WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary John King told reporters this week that he is concerned that some homeschoolers aren’t receiving the “rapid instructional experience” that they would normally obtain in the public school environment.
King was speaking at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday. During his remarks, he said that he was worried that homeschooled children aren’t “getting the range of options that are good for all kids.”
“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,'” the Monitor reported. “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.”
But he also noted that he knows homeschooling families that are “doing it incredibly well” and explained that he knows homeschooled students who are now in college and having “very tremendous academic success.”
“Obviously, it’s up to families if they want to take a homeschool approach,” King stated.
Some had mixed feelings about King’s words, including Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) co-founder and Chairman Michael Farris, who disagreed with King’s assertions that homeschoolers have a narrower range than public school students.
“While Secretary King had some good things to say about homeschooling, I’m disappointed that his comments imply that public schoolers have a wider range of options in education, which is simply not true,” he said in a statement.
“Homeschoolers are far outperforming their public schooled peers, largely due to the fact that parents know what works best for their child instead of implementing an outdated, one-size-fits-all approach that Secretary King appears to favor,” Farris remarked.
Lindsey Burke of the Daily Signal made similar remarks.
“Many homeschooled students attend some of the most rigorous and intellectually challenging schooling there is,” she wrote in an op-ed. “Many families pursue a rigorous classical curriculum. Others choose to homeschool because their children wanted more challenging options than their assigned public school provided.”
“The home-education movement has exploded under Obama, spiking from 1.5 million to more than two million in just five years,” Family Research Council also wrote about the matter. “[C]onsidering that the ‘school experience’ now includes everything from radical sex education to genderless locker rooms and showers, most parents are more than happy to exclude their kids. “