Local homeschool families are making their voices heard in response to a plan put forth by the Grady County, GA School Superintendent, Dr. Tommy Pharis, and Assistant Superintendent, Martha Fowler, to hire an outside company to survey homeschoolers and provide a remote learning opportunity through curriculum and teachers
While the goal of the plan was to return homeschoolers to the district’s student population and collect missed funding dollars, local homeschoolers are most disturbed by the reliance on facts and figures regarding homeschool students that were not supported by any data. Martha Fowler first told the school board that the virtual schools created according to the plan would provide the rigor that is often lacking in home schools. The Assistant Superintendent went on to tell the school board that children who are home schooled during their younger life often return to schools for middle and high school where they often struggle in the traditional classroom.
Outraged homeschoolers and homeschool supporters argue with facts and figures provided by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA):
- typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests
- score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of education or income level
- typically score above average on the SAT and ACT
- are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges
Others argued that researchers from the Fraser Institute found that in the United States, at every grade level, homeschooled students’ average score placed between 82nd and 92nd percentile in reading and reached the 85th percentile in math. Overall, test scores for home schoolers placed between 75th and 85th percentiles. In contrast, public school students ranged from the 65th to 75th percentile. Further arguements were made based on the Academic Achievement and Demographic Traits of Homeschooled Students: A Nationwide Study which concluded that homeschooled students achievement test scores are exceptionally high.