The August 2nd Grand Junction Daily Sentinel article header listing the number of homeschoolers in the district was a bit startling to this homeschooler who doesn’t report or register in Illinois. Apparently Colorado homeschoolers notify annually to school authorities.
In District 51, 538 students are schooled at home
By EMILY ANDERSON/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Following the numbers given in the article from the 2007-08 year into the next school year, it appears there was a homeschool increase of 25% in Colorado’s District 51. If those local statistics are accurate, that enumeration- (I have an urge to invent a new word mixing “ruminating” and “enumerating”) -seems more reliable than the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Survey noted in the article. At the same time, who cares, and as some one or some group does care, why the concern? I don’t believe I’ve seen a reason why taxpayers are funding these studies? That would surely seem pertinent. Studying our “characteristics” seems a bit creepy.
An Indiana University professor stated the 2008 National Household Education Survey’s homeschool participation was at a 53% refusal rate. That doesn’t even include the homeschoolers in various states who might list themselves as private schools. Oddly, Professor Kunzman still cites the survey statistics as legitimate numbers, when it seems that there are deep gaps in accuracy. I’m not complaining about the lack of numbers. I can’t find a good reason to make homeschooled children a data point.
Here’s an explanation of the margin of error from the Education Dept. statisticians:
The margin of error for the number of students who were homeschooled in spring 2007 is +/- 231,000, which means the range of the estimate is from 1,277,000 to 1,739,000
(figure 1).4 Confidence intervals vary from year to year and are largest in 2007.
If their best homeschooling number guess is 1.5 million homeschoolers in 2007, but there is an error possibility +/- 231,000, these eyes think something looks funny. The devil is in the details, as they say. [See NCES Survey Technical Notes below]
While wondering about intentions in the quest for homeschoolers numbers, I understand that curiosity is natural. But there seems to be significant interest from people who make a living from the edu-industry. Homeschooling families are generally not in that huge piece of the government’s budget pie, even as many think we should be for accountability reasons.
The article also noted “support for those who seek it” from the school district via the Mesa Valley Vision School. Non-traditional indeed, but still under the school’s operation and accountability. It’s surprising that school districts can afford such during these economic times.
The nontraditional school caters to home-school parents by offering weekly or monthly meetings with a resource consultant to design an individualized learning program for a home-schooled child. The school also administers Colorado Student Assessment Program tests.
According to the school superintendent, some homeschoolers were looking for this help.
Schultz helped the program get started after a group of home-schooling parents approached District 51 with the idea in 2006. The school is entering the second year of its three-year, trial period, and it had to seek approval to operate from the school district and the state.
Technical Notes from the 2008 NCES estimation/guess of the number of homeschoolers in the US.
Students are considered to be homeschooled if (1) they are ages 5–17 in a grade equivalent to at least kindergarten and no higher than 12th grade; (2) their parents report them as being schooled at home instead of at a public or private school for at least part of their education; and
(3) their part-time enrollment in public or private schools does not exceed 25 hours per week. Students who are schooled at home primarily because of a temporary illness are not considered to be homeschooled students. For more information on the National Household Education Program (NHES), see supplemental note 3. For more information on race/ethnicity, see supplemental note 1.
Seems like those are loosey-goosey guidelines to be counted as a homeschooler.
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – Mark Twain’