In Dr. Brian Ray’s discussion, of the West “Harms” article he writes:
To set the stage for this discussion, a very brief summary of research on home education is important.
Repeated studies by many researchers and data provided by United States state departments of education show that home-educated students consistently score, on average, well above the public school average on standardized academic achievement tests. To date, no research has found homeschool students to be doing worse, on average, than their counterparts in state-run schools.
Continually justifying homeschooling’s success by citing test scores traps homeschoolers into the discussion of test scores without furthering a critique of the tests themselves. We need to move beyond test scores and assessments before we can effectively address the underlying “Can parents be trusted?” question.
Our institutions are structured and run based on answering that question negatively. Since the late 1970′s homeschoolers have been challenging that attitude with increasing success. “Proving” homeschooling with test scores may be politically expedient, but it is a trap. We will continue to face calls for greater regulation precisely because we have been distracted from the strong statement homeschoolers have been making for decades. That is, parents can be trusted.