(THE FEDERALIST) -- The Washington Post this past weekend published the latest installment in its series smear campaign against the booming homeschooling movement, this one provocatively titled “What home schooling hides: A boy tortured and starved by his stepmom.” It is, admittedly, a tragic story of abusive parents who used state homeschooling laws as a cover to abuse and neglect their children, ultimately resulting in the death of their 11-year-old son. Yet this story is less representative of a nationwide crisis of homeschooling abuse than it is a shameful attempt to undermine one of the most successful and transformative movements in American education.
The Truth About Abuse and Neglect of Minors
“Little research exists on the links between home schooling and child abuse,” WaPo journalist Peter Jamison admits in his article. “The few studies conducted in recent years have not shown that homeschooled children are at significantly greater risk of mistreatment than those who attend public, private or charter schools.” Yet, the piece adds, “the research also suggests that when abuse does occur in homeschool families, it can escalate into especially severe forms — and that some parents exploit lax home education laws to avoid contact with social service agencies.” But how much is “some” parents?
To support the claim of exploiting “lax home education laws” to hide abuse, the Post cites a 2014 study that found that of more than two dozen tortured children treated at medical centers in five states, eight of 17 victims old enough to attend school were homeschooled. You read that right — the most damning evidence The Washington Post can cite to support the claim that homeschooling is facilitating widespread abuse or neglect of minors across the United States is a study with a sample size of 17 children.