Working for All Homeschooled Children
Advocating for child-centered policies
A required academic assessment might have saved Emani’s life, as it saved K.’s. At the very least, it would have put her in the path of a mandatory reporter. But, like most of the country, Georgia does not require parents to submit test results—or any other documents verifying that they are educating their children—to education officials.
When she began homeschooling, Emani’s stepmother was on probation after pleading guilty to child cruelty several years before. This could have raised a red flag. Emani was withdrawn from school following a teacher’s report of suspected abuse. This, too, could have raised a red flag. But, as in most of the country, Georgia does not prevent parents who have been found guilty of child abuse from homeschooling.
At CRHE, we work with lawmakers and other officials, create model legislation designed to better protect children like Emani and K., and testify before legislative committees. Over the past six years, we have collaborated with policymakers in nearly a dozen states; the number of states in which lawmakers have introduced bills designed to protect homeschooled children has steadily increased.
When Kentucky lawmakers raised their state’s compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18, the number of junior and senior high school students listed as homeschool transfers surged. In its class of 2018, an Indiana high school in an economically depressed area of the state reported 271 graduates, 108 homeschool transfers, and 4 dropouts.
What do numbers like this mean? At CRHE, we analyze data like this to identify problems and create evidence-based policy solutions. For example:
- In Kentucky, two-thirds of high school students removed from school to be homeschooled were chronically absent from school prior to being withdrawn.
- When the Indiana high school referenced above began requiring parents to submit a curriculum plan, the number of homeschool transfers plummeted.
- Data from two states, Kentucky and Virginia, suggests that homeschool graduates are half as likely as other students to attend college.
This data raises questions. Are schools fraudulently listing dropouts as homeschool transfers to pad their graduation rates? Are parents using homeschooling as a legal alternative to dropping out, in order to avoid prosecution for truancy but without access to the resources needed to homeschool successfully? The answer is probably both.
“I was physically abused by my parents. After my sixth grade teacher contacted CPS about a gruesome facial wound inflicted by my parents, I was pulled out of school and homeschooled. There was zero accountability, and I learned nothing in homeschool. In school, I did what I could to succeed, but in homeschool, I did what I could to survive.” — Barry
In addition to allowing us to craft evidence-based policy solutions, our focus on data and research allows us to provide reporters and policymakers with sound information regarding the needs of homeschooled children. We have had significant success in shaping the media narrative about homeschooling to center the needs of homeschooled children, and have become the go-to source for reporters working on articles about homeschooling.
In 2019, for the first time this century, a state improved its homeschool laws—and we were there every step of the way. CRHE spoke with lawmakers, submitted testimony, and shaped the media narrative, helping make space for this bill to pass. The bill amended the law to require a child welfare check when parents withdraw a child from school to homeschool them but fail to file the required homeschool forms.
In order to keep doing this important work, we need your help. Your donation will help children like K. and Emani. We believe homeschool policy should work for all homeschooled children. Partner with us to make this a reality. No donation is too small—or too big.
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education empowers homeschooled children by educating the public and advocating for child-centered, evidence-based policy and practices for families and professionals. We work with policymakers, conduct research on homeschooling, create resources for homeschooling parents and others, and raise awareness of the need for change.
We envision a future where homeschooled children’s right to a comprehensive and empowering education and a safe and supportive home environment is affirmed and protected by laws, stakeholders, and society as a whole—a future K. reminded us is possible.
We can’t make our vision a reality without your support. Make a donation to our December Fund Drive, and, if possible, consider becoming a monthly donor. We rely on the donations of individuals like you—and so do children like K. and Emani.