Marijuana Worse for Teen Brains Than Alcohol
After studying 3,826 students over four years in and near Montreal, Canada, results showed that cannabis had greater short- and long-term negative consequences than alcohol on the memory functions of teens in four crucial areas.
Researchers were surprised by the results of the study, which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Patricia Conrod, lead author and professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal, says, “We initially suspected alcohol would have a bigger effect.” But they “found that cannabis had greater short- and long-term consequences than alcohol on four key components of teens’ memory.”
The “cognitive functions” followed over four years, beginning when students were an average of 13 years old, included problem solving, long-term memory, short-term memory manipulation, and the ability to stop habitual behaviors.
Students were given memory tests and they self-reported their alcohol and marijuana use. The study was kept confidential unless a student was found to be in danger.
According to the study, “Young cannabis users may cause long-term damage to a brain function associated with substance abuse.” Conrod says researchers had previously found it “perplexing” that “young cannabis users have been shown to be at a greater risk for addiction later in life.” Changes in brain function make that less perplexing. In the area of “response inhibition — that’s an individual’s ability to change their actions to help meet a goal — researchers found that teens using marijuana caused long-term damage to their brains.” Use of marijuana leads to weak academic performance and other negative outcomes that have lifelong consequences.
Significant is that “the study could not tie alcohol to negative effects.” But naturally the risks from alcohol could increase later in life if the individuals continue to drink. The difference is that alcohol doesn’t appear to change brain function of young users as the active ingredients in marijuana apparently do.
Jean-François G. Morin, co-author of the study said that the cognitive functions affected “are necessary in order to perform well.” Morin says that cognitive changes not only occur in habitual users. He says, “There is no zero risk when it comes to (cannabis) use.” He concludes that it “is important that the public —particularly young people — have this information.” It seems that many try to hide these facts as the push for legalization of recreational marijuana pushes forward, making some individuals extremely wealthy.
The study was conducted at Sainte Justine Hospital and the University of Montreal in Quebec. (Montreal Gazette, 10-3-18) (USA Today, 10-6-18)
The timing of release of this research is interesting. Apparently Canadian politicians failed to read it or refused to heed its warning. On October 19th, Canada became the second nation in the world to legalize recreational use of marijuana. (Uruguay was the first.) The Canadian Senate vote of 52-29 was the final hurdle for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had promised to legalize the drug that has been strictly forbidden in the nation.
Thus begins a huge experiment to the north, which will likely result in dire consequences for young people.
United Nations Program for American Children
It has been reported that U.S. representatives attended and approved of a United Nations meeting in Argentina and signed an agreement that seems contrary to the interests of American children and families. This represents a continuation of the attempt to turn schools into training camps or “workforce development” sites where children learn to be “workers” or cogs, rather than individuals with God-given gifts and rights.
Journalist Alex Newman reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signed a declaration that approves such things as “sustainable development,” teaching children “values” at school, and creates an “Education Working Group” that includes G20 nations that are dictatorships.
The document says, “We recognize the value of policies based on evidence and the importance of having robust and comprehensive learning assessment systems and data in order to measure progress and learning outcomes, to help ensure quality education for all at all stages of life.” This means data-mining and cradle-to-grave tracking of citizens. Newman says this is part of the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. He calls UN Agenda 2030 “basically a road-map to global totalitarianism” and “an extremist document, which demands national and international wealth redistribution as well as brainwashing of all children.”
“Under the un-American vision agreed to last week in Argentina, the governments purported to commit their nations to globalized brainwashing under the guise of ‘education.’ To be clear, this is a dangerous policy document that, if implemented, will contribute to finalizing the destruction of traditional education in America and replacing it with a total indoctrination program aligned with the systems of some of the world’s most murderous autocracies.”
He suggests that Americans should be “outraged.” He asks how free nations could possibly build “consensus” on “education” with “murderous Islamist and Communist regimes that indoctrinate all children under their rule with evil ideologies of oppression.”
That is an excellent question. (FreedomProject.com, 9-10-18)
School Smeared to Promote Agenda
In the opinion of many, the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings were an example of media wrongdoing and leftist politicians run amok. Dredging up someone to accuse a middle-aged man of misdeeds in his youth who has lived an honorable life, and then “convicting” him amid a media circus without even one corroborating witness or one shred of evidence, created confusion and distrust in the minds of many. None were more affected than those associated with the school Kavanaugh attended as a teenager.
Georgetown Preparatory School is a Catholic, Jesuit day and boarding school for young men in grades 9 through 12 that was founded in 1789. It is located in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The school may eventually outlive the taint this fiasco put on it. Current students and their parents, faculty, and even the elderly parents of former students are among those who were harassed and had their personal space and dignity invaded by journalists during the Kavanaugh hearings.
One 2003 graduate who currently works as director of marketing and communications at Georgetown Preparatory School chose to expose the imposition of the media, some of their misdeeds, and the impact it is having on the school.
Patrick Coyle wrote an article in National Review titled “Georgetown Prep after the Smear.” In it he addresses the misrepresentations and outright lies about the institution that the media presented as facts to the public. He also details how the story unfolded and exposes the actions taken by journalists seeking dirt.
“One reporter from a national newspaper deceived his way into our library so that he could rummage through old yearbooks. Some of our alumni had news crews staked out in front of their houses. Reporters were even harassing their elderly parents, tracking down home addresses and banging on doors, demanding interviews.”
He says that “the lens trained on Georgetown Prep was warped, obscuring details that ran counter to preferred narratives, and the resulting portrait of our community was grossly distorted.”
“We were garishly described as an institution that ‘celebrated heavy drinking,’ ‘a troubled, morally questionable symbol of a snobby elite [where] alcohol was an integral part of the school’s identity,’ and a place where ‘disregard or mistreatment of women [was] widely accepted.’ A ‘debauched . . . scene of cloistered young men.’”
Coyle says that “those are just a few such insults from the more than 60 articles that appeared about Prep in the Washington Post alone.”
Why would the hometown newspaper seek to trash a local school? Because it fit the political agenda espoused by that newspaper as part of an effort to sink and destroy a conservative Supreme Court nominee.
About the unfounded and unproved accusations hurled at the school, Coyle says,
“It is hard not to wonder what has motivated all this deep indifference and indeed deep antipathy from the press. And it is harder still to avoid the conclusion that many simply sought an expedient narrative that would bolster the arguments made by their ideological allies, tipping the scales toward their preferred political outcome.”
That desired outcome would have been President Trump withdrawing Kavanaugh’s nomination, or asking the nominee to withdraw, or the Senate not confirming his appointment to the Supreme Court.
Many recall the same tactics successfully tanking the nomination of the well-qualified Robert Bork and the Coke can mess that threatened to tank Clarence Thomas’s appointment as a Justice.
As one piece of evidence to support his claims, Coyle notes that Joseph Schmitz wrote an essay about the allegations that journalists failed to explore. Schmitz is not only a 1974 graduate of Georgetown Prep, he also sent his sons to the school. He has a solid reputation and has “testified before Congress multiple times as a constitutional due process expert” and “served as a Senate-confirmed inspector general.” In his essay, Schmitz wrote that he was “not aware of any credible evidence that ‘misogyny ran deep’ at Georgetown Prep, not during my time there in the 1970s, not during Brett Kavanaugh’s time there in the 1980s, and not during my five sons’ time over two decades starting in 1995.” Coyle says, “No reporters ever contacted him for his input.”
Instead, one “journalist” snuck onto campus pretending to be a parent and another “deceived his way into our library so that he could rummage through old yearbooks.” Coyle says:
“Journalists phoned us by the dozens, mostly demanding to know how long we had presided over a circus of drug and alcohol abuse, misogyny, and criminality. At least these reporters gave us the courtesy of a call. Many other national media outlets simply ran archly critical stories without bothering to contact us at all.”
The Truth About Georgetown Prep
Here is some of what the Washington Post and other media failed to mention about Georgetown Preparatory School, according to Coyle:
“Every student takes rigorous classes in Christian ethics, personal and social. They all learn Catholic social thought, to understand the demands of a faith that does justice. The students themselves run what’s called the Arrupe Society, a service program that runs food drives and blood-donation initiatives, serves the Best Buddies program (founded by a Georgetown Prep alumnus), volunteers provide care at an assisted-living facility for elderly women, and tutors work in impoverished sections of our community.”
Coyle says that the school and “those programs helped produce alumni who went on to lives of public service — in elected office, the diplomatic corps, the military, the judiciary, and countless charitable groups such as Somos Amigos Medical Missions, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Special Olympics, and Save the Children.”
No school is perfect. Coyle says Georgetown Prep is willing to take responsibility for any way they’ve exhibited “shortcomings.” He says, “Yes, we have labored for years to protect students from a broader culture chockablock with degrading influences.”
“Human failing, and the effort to reconcile our lives with the teachings of Christ, are at the very heart of our school. We are not indifferent to sin and temptation. Indeed, we have built our lives around confronting them through faith and service.”
Coyle says, “Nobody at Georgetown Prep expects special pity in light of these experiences. Indeed, the problem is that almost any institution could be broadly caricatured in the underhanded way we have.” He goes on to mention that in 1981 the Washington Post “won a Pulitzer Prize for a story that its reporter had entirely fabricated.” He asks, “Does that mean the Washington Post fosters a culture of deceit?”
It should be pointed out that it is a fact the newspaper printed lies. This stands in contrast to accusations based on a series of murky recollections from one seemingly confused woman that she kept secret for decades before suddenly announcing them to the world.
Coyle says, “Balance and accuracy aren’t just abstract concepts. They are part of the explicit promise that news outlets make to the public they claim to serve.” He continues, “But anyone hoping for a nuanced and even-handed look at the true mission and track record of Georgetown Prep would have found few examples in the mainstream press.”
School administrators returned journalists’ phone calls and emails. The school president, Reverend James R. Van Dyke, “penned not one but three separate public statements and essays reflecting on where we could have done more while setting the record straight on the falsehoods told about us,” according to Coyle. But most media outlets presented a one-dimensional, untrue, unbalanced, and provocative picture of the school.
Coyle says, “We pointed out many of these problems in the reporting to our hometown paper, the Washington Post, and urged them to put serious thought to it. Instead, we got a reply that lectured us on the subtleties of journalism and insisted that they had done nothing wrong.”
The arrogance doesn’t stop there. Next, Washington Post reporters “asked if they could sit in on student classes and ask them ‘about the negative fallout.’” The response was an unequivocal “no.” (National Review, 10-27-18)
College? Only If It’s ‘Reliable’
On July, 23, 2015, Joy Pullmann wrote about obtaining a college education in The Federalist. Pullmann, the editor of that publication, said:
“Our country is substituting for the nobility of honest work that anyone can aspire to a false nobility of credentialing that requires permission checking from elites to obtain. One might recognize this as a distinctly authoritarian and inegalitarian view. In America, we don’t have royalty, and we used to look askance at people here who clothed themselves in its trappings. Now, we treat the credentialed as royalty, and my guess it’s because our pervasive progressivism teaches people to revere the ‘expert’ and trust him to run their lives instead of stepping up to run our own ourselves. One way for people to reassert their self-government is to honestly assess whether hopping on the college bandwagon is a genuinely good choice for them.”
Pullmann continues, “Every American deserves a quality K-12 education that negates the need to backfill with the liberal arts at the collegiate level. Almost nobody gets that, though, and while college isn’t for everyone that doesn’t mean no one should do it.”
The Federalist article begins with an introduction to The Apprentice School for Navy shipbuilders located in Newport News, Virginia. It is statistically as difficult to gain admission to that school as it is to Harvard University. Pullmann says, “The United States has few such apprenticeship opportunities now.” She says, “There are many reasons for this, among which I’d tag huge entry barriers such as minimum wage and minimum working-age laws (it costs Apprentice School sponsors $270,000 per apprentice), but a central one is certainly culture.” She says, “Many Americans, including our political leaders from both parties, now cruelly and falsely insist that a college degree is a non-negotiable ticket to a middle-class life.”
Then she quotes a statement that Mike Petters, the CEO of Huntington Ingalls, which owns the school, gave the New York Times. Petters says, “If you’re in the two-thirds of Americans that don’t have a college degree, how do you feel if someone says to be a success, you have to have it? It shouldn’t be a requirement for middle-class life. We have people in our organization who don’t and are great, who’ve raised families and had great lives.” (7-13-15)
In the same article, Pullmann provides a list of colleges that may be worth the money, time, and effort, and from which parents reliably stand a chance of getting back a child who hasn’t been brainwashed by wacko, leftist professors. In a takeoff on the list of fruits and vegetables that are most free of pesticides, Pullmann calls her list of colleges “The Clean 15.”
Unlike the list of foods that are safer to buy organic that is called the “Dirty Dozen,” the list of “dirty” colleges would be closer to twelve-hundred than to twelve. In fact, Pullmann’s list actually includes only 14 schools because she refused to pad it to equal fifteen. And to one of them, Wheaton College, she adds a caveat. Pullmann says about Wheaton, that “it seems to be tilting quite left in some departments.”
St. John’s College is Reliable
Included among those on Pullmann’s list is St. John’s College. It began in Maryland in 1696 as King William’s School, and boasts four signers of the Declaration of Independence as founders. It is the third-oldest college in the U.S.
In addition to the Annapolis, Maryland campus, the school opened a second campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1964.
St. John’s is a coeducational, liberal arts college with no religious affiliation.
The curriculum at St. John’s includes focus on great works and great ideas. “Students translate selected texts in Ancient Greek and French, while learning about the nuances of important texts and examining their deeper meaning.” They take “three semesters of Greek, three semesters of French, and two semesters of English prose and poetry.” The program of study “also includes three years of laboratory science including biology, physics, and chemistry, plus four years of mathematics.”
Individual class sizes at St. John’s range from 13 to 19 students and the overall professor to student ratio is 1:8. Students can be involved in theater and musical groups. They can join the photography club and various foreign language clubs. With its proximity to water, the Annapolis campus has sailing and rowing teams. The desert backcountry environment at the Santa Fe campus provides students an opportunity to learn about and participate in Search and Rescue activities.
Almost 70% of graduating seniors pursue graduate degrees in the humanities, science, business, law, or medicine. Among alumni earning doctoral degrees in humanities, St. John’s ranks in the top two percent in the nation. The school is in the top four percent among students earning terminal degrees in science or engineering.
Graduates of St. John’s have chosen varied career paths with results that include becoming “authors, winemakers, musicians, filmmakers, teachers, astrophysicists,” and more. (SJC.edu)
The new president of the San Francisco School Board, Stevon Young, has dropped the Pledge of Allegiance from the start of monthly meetings in favor of “quotes or the writings of a range of inspirational Americans, including writer Toni Morrison, gay rights icon Harvey Milk, and novelist James Baldwin.” (DailyWire.com, 10-14-18)
At a football game halftime in Jackson, Mississippi, the Forest Hills High School “band staged a halftime skit that depicted police being held at gunpoint.” Under normal circumstances that skit would be horrendous, but the school was at an away game at Brookhaven High in a town where six days earlier two police officers were killed in the line of duty. The high school band director at Forest Hills was suspended and the school district issued an apology. “In the skit, a handful of students dressed as doctors and nurses pointed fake AR-15-style rifles at other students dressed as SWAT team members.” (CNN.com, 10-9-18)
An anti-Trump Georgetown University professor expressed her displeasure about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court by writing on Twitter: “Look at [this] chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.” Dr. Carol Christine Fair tweeted other hate-filled and profane statements. At first the university did nothing. Then it was decided that instead of teaching students, she “will accelerate previously scheduled international research travel.” (FoxNews.com, 10-5-18)
Book of the Month
Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, Kristen A. Jenson, Glen Cove Press LLC, 2nd edition – 2018, $17.57
This 49-page book is currently one of Amazon’s 100 best-selling parenting books. Among its positive reviews is one written by a mother whose child was traumatized after seeing naked people on a friend’s phone. Both children are six years old. We live in a time when six-year-olds not only have cell phones but also the ability to access pornography.
Author Kristen Jenson founded ProtectYoungMinds.org, “a website that empowers parents with tools to help their kids to reject pornography.”
The book’s Introduction is titled “Why We’re Not Crazy for Writing This Book.” The short explanation of why they’re not crazy is because the average age of exposure to porn in the U.S. is nine. Nine years old!
The way to stop the pornography epidemic is to arm young people through education.
Jenson writes, “Looking at pornography tricks the brain into turning on very powerful feelings that are difficult to control, especially for kids. And that can become a big problem.”
One example of ways the author explains this sensitive subject to children occurs when the mother in the story picks up a toy race car. She says to her child, “Pretend this car is real. The gas pedal is like the attraction center. The brakes are like the thinking brain. What would happen if you pushed the gas to the floor and the brakes weren’t working?”
The young boy in the story to whom she is reading replies, “I would crash and get hurt.” Then the mother says:
“Right. Pornography is dangerous because viewing it can put the feeling brain and its attraction center in charge of driving you, a long time before your thinking brain has strong enough brakes to control those kinds of feelings. And that can lead to developing an out-of-control addiction.”
She hands the child the toy car and asks, “So, what are you going to do if you run into bad pictures?” The child answers, “I’m going to keep my thinking brain in charge by not looking at pornography.”
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to teach children about such things. In the world in which we live it has become a necessary priority. Rampant pornography addiction is ruining families and has an extremely negative impact on society.
Jenson has written a book for even younger children titled Good Pictures Bad Pictures Junior.
FOCUS: Free Lunches for Alabama Schools?
by Daniel Sutter
Originally published by the Heartland Institute in School Reform News on September 13, 2018. Reprinted with permission.
Several dozen Alabama school districts are offering free lunches to all students this year. Economists have long claimed that “There’s no such thing as a free lunch!” Although I don’t think that Alabama schools have proven economists wrong, this case illustrates a challenge of limiting government.
According to the Alabama Department of Education, school systems offering free lunches this year include Birmingham and Tuscaloosa city schools, and Mobile, Montgomery, Barbour, and Crenshaw county schools.
More than 4,000 schools nationally take advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The CEP provides free lunches and breakfasts, long available to children from low income households, to all children in qualifying low-income schools regardless of family income.
Economists’ skepticism about free lunches flows from the most fundamental economic fact of our world, scarcity. Scarcity means that our wants and desires exceed our ability to satisfy them, or that we can’t have everything we want. Resources used for lunch cannot be used for other things.
Alabama’s school lunches are not free; they cost us as federal taxpayers. They are better described as zero priced, as USDA funds let schools charge students a price of zero. The government cannot provide lunches or breakfasts — or college, healthcare, or any other good — free; it, and taxpayers, can only pay the bill.
Even if not free, is the CEP good policy? Answering this involves two separate questions. The first is the wisdom of free lunches for children from low-income families. The second is whether extending this to all students in low-income schools makes sense.
Poor children have long received free school lunches. Educators (and citizens) realize that hungry children will learn less, defeating the purpose of public schooling. Charities and school PTAs began providing lunches in the early 1900s. States and the Federal Government helped during the Great Depression. Congress passed the National School Lunch program in 1946.
School lunch programs also encourage healthy eating. One out of three American children today is overweight. Lunch programs let children eat at least one reasonably healthy meal each day.
But what about feeding children from well-to-do families? I can afford to feed my son, even though he attends a school which may be eligible for the CEP funds. Surely this is a waste of our tax dollars.
College football season is rapidly approaching, so I will borrow a “Not So Fast!” from retired coach and famed sports broadcaster Lee Corso. Providing free lunches for all students in low-income schools offers some advantages. Parents must sign their children up for free or reduced-price lunches. The CEP keeps children from slipping through a crack and going hungry. Schools save money otherwise spent on reviewing applications and verifying income eligibility.
Furthermore, children who do not pay for lunch may be stigmatized. Whether recipients of government assistance should be stigmatized is a very divisive question. We can debate whether adults should be held accountable for their choices that perhaps contribute to being on government assistance. But stigmatizing children for the (potential) sins of their parents seems cruel.
Collecting money from children who still must pay is costly and problematic for schools. Should children without lunch or lunch money go hungry? If allowed to eat, the district may never collect the money owed. Aggressive collection efforts, like pinning notes to parents on the child’s school uniform, again impacts children far more than parents. But it’s hard to blame school administrators either. Paying for lunches for children whose parents can afford to pay strains tight budgets.
Fiscal conservatives sometimes suggest that government can easily be kept in check by cutting waste. The late William Niskanen, long-time President of the Cato Institute, remarked that in all his decades in Washington, he never saw any budget line labeled “waste, fraud, and abuse.” Not paying for lunches for well-to-do kids might seem like a no-brainer. But controlling government spending almost always requires difficult choices.
Daniel Sutter earned his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He is the Affiliated Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center and Professor of Economics at the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University in Alabama. Professor Sutter specializes in the economics of weather but his skills translate to other areas, such as analyzing school lunch programs.
Texas School Staff Members Earn Six-figure Salaries, Study Finds
by Samantha Fillmore
Originally published by the Heartland Institute in School Reform News on August 16, 2018. Reprinted with permission.
Some 7,000 Texas government school staff and teachers account for $1 billion in annual costs to local and state taxpayers, a new report states.
In July, auditors for Open The Books, a nonprofit government-spending watch-dog organization, found that 7,327 Texas public school superintendents, administrators, teachers, and athletic directors drew six-figure annual salaries. The study found that less than 6 percent of the members of the $100,000 Club, as the study calls them, actively teach in a classroom. (OpenTheBooks.com)
Numbers That Jump Out
Lennie Jarratt, project manager for the Center for Transforming Education at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says it’s obvious something is wrong with Texas’ government school system.
“The biggest numbers that jump out, and the ones that people should be paying attention to, are the 7,300 educators making around six figures,” Jarratt said. He continued:
“Some principals are making over $300,000 annually. There’s a huge imbalance somewhere in the system.”
Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of Open The Books, says public school officials are receiving lavish perks financed by taxes and debt.
“There were pampered superintendents receiving huge severance pay for terminated contracts and massive salaries at districts with growing debt,” Andrzejewski said. “It’s important for taxpaying Texans to know how their money is being spent at the public school level across the state.”
Unions, Boards vs. Taxpayers
Jarratt says labor unions and public school boards have created a feedback loop that continually ratchets spending upward.
“From my history of looking at school boards and how they operate, they are essentially controlled by the teachers unions,” Jarratt said. “These unions elect their own people into the school boards and into these higher-paid positions, and then when they ramp up these superintendents’ and principals’ salaries, they can justify spending more for teachers’ salaries, and it turns into a symbiotic relationship where the spending of tax dollars just increases and increases.”
Andrzejewski says the public must demand more accountability from government school officials and politicians. “Taxpayers in Texas must ask the hard-hitting questions at the local level and demand transparency and fiscal responsibility in their own school districts,” Andrzejewski said. “You can’t fund children’s education when you’re funding an education bureaucracy.”
Samantha Fillmore is a Heartland Institute contributor who lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Homeschooling Gains Popularity With Oregon Parents
by Jeff Reynolds
Originally published by the Heartland Institute in School Reform News on September 12, 2018. Reprinted with permission.
Homeschooling is an increasingly popular option for Oregon parents who want to participate directly in their children’s education.
More than 22,000 Oregon children, out of an estimated 578,947 total children, are registered as homeschoolers, an August 24 news story by KATU.com reporter Jackie Labreque reports. The total number of homeschooled children is likely higher because not all parents comply with the state Department of Education’s reporting requirements.
Oregon parents who want to educate their children at home are required to file paperwork with the local government school education service district (ESD) within ten days of the child’s withdrawal from a government or private school.
Sweet Home, Oregon resident Dana Morehead homeschooled her two children for 16 years. Morehead says the benefits of homeschooling were well worth the time and expense.
“It was a full-time job, but I loved it,” Morehead said. “It allowed me to individualize their education, to focus on what they were weak on and what they were strong in, and encourage them to develop their skills to the best of their abilities.”
Brian Ray, president and cofounder of the National Home Education Research Institute, says the ability to personalize curricula to meet children’s individual needs is a significant advantage home education holds over other choices available to parents.
“When you homeschool, you can customize, or individualize, the curriculum,” Ray said. He continued:
If a child has some challenges at traditional school, what do you do? You give him an individualized education plan, or IEP. Well, that’s kind of like homeschooling. If you want it to be, home education can be a one-year-long IEP, and you don’t have to pay anybody to do it. The taxpayer doesn’t have to pay anybody to do it.
Concern for Their Kids
Morehead says homeschooling gave her the ability to ensure her children were receiving the skills they needed to succeed.
“I have a lot of parents talk to me and ask me questions about homeschooling and how to get started,” Morehead said. “They’re concerned for their kids, whether it be the quality of education their kids are receiving, or the environment that the kids are having to be in in the schools. If a child is struggling in school, they’re not getting the help they need in the public school.”
Studies show the educational outcomes of home education are comparable, if not superior, to those of children in government schools, Ray says.
“Research shows that homeschool kids are at least as good academically as public school kids.” Ray said, “The public schools have all government-certified teachers, and they spend $11,000 per year on each child. The homeschoolers do it with non-government-certified teachers and no tax dollars.
“The research shows, in study after study after study for 35 years now, homeschool kids do better academically than kids in public schools,” according to Ray. “It’s not an attack on public schools.” Ray says it’s clear why homeschooling works well for children. “If you only have two or three kids in your classroom, nobody’s offering them drugs, nobody’s trying to get them to watch pornography, nobody’s trying to get them to join a gang,” Ray said. “Why wouldn’t they do better?”
Jeff Reynolds writes for The Heartland Institute, a national nonprofit research and education organization with the mission to “discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.” The organization, which promotes “personal liberty and limited government,” is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois.