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HSLDA Media Release
September 4, 1997

Children With Learning Disabilities Do Better in Home Schools than in Special Needs Programs at Public Schools

For immediate release
September 4, 1997
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or

Children with learning disabilities do as well, if not better, in home schools than in public schools according to researcher and public school psychologist Dr. Steven F. Duvall from Kansas. The results of his study were published by the Education & Treatment of Children, a scholarly journal, in the May 1997 issue. The May issue of the journal was not published until the end of August.

     Dr. Duvall, along with contributing authors Drs. D. Lawrence Ward, Joseph C. Delquadri, and Charles R. Greenwood, found that because of the one-on-one student teacher ratio provided in a home school setting, learning disabled children made more academic progress than their public school counterparts.

     In the study Dr. Duvall examined eight elementary and two junior high students with learning disabilities in home schools and public school special education programs during the 1993-1994 school year.

     The children in home schools received more individualized instruction than students in special programs. For example, ten times as much one-on-one instruction was observed in home school versus public school settings.

     The home schoolers in the study made more progress overall than public school students as measured by standardized tests. They made impressive gains in reading and written language. They averaged six months gain in reading compared to two weeks gain by public school students, and eight months gain in written language compared to less than 2 1/2 months. In math, the home school results were similar to public schools.

     This achievement by home schoolers comes in spite of the fact that their parents had neither special training nor help from the public schools. In fact, two of the parents had not even graduated from high school.

     Home schooling continues to grow in popularity across the nation. In 1990, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) estimated there were about 475,000 home schooled children in the nation. Today, HSLDA places that number at about 1.23 million children nationwide. Experts say that about 5 to 10 percent of children have learning disabilities. This could put the number of home schooled children with learning disabilities between 62,000 and 123,000 children nationwide.

     “As President Clinton celebrates the renewal of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that requires public schools to provide quality special education programs, home school parents are achieving true quality education for their children—something the public schools are failing to deliver,” said Mike Farris, President of HSLDA in response to the Duvall study. “The public schools simply can not compete with the one-on-one environment found in home schools.”