Memorandum submitted by Kelly Green (CS 26)
By Kelly L. Green, home-educating parent, founding member of Freedom and Choice in Education (FACE) British Columbia, and former secretary of the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents
1. I submit the following material to the Committee in relation to Clause 26 - Schedule 1, the proposed legislation regarding Elective Home Education in England.
2. As an international observer who is both a long-time home educator and an active participant in the development of a regulatory approach to home-based education in Canada, I note with distress that the Department of Children, Schools and Families did not actively consider the many positive, cooperative and democratically conceived regulatory models regarding home-based education that have developed in North America.
3. In Canada, large, heavily populated jurisdictions with excellent regulatory models include the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. In the United States, 10 states make no legislative demands of home educators. These include the heavily populated states of Texas, Illinois and Michigan. Fourteen states require only notification of intent to educate at home. These include California, Wisconsin and Delaware. Twenty states have moderate regulation, meaning parents may be asked to submit materials in a portfolio, test scores or evaluation. Only six states have what is considered to be "heavy" regulation. Even the heavily regulated states make no demands of home educating families akin to those proposed in Schedule 1. To the best of my knowledge, no state demands home visits, and no state requests to interview home educated children.
4. Greater levels of regulation create greater cost for the state with very little in the way of return. Others have dealt the spurious analyses of the impact assessment, but as an international observer I note that New Zealand has recently ended its policy of home visits of home educating families due to the prohibitive costs of the practice.
5. Greater regulation of home education does not produce better results. The following quotation from a peer-reviewed academic article on this topic made the following observation: "The authors of this study find no evidence from their analysis that supports the claim that states should exercise more regulation of homeschool families and students in order to assure better academic success in general or improved higher-education success in particular. On the contrary, the findings of this study are consistent with other research findings that homeschool students perform well academically - typically above national averages on standardized achievement tests and at least on par with others on college-admissions tests - and do so regardless of whether they live in a state that applies low, moderate, or high governmental regulation of homeschooling." ("State Regulation of Homeschooling and Homeschoolers' SAT Scores," Academic Leadership, August 11, 2009) http://www.academicleadership.org/emprical_research/State_Regulation_of_Homeschooling_and_Homeschoolers_SAT_Scores.shtml
6. Research conducted on home-based education indicates that, unlike traditionally schooled students, home-educated students whose parents have less formal education achieve similar academic results to those whose parents have more academic credentials. A 1999 study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner, Vice President of the Graduate Management Admission Council (the non-profit testing company that sponsors the Graduate Management Admission Test in the United States) observed the following: "Home schooling's one-on-one tutorial method seemed to equalize the influence of parents' educational background on their children's academic performance. Home educated students' test scores remained between the 80th and 90th percentiles, whether their mothers had a college degree or did not finish high school...Students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families of comparable educational backgrounds."
7. In conclusion, Schedule 1 is not only disproportionate; it also ignores the ample experience and evidence accumulated in other jurisdictions in which home-based education is widely and successfully practiced. The fact that the only regulatory model that the DCSF seriously considered was that of Tasmania, an island with a total population of 500,000 is ludicrous in light of the experiences of 50 states, 10 provinces, and nearly 2 million home educated students in North America.