President Obama and homeschooling is one topic that homeschooling parents would like to know more about. While the President speaks frequently about his views on the plight of public schools, he has not spoken out openly on his stance on homeschooling. Will Obama support parents that homeschool or will he endeavor to put an end to this form of teaching children?
As educators and supporters of homeschooling try to find out President Obama's stance on homeschooling, there have been a few breadcrumbs left behind prior to his presidency. One breadcrumb in particular is his support of the ratification of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child. While no one wants to deny children protection from harmful environments and exploitation, the Convention and Protocols for Children would limit parental rights in the United States, giving the government more control over children and in particular, their education.
Voucher Programs and Teacher's Union
President Obama supports the teacher's union. In doing so, he can't support the voucher program or homeschooling. The teacher's union is pro-public schools only. The school voucher system was intended to make it possible for low-income families to enroll their children in the school of their choice. They wouldn't have to choose the local public school when another area school had higher academic standards.
In an interview with Jake Tapper on ABC News, President Obama stated, "We don't have enough slots for every child to go into a parochial school or a private school. And what you would see is a huge drain of resources out of the public schools." Obama doesn't want children exiting the public school system in favor of alternative educational avenues, and this includes homeschooling.
Income Tax Credit
One doesn't need to look to far to see how President Obama handled the Income Tax Credit in Illinois and his view of homeschooling as a former senator. Obama voted against an income tax credit for parents who send their children to private schools, religious schools or who want to homeschool their children.
Public and Charter Schools
President Obama has voiced his support for choice, but only as far as education in a public or charter school. Homeschools are consistently left out of any discussion or speech the President has made thus far in regards to education. This is in keeping with his opposition to the Illinois Income Tax Credit. Parents have a choice, but only between government approved and funded educational facilities.
President Obama and Homeschooling in Washington D.C.
It is important to note that Washington, D.C. implemented new homeschooling regulations that affect how parents report their child's progress to the school district. For many parents, this will have little impact, but it does give the government more control over how children are educated within this district. Parents are to keep a portfolio of the students work to demonstrate that they are in compliance with the district's new rules. The district can request to see this portfolio no more than twice during the school year. If they district feels a child is not receiving an adequate education, they can force the parents to send a child to a public or private school.
The issue of President Obama and homeschooling may continue to be an unresolved one. While the President hasn't come out and said that he doesn't support this teaching method, his actions may speak louder than words. Parents who continue to homeschool can take comfort in the statistics of their achievements. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute stated, "In study after study, children who learn at home consistently score 15 to 30 percentile points above the national averages. Homeschooled kids also score almost 10 percent higher than the average American high school student on the ACT."
For homeschooling parents, those are bragging rights.