Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama's position on homeschooling

NPR did a side-by-side comparison of McCain and Obama on education. One section was titled, School Choice: Vouchers, Charters and Home Schooling. McCain's paragraph affirms his support of homeschooling.

McCain supports vouchers, home schooling, charter schools and generally any policy that helps parents choose the private or public school that they want their children to attend. School choice, McCain argues, will create market forces that will spur competition among schools, not just for students but for the best teachers. He has also said that he would expand federally funded vouchers called Opportunity Scholarships that would let more parents pick the school of their choice.

Obama's section does not mention homeschooling at all.
Obama also wants to give parents more options when they pick a school for their children, but he would limit those choices to public charter schools. He does not support vouchers for children to attend private and parochial schools.
What are Obama's thoughts on homeschooling? The only evidence that Obama supports homeschooling comes from a quote in his book, The Audacity of Hope on page 344.
"none of these policies need discourage families from deciding to keep a parent at home…For some families, that may mean doing without certain material comforts. For others it may mean home schooling….Whatever the case may be, such decisions should be honored."
I'm humbled that Obama wants to "honor" the decision, but does that mean he won't seek to increase oversight of those who homeschool?

According to NPR, Obama's education proposal "borrows many ideas from several commissions that promote the national certification of teachers." Further, Linda Darling Hammond, is key Obama advisor on education and a strong proponent of teacher certification.
"If we are serious about leaving no child behind, we need to go beyond mandates to ensure that all students have well-qualified teachers." (Emphasis in original)
Does Hammond's "all" include parents who homeschool?

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