a homeschool setting:

  1. 16% more wrote or telephoned an editor or public official, or signed a petition than others.
  2. 30% more attended a public meeting.
  3. Nearly twice as many participated in community service, such as coaching, volunteering at school, or working with a church or neighborhood association.
  4. Twice as many participated in a protest or boycott to help shape policy.
  5. More than twice as many voted in state and national elections.
  6. Three times as many contributed money to a candidate or political party or cause.
  7. 14 times as many worked for a candidate, political party or cause.

It’s a natural human tendency to avoid what one does not understand. Looking at the statistics above, one could surmise that homeschool grads understand civics and aren’t afraid to get involved. Dr. Ray’s research removes any doubt on this point. He found that only 4.2% of homeschool grads thought “politics and government are too complicated to understand,” but 35% of others did.

Rep. Colloton was probably unaware of these important statistics when she spoke to the reporter from the Lawrence Journal-World and said she would like to see the state pass a law forcing homeschoolers to prove they are providing citizenship training. Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Scott A. Woodruff wrote her a letter outlining these figures and giving her a copy of a brochure containing details about Dr. Ray’s study. As she becomes better informed, hopefully she will alter her course.

The empirical evidence shows unequivocally that it is the students who are not homeschooled who are in need of better citizenship training.

 Other Resources

Homeschooling Grows Up: Civic Involvement