Labeling Dropouts as Homeschoolers Hurts Everyone
by Sandra Kim • October 17, 2019
Note: This op-ed was written in response to an article published by the Indianapolis Star.
“There’s no way in a million years I would agree to homeschooling,” said Candy, a mother interviewed by Chalkbeat Indiana for an article about an alleged high school dropout coverup.
The issue is that her son Tyris was not counted as dropping out of public school. Rather, he was recorded as leaving to be homeschooled, but he wasn’t. If you want to homeschool in Indiana, there are legal requirements you must follow. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction a year and ensure their children receive an education equal to that obtainable in the public schools.
Homeschoolers are successful for two reasons: parental involvement and one-on-one instruction. Candy had no interest or desire in homeschooling Tyris and never intended to homeschool him. Why then did the schools have Candy sign a paper saying that he was going into a homeschool?
Some Indiana school officials have done a great disservice to children who drop out of public school. If schools are unable to provide the education and curriculum for the student, then the public schools should take responsibility for the children leaving the public-school system and count them as dropouts—not as homeschooling.
A few school officials in Indiana have acted fraudulently when they knowingly counted children that were dropping out as going into homeschooling when clearly that is not the case. These schools are using the system to better their graduation rates when they count a child as homeschooling when they are not leaving to homeschool at all.
The issue is not whether homeschooling can be a great alternative route for children who struggle in public school. The issue is that Indiana public school officials are making a false path for non-graduates being counted as homeschool students.
This practice not only skews the public school graduate to dropout ratio, but also skews homeschool demographic data. And it is disrespectful to serious homeschooling parents who make great personal sacrifices of time and money to provide their children an education.
Homeschooling can be very successful and a great path for those who take the time to invest in their children. Our concern is that some Indiana schools are failing children and inflating their numbers through falsely recategorizing dropouts as homeschoolers.
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to make homeschooling possible for those who genuinely desire to take responsibility for their children’s education. HSLDA’s attorneys and educational consultants come alongside to help parents homeschool legally and successfully. Our passion is helping homeschoolers succeed.
Indiana school officials must take responsibility of the children leaving the school system as dropouts. Dumping the children into a pot and calling it “homeschool” serves no one at all.