Despite the success homeschoolers have demonstrated in higher education, many politicians still seem to think parents are incapable of educating their children.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is the latest to raise concerns about children who don’t attend public or private schools, drawing a request from the world’s leading homeschool advocacy group, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, HSLDA, for an apology.
In a speech at a luncheon Tuesday, Hickenlooper said government “should do what people individually can’t do, or can’t do well themselves — you know, educating our young people, making sure our roads are designed and built properly, making sure our communities are safe.”
HSLDA responded, noting there are “tens of thousands of children in Colorado whose parents educate them quite well at home.”
Studies by the National Home Education Research Institute have found that homeschoolers who go on to college outperform their peers. USA Today reported homeschoolers graduated college at a higher rate than their peers — 66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent — and earned higher grade point averages, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.
HSLDA is calling on the Colorado governor to retract his remarks and issue an “apology to the tens of thousands of parents who save the state millions of dollars and responsibly and competently educate their own children at home.”
Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s staff attorney for Colorado, said many parents in Colorado and nationwide are ensuring that their children are properly educated by pulling them from the public education system.
The reasons for homeschooling vary, he said, but parents have voiced concerns about failing public schools, low standards and the the federal program Common Core.
He pointed out that Colorado law recognizes that parents have the primary responsibility to educate their children, and that home education is legitimate and appropriate.”
Colorado State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a longtime homeschooling parent and pioneer of home education in Colorado, shares Donnelly’s concerns.
“Governor Hickenlooper owes Colorado parents who educate their children at home a big apology,” he said. “To say that individuals cannot do well in educating children is either a direct slap in the face of those parents who have done an extraordinary job of teaching their children, or it is an incredible show of ignorance.”
RedState.com reported Colorado State Sen. Owen Hill, incoming chairman of Colorado’s Senate Education Committee, reacted to the governor’s comment.
“I hope to be able to work with the governor’s office in the upcoming legislative session, but hopefully we can find consensus that in order to improve the educational landscape in Colorado we must embrace the idea that individuals are fully capable of not only educating young people well, but creating solutions to educational needs that don’t always fit just under the one-size-fits-all banner of government.”