Popular Magazine Calls For ‘Oversight’ Of Homeschooling

Scientific American, a long-standing and left-leaning science magazine, has called for federal regulation of homeschooling. They propose that parents who homeschool their children should undergo a “background check.”

In a June 17 newsletter, the editors of Scientific American highlighted that 3% of American children are homeschooled, a figure that likely increased during the coronavirus pandemic. “Most states don’t require the same assessment of homeschooled kids that are required for their public school peers,” the newsletter stated, acknowledging that homeschooled children typically excel in academics.

However, the editors raised concerns about the qualifications of homeschooling parents. “Parents are not required to have an education themselves to direct instruction,” they pointed out. They also noted that, in most states, there’s no system in place to ensure children are receiving an education at all, suggesting that in the worst cases, homeschooling could hide abuse.

To address these issues, the newsletter called for “some basic federal mandates,” including requiring parents to undergo a background check similar to what K-12 teachers face. Additionally, they suggested that homeschool parents should submit documentation proving that their children are learning.

“Education is a basic right,” the editors wrote. “We need to make sure kids have chances to investigate what makes them curious, study history and science and reading.”

While these proposals aim to ensure educational standards and safeguard children, they touch on a deeply controversial issue. One of the main reasons families choose to homeschool is to escape government-run schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 73% of homeschoolers decided to homeschool due to academic dissatisfaction with other schools. Additionally, 80% cited school environment factors such as drugs and safety, and 75% wanted to provide moral instruction.

The debate over homeschooling regulations pits the desire for educational oversight and child safety against the rights of parents to educate their children as they see fit. Advocates for homeschooling argue that increased government control could undermine the flexibility and personalized approach that homeschooling offers. They fear that such regulations could impose a one-size-fits-all model that doesn’t account for the diverse needs and values of homeschooling families.

Critics of homeschooling, on the other hand, argue that without regulation, there’s no way to ensure that all children receive a quality education. They believe that background checks and educational assessments could prevent cases of neglect and ensure that all children, regardless of their schooling method, have access to the resources and support they need.


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