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U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King said that he has concerns about children who are homeschooled according to a story published in Politico Pro (paywall) today.

Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said today that he’s concerned that homeschooled students aren’t “getting the range of options that are good for all kids.”

But King also said he’s aware of homeschooling families “doing it incredibly well” and he knew of students in college who had “very tremendous academic success.”

“Obviously, it’s up to families if they want to take a homeschool approach,” King said, when asked about the topic during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters.

King noted that research shows homeschooling is growing in popularity.

But King said he worries that “students who are homeschooled are not getting kind of the rapid instructional experience they would get in school” – unless parents are “very intentional about it.”

King said the school experience includes building relationships with peers, teachers and mentors – elements which are difficult to achieve in homeschooling, he said, unless parents focus on it.

The Christian Science Monitor didn’t include this in their coverage of their own breakfast which I find odd considering how controversial those remarks are.

Considering many home schooled children take college classes while in high school I find Secretary King’s remarks completely asinine. He doesn’t demonstrate any data to back up his concerns. Studies  have shown homeschooling students are out-performing their public school counterparts. He must not also be aware that homeschooling students also led their public school counterparts in SAT results.

Considering his remarks center around a socialization argument leads me to believe he knows very little about homeschooling.

In my opinion his remarks demonstrate frustration over an educational option that is outside of federal control. Considering the mess he made up in New York I don’t think he’s qualified to comment on homeschooling.

Will Estrada, director of federal relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association, made the following remarks on Facebook, “Government bureaucracies always seek more power at the expense of individual liberty. Education policy should be left to the states and localities.”

“The success of homeschooling shows that freedom works. Secretary King would replace that God-given freedom of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children with more government regulation,’ Estrada added.

The fact that the Obama administration has a low opinion of homeschooling should hardly come as a surprise. Back in 2013 former Attorney General Eric Holder when trying to boot the Romeike family out of the United States argued that Germany’s banning homeschooling doesn’t violate fundamental rights.

Homeschooling parents need to be ever vigilant to protect their educational freedom.

Update: Be sure to read Lindsey Burke’s piece about Secretary King’s concerns at The Daily Signal. She made some points that I kick myself for not making.

67 comments
  1. Because parents can’t possibly know how to educate their own children… heard it 30 years ago when I started homeschooling my oldest. All three are college grads with STEM degrees plus an MBA and a Law Degree and all working in their field of study… go figure.

    I trust parents to take full responsibility for the education of their own children without any government oversight or funding. Go away Federal DOE; you have enough to concern yourselves with. Let freedom ring in our homes and neighborhoods across this great land.

    1. Homeschooling parents are a danger to the educational establishment precisely because they do a great job. If any parent who loves their child can up and be a teacher and give their child a great education it exposes the education establishment’s mediocrity.

  2. I would only add that he is right in regards to students with disabilities involved with scam online operations for homeschooling as many do not provide additional services (occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc.) and take that portion of special education funding attached to Average Daily Attendance (ADA) dollars and pocket it instead of provide the supports as required in an IEP.

      1. That’s ridiculous. Parents need help with special-needs kids regardless, why shouldn’t they get help with the education aspect of things too? It can still be homeschooling. It’s just not YOUR style of homeschooling.

      2. You can be a full time homeschooler and still accept auxiliary services such IEP resources, sports, band or choir, or even fine arts classes under the public school without losing any of your homeschool status and any of the 50 states and territories!

      3. We do not receive anything here in NC from the public school system and as soon as I decided to homeschool I had to sign a paper with the public school system saying that I know that they would not supply any type of help. If my son get’s speech therapy, plays any type of sports or does any extra activities such as music/art it comes from a private facility and the payment comes out of my pocket.

  3. Want to he concerned? Worry about the 6 years my son spent in public schools that failed him and leaving me basically no choice but to homeschool. IEPs becane to excude to let him slip farther and farther behind.
    Here I am a mother with ZERO teaching experience and no idea of how or what I was going to do – yet my son advanced 3 levels in 2 months at home more than he ever had in any year of public schools-3 different schools.

    1. or the two full school years my child ‘learned’ about US history (because we moved) — and when I asked if he knew what the electoral college was he said: huh?

  4. Yeah, I’m sad that my two homeschooled and successful college graduates missed that “range of options”, like drugs, bullying, liberal agendas, corrupted sex education, etc.

    1. I like skipping the anti-evolution, pro-girl-shaming conservative agenda, myself.

      (No, I’m not teaching my daughter about transgender bathrooms, either. I have a mind of my own, who’d’a thunk it?)

    2. I wish with all my heart that when our children were school age, that I had the courage that a very few parents did at that time, and had homeschooled our three children. I totally believe we would’ve missed out on a whole lot of trouble that developed because of the influence of the school curriculum and peer pressure. I even wonder if our oldest child, and only daughter, would have still been with us on this earth instead of in Heaven!! I won’t know until I join her some day, and then I probably won’t care! If any of you are slightly inclined to home school, I pray that you will do it!! Avoid all that they will encounter in the public school!! (Btw, we didn’t have a Christian school nearby (90 miles each way), or I’m sure we would’ve taken advantage of that!)

  5. Wow, considering how much actual time is spent learning in public school, in between the standing in lines, getting fed, being transported back and forth, and “extras,” my kids are getting way more educational time, and that’s for sure.

    I agree he’s totally out of touch regarding the “socializing” aspect of his argument. Has he been in a public school and seen how these kids treat one another? Limiting our kids to a few peer type social situations a week or month is actually a great solution. It really takes the pressure off of the children to fit in all the time at any cost.

  6. I didn’t know about home schooling 40 years abo when my first of three kids started school. I don’t know that it was even an option. I definitely would have home schooled our children. I know several families who homeschool and their children are much more advanced than the kids I know who attend public schools. As far as the social issues mentioned, the families I know have great support from family and church families. Their kids are involved in music, sports, art, and have many neighborhood and church friends.

  7. He’s concerned with homeschoolers, hey how about addressing the real issue, the lack of public schools following federal regulations and providing FAPE for our kids with disabilities, especial those with AU/ASD……in Texas they have had a cap of 8.5% to provide special ed services (basically they have been told to only allow every campus 8.5% into special ed services) this was put into place in 2004….how about addressing the increasing rates of our kids with special needs being bullied, mistreated and abused in schools by teachers and other staff members and bus drivers…and how schools continue to allow our kids to be bullied by classmates! Why are these issues not being addressed….because it’s much easier to come after homeschoolers because our population is increasing as the result of parents of kids with disabilities are being forced into a corner to pull their kids to reduce their stress levels and to keep them safe! By doing this we parents are affecting districts federal funding – it’s always about the money!

  8. The “rapid instructional experience” is the reason we LEFT! Our children wanted a deeper more cognitively challenging and intrinsically motivated education. They didn’t want a shotgun buffet of facts and figures meant to be regurgitated right back out for data and ranking purposes. He’s right to call it instruction instead of learning. One is a list of commands and the other is a way to personally grow and imbue oneself with meaningful intellectual foundations. No thanks, we’re not looking for “rapid instructional experiences”.

    1. right! and the issue is — we keep *saying* ‘all kids are different — everyone needs their needs met individually, then what happens? we seem to want all schools to look exactly the same. it’s crazy.

  9. I have home educated all of my children. The results are two dentists, a Fulbright scholar, a master’s degree in plant breeding research, a medical student, another one becoming a physical therapist. I am highly skeptical of Mr. King’s unbiased, non- prejudice, and his ability to be education Secretary.

  10. Homeschooling families would have more “options” if they weren’t bogged down by having to meet government standards and red tape at every turn. The comment about homeschooling parents having to be “very intentional” in supplying a “rapid instructional experience” to achieve the same effect as public school only reveals his desperation to justify the existence of his department, especially when students are churning out monumentally better results in less time and for less money at home than he can produce. And don’t even get me started on the asinine socialization comment…home educated kids are not raised in bubbles, y’all need to stop with that nonsense.

  11. He’s concerned about my children that scored better than 92 and 99% on their achievement test? My boys, who we carefully plan out stable, reliable opportunities to build relationships with people and children that reflect our values? More importantly, relationships that will provide a sense of security… thanks, don’t need your worry! He sounds like someone who has very little understanding of what children really need!

  12. I worry a great deal more about the experiences of public school children than about the experiences of children in home schools. Besides that it is much more natural for children to be educated by parents.

  13. Mr King needs to resign he and his asinine tests are doing more harm than good. The Federal government needs to get out of the family business and try managing the country instead.

  14. We homeschooled our two sons all the way through high school – my husband’s job required transfers every few years and homeschooling gave us consistency in their education and more family time. I am no super mom – I procrastinate, I’m impulsive, and I’m not the most organized person, but we survived the homeschooling quite well and both boys went to college on full scholarships and are now happily employed as engineers, making excellent wages and loving what they do. Homeschooling gave them the freedom to explore what really interested them. They had plenty of friends through sports and church and never lacked in “social skills”. Their friends covered a wide range of ages rather than being all the same age. I found that to be an unexpected blessing from homeschooling.

  15. aren’t “getting the range of options that are good for all kids.” You mean like boys using the girls bathroom? Teenage boys showering in the girls lockerroom? Those kind a options? Drop dead, you puke.

  16. Well, ordinarily I’d never pass up an opportunity to lobby for the shuttering of one of the National Government’s (Don’t call it Federal) extra-Constitutional agencies, but I have a different take:

    Homeschool students do well because their parents *CARE* about their children’s education. In my experience, parental involvement is the single biggest predictor of educational outcome. You can legislate, regulate, pontificate, and bloviate all you want, but when the kids understand education is important, and not just state-funded daycare, they turn out better no matter how they receive the knowledge.

    My thoughts. Disagree to your hearts’ content.

    1. There’s a lot of truth to that. But there’s also the fact that kids learn better when they can play, experiment and have access to hands on learning. Most schools don’t offer that and instead expect them to sit for extended periods listening to teachers instruct then after eight hours at a desk they go home with homework. When do they get to be kids? Pursue subjects that interest them? Or spend quality time with family?

  17. All my children were homeschooling at on point or another as it’s a parents responsibility and not some system designed to corrupt free thinking individuals.
    My oldest holding a B average, my daughter tested in at a B average her freshman year and my two youngest were in public school till they decided to not help my disabled son the way he needed to and I wasn’t going to let the system screw up my youngest son.

    Federal government just wants compliant bots….not my kids and the Feds cannot deny my right to do so.

  18. I’m encouraged that at least the Secretary recognizes the right of parents, “obviously”, to choose “a homeschool approach” to education. Many of his colleagues do not. Of course he feels students should be exposed to a wider “range of options”- i.e. lifestyle and values, not academic, of course. Why he feels a “rapid instructional experience” is superior is unclear. In my opinion, homeschoolers have a demonstrably better ability to build strong relationships compared to their public school counterparts.

  19. Well both my home school high schoolers did very well on the SAT. They scored high enough to be in Mensa. One even made Who’s who of high school and of junior college students the same year. Both were tired of lazy teachers, bullying students, andattitudes towards each other. The kids there junior year thought the presat only went so high and one of mine said well no I scored higher than that. My mom taught math for 25 years and never had a problem with what were doing. The kids in school and the teachers in public school are stressed and worn out. 125 kids or more a day, class room sizes over 15, discipline failures, and politics played have all played a part in school failures.

  20. But King said he worries that “students who are homeschooled are not getting kind of the rapid instructional experience they would get in school” – unless parents are “very intentional about it.” You mean where the teacher lets the kids run the classroom and learn nothing…..I get it.

  21. They want our kids programed in school its scary what governments are up to… Wake up your friends and family !!!

  22. NONSENSE! HOMESCHOOLING IS SUPERIOR TO ANYTHING THEY WANT TO DESIGN AS AN EDUCATION. I THINK HIS REAL CONCERN IS, THAT HOMESCHOOLING ISN’T INFECTED BY COMMON CORE, WHICH MEANS, IT HASN’T HAD ISLAM INBEDDED INTO ITS CURRICULUM. YET. BELIEVE THIS, THIS IS JUST THE START OF THEIR FOCUS. THEY’RE ONLY BEGINNING.

  23. They said the lottery and casinos would bring revenue to the schools and lower school taxes and help pay teachers a living wage yet if anything all that was cut. Teaches are not allowed to teach they do practice runs for testing. i home schooled my children and they were amazing they showed me up every time. Now my children are homeschooling and i couldn’t be more proud. They actually are learning.

  24. I knew these fuckers were going to start coming for the homeschooling community. This next election will set the bar for the attack on parental education watch and see.

  25. The American public school is where children are being indoctrinated. . To hate their country, if they are white, to be ashamed of their heritage, if they are black, to be taught to be victims, taught to value things over people, taught junk science that back liberal absurdities like man made global warming ….. The list goes on. . That is why the government dislikes homeschooling. . Too many kids are getting away from their indoctrination. . Eventually the government will

    will just say , “enough is enough, no more. ” And homeschooling will be outlawed.

  26. Homeschooled kids actually are WELL rounded, and better educated thsn ALL public schooled kids. This guy is a joke!!!

  27. The issue is about control. Who should be in control of our children, parents and family life or Government? The DOE wants to be the sole authority. I do not recall that power in the U.S. constitution but do recall that all powers not given therein are reserved for the individual states.

  28. I was homeschooled all but one year. I graduated early.

    I am so grateful that my parents decided to homeschool us. All 5 of us loved it. Oldest sister- flight attendant ( career of her choice). Second oldest- nursing school at a university ( will receive BSN)! Middle child – cook in Wyoming ( loves it). Me- taking prerequisites for physical therapy ( career of my choice). And youngest- accepted into physical therapy program ( career of her choice).
    After we all graduated from high school we took our time before college to decide what we wanted to do.
    My parents had told us that after high school it is up to us if we want to further our education. 3 out of 5 decided to attend college, but only after we knew exactly what kind of careers we wanted. life is short, and it’s not all about being successful in a career. In my opinion, a successful life is knowing God and making him known. Everything else is extra. It is up to me to decide what “extras” I will be using to make him known.

    Side note: All 5 of us are extremely social. We had to be bold in finding friends because we didn’t have all the same social outlet as public school kids. So we would go to the park, resource centers, pools, church, and later on we joined sports teams. All around it was a good experience. And the icing on the cake- we are independent thinkers. We do not just accept what is told to us as truth, we find truth by seeking it out. Therefore, when truth is discovered, it is precious because it was labored for.

  29. In other words, children who are homeschooled aren’t being “brainwashed” by the liberal teachers and government who are rewriting history to coincide with their agenda.

    1. Public Schools have failed thousands of students. Students have been bullied , taunted not just by students but teachers. Parents who attempted to advocate for their children have face hostility from school administrators. This is why record number of people have taken their children out hostile environment in public schools and either home-school them or place them in charter school.

  30. The most interesting thing about this dialog, is that so many of the people who have left comments, can’t spell, don’t know how to structure a sentence and don’t use punctuation correctly. Are these the people teaching the children?

    1. I have no idea. The vast majority of homeschooling parents I actually know (in real life, not online), can spell, use proper sentence structure, and use punctuation correctly. I wouldn’t infer anything from the comments.

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