Tuesday, May 10, 2005
HOMESCHOOLING AND PRIVATE ED: GOOD FOR “NE” BUT WHAT ABOUT “NE”?
According to a study by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, homeschooling saves that state’s taxpayers between $24.3 million and $34.6 million a year, and private schools save them an additional $101.9 million to $147 million, because those children weren’t enrolled in public schools.
Now, we all know about Nebraska’s budget crunch, and how much worse our state aid to education crunch would be if Nebraska’s homeschoolers and private-schoolers were all enrolled in the publics. It would sure be nice to see what these same figures are for the Cornhusker State. I bet they’d be pretty impressive.
The estimates are from the report, "Homeschooling in Nevada: The Budgetary Impact," by John Wenders, Ph.D. and Andrea Clements, Ph.D., as reported in an article in School Reform News, www.heartland.org, by Krista Kafer.
The full report is available at http://www.npri.org/mgraphs/NvHomeschooling.pdf
In 2003, Nevada’s home- and private school students allowed school districts to avoid costs totaling between $126.2 million to $181.7 million -- "amounts far in excess of the 'lost' revenue in state aid," Wenders and Clements wrote.
"The argument that homeschooled children cause school districts to 'lose' money is based on the false premise that children are automatically the property of their local public school," Wenders said. "Children are not, by default, the property of any school, and public schools cannot 'lose' what they do not own. Children are, first and foremost, in the care and keeping of their parents, who then have a right to decide what education is best for them."
The bottom line is that home- and private schooling is a 'win-win' arrangement for both taxpayers and individual public school districts," the authors wrote.
Responding to the claim that the study's methodology doesn't address fixed costs that do not decline when students choose nonpublic schooling, the authors state, "their logic is belied by their own figures when student numbers increase. When student numbers increase, costs are said to increase and additional funding is required. When student numbers decrease, however, costs are never said to decrease. Plainly there is a self-serving asymmetry to this argument."
The article reports that, during the 2003-04 school year in Nevada, 4,136 students were schooled at home and another 17,894 received education at private schools.
Nationally, the number of homeschooled students has increased from 15,000 in the 1980s to an estimated 2 million in the current decade. According to Wenders and Clements, homeschoolers now represent from 1.8 percent to 3.7 percent of the U.S. student population.
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