The idea that homeschoolers pay ‘double’ to educate their children, and thus some parents feel their children deserve to either use school facilities, or that the family deserves a refund on their tax dollars, is a recurring topic. As a ‘retired homeschooler,’ who continues to pay taxes that support public schools, my opinion is that, concerning education, we parents had a choice to make, and we made it.
This 20 January article from California, also tackles the idea that homeschoolers ‘save’ the school districts money, but doesn’t agree with that opinion.
- Victorville Daily Press, Victorville, California, 20 January 2006, Our Opinion: Home schools and public educationThe home schoolers aren’t exactly “saving” taxes. The figure is arrived at by assuming that taxpayers fund each child individually, when in truth taxpayers fund the entire system, and the figure those taxpayers generate has nothing to do with the public school student population; the revenue they generate is divvied up among the entire public school body. Hence, the $11,000 per student is arrived at by dividing the total spent by Californians on public education a figure in excess of $45 billion per year and growing on the number of public school students. The revenue figure doesn’t change as the number of public school students rises or falls. Only the amount spent on each student changes.
Still, one wonders if there were 100,000 more children attending school, would the school budgets be higher causing higher tax payments for everyone?
In the article, an objectionable part of one correspondent’s opinion is:
- David Rainey says home schoolers don’t deserve any sort of rebate for educating their children at home because “Who’s to say home-schooled parents aren’t teaching some way out nonsense that is contrary to the public good?”
First off, I believe that we’re ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ If parents are teaching their children “nonsense” that causes the children to harm others, and the children act on it, then the appropriate laws should be used to curtail the behavior. If, though, the homeschooled children are behaving within the acceptably average range of behavior, then I think the parents can be assumed to be transmitting acceptably average “nonsense.”
Secondly, in considering taxes that support schools and education, what has to be looked at is the premise for the tax. Considering that the taxes on the house I’m living in have been paid for over 20 years by my parents and my husband and I, and that neither my parents nor ourselves have had children in the local schools, I think the premise is that the public-in-general pays for a service that is considered an in-general public good. Our tax bill arrives, not only without any questions as to our children’s ages, or where our children are schooled, but without even the slightest curiosity as to whether we have any children or not. Parenthood doesn’t enter into the question. What does enter into the questions asked by the tax man is the value of our house, and whether we own things such as cars, sailboats or house trailers.
Single people, childless couples, empty-nesters, private school families, and people on Social Security, all forfeit taxes in the same way that homeschooling families do. For homeschoolers to claim the special niche of tax-rebate-deservers-because-we-homeschool is to set ourselves even farther apart from our fellow citizens. Taxes are the membership dues we pay to live in what is said to be a civilized society. If those dues are unfair, then the system needs to be adjusted for everyone, and not just the members of a group that see themselves as unfairly burdened.