There are an estimated two million children being homeschooled in the United States today—and researchers, policymakers, and educators have no idea how they’re doing. At a time when education is assessed and measured everywhere, homeschooled kids remain invisible: How are their math skills? Are they reading at the level of their peers? Are they going on to college? Are they getting the resources they need?
Help the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE) complete a study that will provide the most comprehensive picture of homeschooled students’ academic performance to date. Using publicly available but never-analyzed data from Alaska and Arkansas, CRHE will compare homeschooled students’ performance with that of their peers and analyze their performance across a wide variety of subject areas and a range of demographic characteristics.
CRHE will use data released by the Arkansas Department of Education’s Home School Office and the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. This data, which is collected by the state, has never been studied before. For background on this data, read our preliminary article on the Alaska data and this brief discussion of the Arkansas data.
Existing studies of homeschooled students’ academic performance draw on volunteer participants, oversampling students from college-educated families and excluding lower-performing students. This leads to misleading information about homeschool achievement. Our study will paint a more representative picture of homeschooled students’ academic performance and needs, reporting how they are really doing.
Over the past few years, an increasing number of formerly homeschooled students have come forward to say that they were educationally neglected. Many have called for policies to create more accountability for homeschooling. Efforts to create effective homeschool policy are hampered by a lack of accurate data. We advocate for homeschooled children. To do this, we need to understand the factors that contribute to homeschool success or failure.
Our study will ensure that lawmakers have the data they need to legislate responsibly; give parents the data they need to make decisions about whether homeschooling is best for their families; and give formerly homeschooled students a clearer picture of where they fit in the world. You can help us make this happen.
As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we rely on donations from supporters. Our budget is small and our staff puts in hundreds of volunteer hours to complete our day-to-day work. Our research analysts have been working on the Arkansas and Alaska data for several years, but a lack of funding has severely limited the number of hours they can put in each week. This fundraiser will allow us to finally finish this study.
All money raised will go toward paying our research analysts a fair hourly wage to complete this project. With funding, our research team will be able to enter the data, conduct the analysis, and write up findings by the end of fall 2017. We anticipate being able to submit the study to a peer-reviewed journal by spring 2018.
All donations to CRHE are fully tax deductible.
Chelsea McCracken, Senior Research Analyst
McCracken has a BA in math and a PhD in social science, including graduate work in statistics. She will conduct a statistical analysis of testing data from Alaska.
Rachel Lazerus, Research Analyst
Lazerus received her MPP at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago with a focus on educational policy. She will analyze testing data and homeschooling populations in Arkansas.
Rachel Coleman, Executive Director
Coleman is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history and wrote her master’s thesis on homeschooling. She will research and outline the background of homeschooling in both states.