The Lord has counseled us to, "seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith" (D&C 109:7).
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, perhaps more than in any other faith, there is great emphasis placed on learning, both in the home, in the church, and in our secular life. The Lord has also revealed, "And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come" (D&C 130:19). Because of such teachings, the need for members of the LDS Church to become better educated is one of its fundamental principles.
In nearly all developed countries there is a system of public schooling for children from ages five to eighteen, where the state finances their education. However, in America we often hear that there is a crisis in our school system where our children are not learning at the same level of proficiency as children in other countries. In fact, in one CBS report, they stated that America ranks second in the most amount of money spent on education and yet it ranks twenty-third in fifteen year old advancement.
According to the statistics, "Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States, about 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate on time, almost 2,000 high schools across the U.S. graduate less than 60% of their students, and in the U.S., high school dropouts commit about 75% of crimes." "11 Facts about high school dropouts." Of those who remain in school and get a diploma, many still struggle to do basic reading, spelling, and math.
Of course, there is a wide disparity between school districts and most of the major scholastic problems occur in large urban cities such as New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. to name a few, while many county schools have consistently high academic achievements. Politicians claim that this disparity is a result of the government not spending enough money on education but the real problem lays in our method of teaching.
Perhaps a history of education in America might be helpful in understanding this problem. In colonial days, most people were poor farmers whose children received no formal education except what they learned at home from their parents, but there were schools for the wealthier tradesmen, most of whom worked in the cities. Those who were wealthy land owners, such as those in Virginia, could afford personal tutors and when their children reached the age of twelve, they were often sent to England to get a formal education.
After the Revolutionary War, education was seen as the means for uniting the country into one nation and so formal education was strongly encourage for all children. In 1779 Thomas Jefferson proposed to the Virginia legislature that they use tax revenue to support the funding of schools for the public but the legislature felt this was too radical an idea and voted against it. Even so, over the next several years, Jefferson resubmitted his proposal two more times but each time it met the same fate.
At the beginning of the 19th century 85% of Americans lived on farms while only 15% of the population lived in the cities. For obvious reasons, most people were educated in rural schools which were small, one room buildings. Because all the children who attended them belonged to parents who were farmers, schooling was considered to be of secondary importance to their main responsibility of working on the farm.
For this reason, school houses were built within walking distance to the surrounding farms and, since families back then tended to be very large by today's standard (10 to 12 children per family was not uncommon), the one-room school house could easily have seventy children in it. In this small space the children were grouped according to age with the youngest sitting in the front and the oldest sitting in the back.
In the poorer schools they may not have had any desks, chairs, paper, or pencils and the teachers had no formal training but were hired by the local community as their means could afford. Teaching was done by recitation, meaning that the teacher would read something and the children would recite it back. This went on for five or six hours a day until school was let out and the children returned to their homes to continue their farm chores. Discipline was strict and children were expected to sit still, listen, and participate or else they were punished according to the manner in which the teacher chose to administer the punishment.
The subjects taught were reading, with the Bible as their textbook, writing or penmanship, spelling, and basic math. In these one-room school houses these were the only subjects taught, which have been described as the three R's - Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic. Of course, in the city schools where people of greater wealth lived, the curriculum was more extensive and the teaching was of a higher quality, usually because their children were taught by private tutors. On the other hand, children of poor parents who lived in the cities received no formal education.
Usually rural children would be sent to school at age six and continue for as long as the parents allowed them to go. The average length of time for schooling was three years or less, however, at the most, schooling only lasted no more than five years. The reason was because by age nine the child was old enough and strong enough to work full-time on the family farm.
Noah Webster was a school teacher who wanted to improve the quality of teaching in the rural areas so in 1783 he began to publish books to help children better learn the English language. His most famous textbook was called Webster's Speller, which today we know as the Webster Dictionary. The purpose of these books was to teach proper spelling and the correct America pronunciation of English words.
In 1837 Horace Mann was serving as Massachusetts first Secretary Board of Education and felt that the school system needed improvement so he set about raising money to help train teachers. His idea was to create what he called "common schools" where everyone received the same common knowledge. He felt that in this way it would make for better citizens who would become more productive to society.
Like Jefferson, he too requested his state legislature support these common schools with taxed revenue but the legislature turned him down. However, by 1870 the Massachusetts law makers instituted a lottery for the sole purpose of raising money to fund schools. It didn't take long before other states began to implement Horace Mann's ideas and because of his efforts he is credited as being the father of modern education.
As the industrial revolution grew, more and more people left the country farms and moved to the cities to work in factories, and as they came, so did their ideas about schooling their children. By the end of the nineteenth century, America was becoming a prosperous nation and, because of her atmosphere of freedom, immigrants from all over the world began flocking to her shores where the vast majority of them settled in cities. With so many people, speaking so many different languages, the need for schools to teach them English became essential if they were going to become a productive part of the workforce.
Soon, cities were building large school houses funded by taxpayer money where hundreds of children of all nationalities were crammed into small rooms. Although these structures were newly built, they were not made of gleaming stone with colorful clean hallways and spacious, well lit classrooms. In fact, just the opposite was true. They were dark, damp, and cold in the winter and burning hot in the summer and where each classroom could have over one hundred children in them. In this crowded condition, the students would sit for five or six hours a day listening to a teacher recite one fact after another that the children were expected to memorize.
Because of the wide diversity of religious beliefs of these immigrants, many of the parents complained about the religious doctrines that were found throughout their textbooks which were based primarily on Calvinist teachings. One such man who had a strong objection to this was John Hughes, the Catholic Archbishop of New York. He petitioned the state legislature to modify the curriculum so that it would be more palatable to the many Irish Catholic children in his diocese but when the State refused to grant his request, he started his own school system that today we know as Catholic schools.
In 1900 a University of Chicago philosopher named John Dewy published a book called, "The School and Society" in which he proposed a new system of teaching. His idea was that, instead of children being lectured to, they would learn better by doing rather than listening. Furthermore, he felt that instead of having the children sit all day long in one classroom, that they should move from classroom to classroom for each subject. He also introduced the concept of expanding the number of subjects being taught so that the children would have hands on experience in learning about such things as mechanics, art, husbandry, gardening, and physical education or gym as we now call it.
Today nearly all schools use John Dewy's method of teaching. However, as America's population has exploded, so has the number of children needing to be educated and the number of schools that have been built to accommodate them. However, the way we teach children is still basically the same as it was in the mid 1800s, which is that we treat children like cattle. We round them up and herd them into buses where they are shipped off to a large building where they are prodded from room to room as they are force fed information, and then, at the end of the day, they are herded back onto the buses and ship back home. And we do this five days a week for nine months out of the year.
In most cases, the children don't want to be at school. Ask any child and 90% of them will tell you that school is boring. As a result teachers spend a lot of their time trying to control the bad behavior that goes on in their classrooms. Even though our teachers are well trained, only a small percentage of them are actually exceptional at their trade. Although there are a small number of teachers who lack good teaching skills and who are not connecting at all with their students, the vast majority of teachers are just average educators - they're not great and they're not bad. That's not a put-down of teachers but a fact. If all or most teachers were highly effective at their trade we would not have exceptional teachers who are the exception to the rule. Therefore, by definition the average teacher is just that - an average teacher.
However, the same can be said of any vocation. Most factory workers are not exceptional but are average employees. They come to work and do their job but they don't do outstanding work, and the same is true of accountants, lawyers, salesmen, and almost any other trade or profession. That doesn't mean average teachers aren't able to do their job, because they certainly can, and most of them strive to do it as best they can but not everyone is good at teaching, even if that is what they do for a living.
But teachers have other conditions that hamper their ability to teach. One of them is the size of today's classroom. Usually it is between twenty and thirty children, depending on the area. Also, children don't all learn at the same rate. Some are quick learners and some are slow learners but with twenty or more children in a classroom, a teacher doesn't have time to give much individual attention so they teach to the average learner. That means the quick learner gets bored when the teacher keeps going over material they already understand but at some point they have to move on even though the slow learner still doesn't understand the material.
And that takes us to the next obstacle teachers have to face which is that they are on a time schedule. They have nine months to cover a certain, specified amount of information and if they spend too much time on one aspect of their subject matter then they have to go quickly through the next material because if they get too far behind they won't get through all the information they need to teach by the end of the school year.
When the final report card comes out, some students will have an A and some will have a D but both of them will then advance to the next grade level despite their differences in knowledge. And in many school systems even those who get an F or "Failing" grade will still be moved onto the next grade. This then acts as a disincentive for teachers to care whether a student learns anything or not.
This can be called the conveyor-belt method of teaching. It's assembly-line education where kids are treated like products that need to be mass produced. If some kids fall through the cracks, we can't stop the assembly line to pick them up, dust them off, and make them right. If some kids are not filled up with knowledge, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we keep them moving along from grade to grade like a never ending stream of students who need to be serviced.
All schools administer tests called SOLs (Standards of Learning) that are designed to see how much students know about a particular subject. The purpose of these tests is to determine how much each child is learning and, if the test results of a particular school or subject in that school shows that the majority of students don't know what they should, then that reflects poorly on the teacher. To compensate for this, many teachers worry more about teaching the answers to the SOLs than they do making sure the children understand the subject.
Then there are those teachers who have been teaching for years and are burned out. They have tried to be conscientious in their job but after years of battling kids who don't want to learn and parents who don't care if their child learns, and school administrators who don't give the support they need, they eventually end up coming to work each day, doing what they can, not worrying about what doesn't get done, and at the end of the day going home exhausted.
This kind of system in inherently ineffective, inefficient, and not highly productive. Then what can be done to make it better?
The apostle Paul taught, "ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians. 6:4). The Lord has warned, "Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents" (D&C 68:25). Solomon taught parents to, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).
The Lord has placed the responsibility for teaching children squarely on the shoulders of their parents and that doesn't consist of just academic subjects but it also includes morality, social skills, and behavior patterns. The church and the schools are there to support the parents in this role but sadly, in too many cases, just the opposite is happening. Schools have become babysitting centers where parents expect the schools to take care of their children for seven hours a day and when they come home, the parent assists the teacher in making sure their child's homework assignment is done.
As every parent knows, no two children are the same. Each one has their own personality, their own interests, and their own skill levels, and because of that a parent has to treat each child individually. But in the mass-production system that our schools have become, children are treated as a collective body rather than as individuals. It's a one-size-fits-all mentality that governs the system because there is no other way to teach that many children at one time. In other words, it's the very system itself that creates its own problems.
This is why home schooling works so much better because it puts the parents in direct control of their own child's education and it allows each child to get the personal attention they need from someone who cares and loves them and who they love and trust. More than that, the child learns at their own pace rather than according to one that someone else has decided for them.
Furthermore, in today's society having four or five children is considered to be a large family but even when parents have eight or ten children, that's still a much smaller group to teach than having twenty to thirty students assigned to one teacher for each classroom period. At the end of the day most teachers will have been responsible for teaching well over a hundred different children.
However, in a family classroom the older children can help the younger ones, thereby taking some of the teaching strain off the parents. And, as an added bonus, it is also helps the older children learn how to teach so when they become parents themselves they already know how to educated their own children.
But there are a number of objections that people raise to home schooling. One is that parents lack the skills and/or knowledge to be teachers. It is argued that if those who have spent four or more years in college being trained still have average teaching skills, then surely parents who have had no formal training in schooling children are even worse. And when it comes to a knowledge of a wide range of subjects, especially at the higher grade levels, parents are not nearly as informed as someone who teaches a particular subject year after year in the public school system.
For example, most children take geometry and trigonometry in high school but by age thirty, most adults can't remember hardly anything about those subjects. More than that, when it comes to the subject of science, we are learning things at such a rapid rate that what children learn today is far ahead of what their parents learned twenty years ago. Therefore, it is argued, that parents are not as capable of teaching these subjects as are qualified teachers.
However, by virtue of someone being a parent, they are already in the teaching profession. Every parent teaches their child in all sorts of subjects, from learning how to walk and talk, to doing chores, to developing appropriate social skills. It is true that not all parents are good teachers but that's not much different than professional teachers. There are some really excellent parents and some who have really poor parenting skills but most parents are just average. The difference is that they have a greater interest in the wellbeing and welfare of their own children than does a stranger and they have far few students to teach.
Professional teachers do go to college to learn how to be good educators along with becoming qualified in a particular subject, but parents can do the same thing. But instead of going to college there are numerous places they can go to learn how to home teach. The home schooling industry is booming and there are not only places on the internet where parents can get excellent information on both teaching skills and subject information, but there are home teaching organizations that a parent can either join or contact to get personal, one-on-one help.
As the Lord has explained, it is the parent's responsibility to raise and teach their children, therefore a parent has an obligation to learn the skills and the knowledge necessary to carry out that responsibility. In fact, they already do this, often without even realizing it. New parents very rarely have any extensive training in parenthood but they learn by doing. It's called "on the job training." Very often they talk with other parents, including their own, to get advice and ideas as certain situations or problems arise.
As their child starts going to school, parents automatically find themselves having to learn things about particular subjects as they help their children with their homework assignments. The only difference between this and home schooling is that the parents have to put forth a little more effort to gain better teaching skills and subject knowledge than what they were already doing.
Another objection to home schooling is that not all parents have the time or money to do it. One of the arguments is that most families need both parents working in order to make ends meet and therefore can't afford to have one parent stay at home to teach their children. In the case of poorer families, there may only be one parent raising two or three children or more. It is also argued that home teaching requires extra material and therefore extra costs, so it raises the cost of living for a family while, at the same time, reducing the amount of money that's coming into the household.
But this argument assumes that just because a parent is responsible for educating their children it means they have to be the ones who do the teaching. Parents are responsible for clothing their children but they don't always make the clothes their children wear, nor do they grow the food their children eat. Instead, they rely on others to make the clothes and grow the food that they give their children.
Education is a product, just like food and clothing are and, just like parents pay someone else to make a product for their family, they can likewise rely on the skills and knowledge of others to provide the education they want for their children. This is what the wealthier families in the past used to do when they hired tutors and what parents do today when they send their children to private schools.
It is argued that this is exactly what parents do when they send their kids to public school. Through their taxes they are paying both the teachers and the cost of supplies necessary to provide for their children's education. However, there is a very important difference. In the public school system, the parent relinquishes their control over their child's education and gives it over to the state. They have no control over who their child's teachers are, what subject matter their child is being taught, and if they don't like the school their child is attending, in most cases they are not allowed to pull their child out of one public school and place them in another one.
But, in the case of a private school, it is the parent who makes the conscious decision of whether or not to send their child to a particular school, and if the parent later decides they don't like that school, for whatever reason, they simply stop paying the tuition and pull their child out. In this way it is the parent who is in control of their child's education. But in the public school system it is the state who decides which school a particular child must go to and it also controls the curriculum of every child, while the parents has very little say in anything that goes on.
But not everyone can afford to send their child to a private school, especially those who come from poor, disadvantaged families. This is not much different than what America faced in the early to mid 1800s. Back then people lived on farms and had little money so what they did was pool their resources. A small community would hired a teacher to teach their children in a one-room school house and the same principle can still be used today, except with a modern application.
There are parents who share teaching their children with the children of other parents they know. It is very common for three or four families to gather their children together and have one of the parents teach them all or each of the parents share this responsibility among themselves. If none of the parents can afford to take time off from work to teach the children, they pool their money and hire a teacher to do this work for them. However, unlike public schools, if they are unhappy with the teacher they've hired, they can easily replace them with someone else.
But what about single parents who are struggling to just barely pay what bills they already have, or parents who live in poor neighborhoods where they can't hardly provide for their own daily needs let alone hire someone to teach their children?
What has made America great is its people are free to find ways to overcome any obstacle they encounter. This is what has made America prosper and thrive. Everyone faces difficulties in their life and each of us must find a way to rise above and conquer them. But to do that a person must have the will to succeed. A person can either choose to complain about how hard their life is and how others have it better than them or they can look for ways to improve their lot in life and make their dreams come true.
For those who lack money to pay someone to teach their children, there are all sorts of ways to get around that obstacle that are only limited to one's imagination, as long as parents are willing to find a solution. Many churches already provide some kind of educational classes for children and there are boys and girl clubs that seek to be an influence in the lives of disadvantaged youth. If a parent really wants the best for their child, they will go out and petition, promote, and champion the case of education until they find someone or some way to get the education they want for their children.
One way is to get businesses to lend financial support by convincing them of the advantages it provides for them. For example, if a business will provide schooling for children in low-income neighborhoods, in order to help defray the cost of this investment, the parents will provide youth who will work for that business for free. In this way the company is not only getting free labor but is training future employees. And there are other advantages to such a system as well.
But some will say that this is what the public school system is for. Why should poor parents have to go out and find another way to educate their children when there is such a system already in place? The obvious answer is that it is the poor children who are most at risk of dropping out of public schools or graduating with low, failing grades. In other words, the public schools are already failing to properly educate these kinds of children and tax payers are spending millions upon millions of dollars to support an inefficient and broken system of teaching. So, despite going to school at the expense of taxpayers, we end up with a high percentage of poor children who graduate yet are still highly uneducated.
If a business were producing a product that didn't work, it would discontinue making it, but when our public schools continually fail at properly educating a large percentage of disadvantaged youth, the government spends even more money to keep the system running. This is just the opposite of what should be done to correct a problem. For this reason, there is no advantage to choosing that method of teaching over some other way.
However, the real problem with educating children from poor, low-income homes isn't so much the training system as it is the parents, because it is the most influential factor in determining whether a child does well in school or not. It is a proven fact that children who excel in school come from families who take an active interest in their child's education, and when parents don't care what their children are learning then the children themselves don't care either.
It is argued that parents who are strongly involved in their children's education come from upper-class families and therefore have the financial means to provide a better educational home life for their children than do parents who are poor, but this is simply not true. The reason why upper-class parents have money is because of their work ethic and their desire to be educated themselves.
As a result of this attitude, they instill that same attitude in their children by making sure they learn. However, in the vast majority of lower-income families, there is no strong work ethic or desire to want to learn. Therefore, these parents don't push their children to work or to learn and neither do they take a strong interest in what their child is doing.
It's not a matter of money that makes the difference in a child's education as it is a matter of motivation. If parents are not motivated to take an interest in their child's life, whether it is academically, morally, or socially, then the child will have no motivation or guidance to improve themselves. Instead, they will drift through life, taking the easy way every time.
On the other hand, parents who are financially successful didn't become that way by accident. They worked hard to get where they are, often learning what they needed, even after graduating from formal schooling, in order to improve their chances for success. Not surprisingly, children who grow up with these kinds of parents pick up that attitude. That's why they do better in school than kids whose parents don't take as much interest in their education.
The counter argument is that this is all the more reason why we need to have public schools. It is argued that if parents are not willing or can't get involved in their children's education then it is better for someone to teach them rather than having no one do it. However, in reality, this kind of thinking actually makes matters worse because it not only deliberately removes the parent from their responsibilities, giving them less incentive to care about what their child is learning, but the children still aren't being well educated.
Some of the highest dropout rates occur in low-income, high crime, inner city school districts, and even those who graduate from these schools are still far below the national standard of education. But worse yet, it encourages parents to relinquish their responsibilities to the state because it gives them the impression that educating their child is not their responsibility but belongs to the public school teachers.
However, teachers can only teach students who want to learn. The reason why so many children are failing in low-income city schools is not so much the fault of the teachers as it is that the children refuse to learn. Instead of listening, they are disruptive in class, speak disrespectfully to the teachers, are rude, and create a hostile work environment. As a result, good teachers don't want to go there and those who are hired soon burn out or learn to not care what happens to the kids. To say that it is better to put children into this kind of a public learning system instead of making parents responsible for their child's education is delusional.
To understand why, let's look at this problem from a different angle. If we say that we need to take away a parent's responsibility to educate their children because they are not doing it to the standard the state expects, then we would have to apply that same logic to other areas. For example, what if a parent isn't properly clothing their children to the standard that the state says is acceptable? Should we take that responsibility away from them as well and give it to the state?
Poor parents can't afford to buy good, nutritious food like those of more well-to-do parents. Instead they buy cheap foods such as potato chips, high sugar snacks, and sugary drinks. Should the state step in and take away the parent's right to feed their children? And if so, where do we draw the line? But if we say that's not the duty of the state, then why is it the duty of the state to take over educating children on the grounds that the parents aren't able to properly do it?
In America parents have a constitutional right to raise their children as they want. When the state decides that it knows best of how a parent should care for their child and takes away a parent's right to do that, then we are no longer living in a free society. If parents don't want to care about their children's education, that is their right, just as it is the right of a parent to teach their child to believe in God a certain way.
And that is another reason why home schooling is preferable to public schooling. Because of the wide range of religious beliefs, common schools can't teach one certain sect of religion over another because it would violate someone else's views on God. But in a home schooling atmosphere, even where several parents of the same faith join forces, they can include any moral teachings they want. In fact, in Muslim and Catholics schools, that's exactly what they do.
This leads to yet another argument against home schooling which is that schools need to have a standardize course of instruction. Since we are a more mobile society than ever before, it is said that children all across the country need to be learning the same thing. In this way, as parents move from one place to another and their children enter a new school system they can pick up where they left off from their old school.
Furthermore, if every state or school district has a different standard for learning, what a child learns in one school district may be wholly inadequate or too far advanced for the new school they've moved into. By making sure that all schools adhere to the same standards, then children all across the country are getting the same level of education.
In addition to this it is said that if parents are allowed to teach whatever they wanted then some children would learn things that other children didn't learn, thereby creating a disparity in the education level of different children. In other words, some children would learn about things that other children don't learn and this would either place one child at a greater advantage than another or place some children at a disadvantage to someone else.
However, these are all false argument for several reasons. The first is that since it is the parents who are teaching their children then it doesn't matter where the child is at in their learning because they will still have the same lessons without any interruption from the same teacher wherever they may live.
The second reason why this is an especially false argument is because not all schools have the same standard of learning already. Even though all schools do teach to a minimum standard, it an inescapable fact that not all school districts teach the same things. With all of the federal standards that have been applied to improve school learning, some schools do provide a greater level of knowledge than others.
This is especially true when we compare most inner city schools with suburban schools, but it is also true even within different counties of the same state. When we compare schools in different states, we again see even greater differences in curriculums. Some schools have more money than others to invest in their equipment and in teacher's salaries. Some districts have more parent involvement who want more from their child's school than others, and then there are charter schools and private schools which offer a higher degree of learning than public schools. So the idea that all schools should be standardized in what they teach is a concept that doesn't reflect anything that is actually happening in the real world. And, in fact, most children who have been home schooled have generally received a much better education than have those in the public schools.
But there is a third, and a more important reason why this is a false argument, which is that very little in life is standardized. No two companies operate the same way, nor do they give the same standardized paycheck, nor do they require the same amount of knowledge from those they hire. In the sales field people are paid a commission based on their ability to sell a particular product, not on their education level. In many companies, someone who has not completed high school is just as likely to be hired than someone with a college degree. And when we look at people who have graduated from college, even when they have been schooled in a particular field of knowledge, most of the time the company they go to work for has to train them to do things their way.
In nearly all high schools most students are taught geometry and trigonometry along with the study of DNA and RNA. Yet, when they graduate from high school, at least 90% of them will never use that knowledge again. And if that is the case, then it makes more sense to focus on teaching subjects that a child will need to succeed in life that is not being taught in the vast number of high schools, such as entrepreneurship and capitalism, successful communication skills, developing the habit of positive thinking, how to be an effective leader, etc.
Since every child is different, a standardized one-size-fits-all approach to teaching is never a good idea. In addition to not meeting the needs of each individual child, making everyone adhere to a certain standard also removes the parents from teaching their own children what they think is best for them.
However, some will argue, "What about SOLs and diplomas? Without them, how will others know whether someone has graduated from high school or not? And how will colleges know who is qualified to be admitted to their school or not?"
The answers to both of these questions are quite simple. When someone applies for a job, very few employers ever ask to see the applicant's diploma. In fact, most companies never even ask about a person's education level. And as far as being admitted to a college, someone's level of knowledge can easily be determined by having the applicant complete a test. Therefore, if a parent wanted their child to go to a certain college or take courses in a particular profession, such a becoming a doctor or a lawyer, then, under home schooling, the parents would place greater emphasis on certain subjects than on others in order to prepare their child to pass the college entrance exam.
No matter how we look at it, allowing parents to be accountable for their child's education makes better sense in every way than letting the state assume that responsibility. Although such a concept may never become universally accepted, with time and the right conditions, just like great oaks come from small acorns, so too we can eventually have a better educated society if we practice and promote the idea of home schooling.
Despite years of efforts to lift U.S. academic performance, 12th-graders showed no improvement in math or reading in federal test scores released Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Students' 2013 performance in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) didn't budge since the prior one in 2009. About 38% of students scored proficient or higher in reading, while about 26% did so in math-matching the 2009 results. Put another way, 74% of seniors had trouble doing basic math and 62% of seniors cannot read proficiently. (Wall Street Journal and Star Tribune)
May 14, 2014 - The public schools in Washington, D.C., spent $29,349 per pupil in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the latest data from National Center for Education Statistics, but in 2013 fully 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not "proficient" in reading and 81 percent were not "proficient" in math. (CNS New)
The recent National Center for Education Statistics' report that the U.S. high school graduation rate has climbed up to 81 percent - the highest it's ever been. While this rate is "historic," it conceals a far more troubling reality. The Boston Foundation, in its 2013 report called "Getting Closer to the Finish Line," revealed that only one in every five Boston Public Schools students who make it all the way through high school goes on to get a college degree. So while we may be graduating more students, it's clear that graduation does not mean our students are adequately prepared for what comes next. (Bay State Banner)