What is it with ‘balanced’ news articles? Must they all be printed ping-pong matches superficially bouncing opinions back and forth between pro/con advocates? And do reporters read what they write?
The inclusion of a quote near the end of this article from St. Louis deserves to be the first one cited because the context is silly.
Homeschool numbers growing, 3 October 2007, St. Louis Post Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri
“Traditionally colleges can be afraid of [homeschooled graduates],” [Regina Morin, director of admissions at Columbia College] added. “They don’t know how to assess them.”
Oh, come on. Colleges “can be afraid” of homeschooled kids? I realize that the quotation may have been verbal, and not meant in the way the article presented it, but characterizing homeschooled applicants as making officials “afraid?” Of what? Of an applicant who may not be able to cut the mustard? If the possibly inept homeschooled grads cause admissions officers such angst, how do the admissions personnel feel about the institutional school graduates with academic talents that need sharpening?
Colleges Fight to Stem Growing Attrition, 31 August 1997, The New York Times
It is not a problem just in Westchester. Nationwide, 26.9 percent of college freshmen fail to return for their sophomore year, according to American College Testing in Iowa, which tracks college enrollment.
That cut, 26.9%, verges on 1/3 of all freshmen at the time.
- (1,700,000 college freshmen) x 26.9% = 457,300 former freshmen
- (1,096,000 homeschooled kids) divided by ( [roughly] 12 grades) = 91,333 potential homeschool grads, assuming an equal number of kids at each level
- (457,300 former freshmen) – (91,333 homeschool grads) = 365,967 more former freshman than a possible total of all homeschooled grads (whether the homeschool grads apply to college or not)
So there are five times more former freshmen (the dropouts) than there are potential homeschool grads, but the colleges “can be afraid” of the 1/5 portion of homeschoolers instead of the actual college-leavers? ‘Splain this to me, Lucy.
And as for not knowing “how to assess them,” how long of a learning curve do institutions need? Dr. Grant Colfax (7th paragraph) breached the ivy-clad walls of Harvard in 1983. If colleges can accept foreign applicants how long should it take the inhabitants of the Groves of Academe to stop quaking like aspens at the approach of homeschooled kids?
Maybe the reporters need to get out more, too (their views are constricted because they’ve spent too much time in classrooms and offices?). The scary-homeschooler hype is going on just a wee bit too long to be believable.
A related opinion from another educator included in the St. Louis article is:
… Barbara Rupp, director of admissions at the University of Missouri. “I see a big difference in the level of sophistication of transcripts. But, yeah. Mom and Dad are assigning grades.”
Heavenly days! Wait until these officials find out that parents regularly care for helpless newborns — at home.
I wonder if this reporter’s eyebrows ever came down to normal level while she typed the copy?
- Missouri and Illinois don’t track homeschooled kids
- Missouri and Illinois have some of the “loosest” homeschool regulations in the U.S.
- moms are ‘teachers’ and dads are ‘principals’ (a viewpoint that buys into a specific outlook concerning the martial relationship between husband and wife), and neither one needs any “academic qualifications” for the jobs
- education officials are worried
- “students may not meet expectations”
All this is cancelled out by one comment from Ms. Morin, “‘[The homeschooled applicants] tend to be better than their public school counterparts,’ she said. ‘They score above average on tests, they’re more independent, they’re often a grade ahead.’”
In addition to Ms. Morin’s comment, the article does have positive quotations, but from homeschooling parents. Those are the ones that, like, assign grades? Have you, like, ever heard of cheating? Unh.
Despite the positive notations, the reporter finishes the article with, “The home-school community concedes that not all kids emerge college-ready and that some parents aren’t up to the task.” Given the 26.9 percent statistic from 1997, neither are the schools.
posted by Valerie