Public School System in America Term Paper

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¶ … public school system in America has been ridiculed for lack of consistency and unequal educational opportunities. In addition, private school education can be a rather expensive prospect for the average American family.

For this reason, many parents have turned to homeschooling as an alternative. For many this alternative has proven effective in educating their children but there are also some concerns. These concerns include socialization, college preparation and adequate oversights to ensure that children are learning at the correct level. The aforementioned concerns have been researched for many years, since interests in homeschooling first began. However a concept that has not been thoroughly studied is the reasons behind parental choice as it relates to homeschooling. Providing insight for this issue will be the focus of the proposed study.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the proposed research is to determine the factors that influence parental choice as it relates to homeschooling. To this end the research will examine the practical, moral and religious issues associated with making such a choice. The research will also investigate why homeschooling was chosen over private schooling as it relates to the aforementioned issues.

Review of Literature

History of Homeschooling

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Ryan & Stull (2000) assert that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with American public schools and that this trend bean in the 1980's. Even though there are many parents that have a favorable of the public school system, there are many parents and educators alike that believe the public school system in America has failed to properly teach children (Ryan & Stull 2000). The reasons for such beliefs are numerous and include disappointing SAT scores, sub-par educational achievement by minority groups, poor performance by American students when compared to students in other countries, sluggish national productivity growth, and growing disparities between rich and poor students (Ryan & Stull 2000).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Public School System in America Has Been Assignment

The authors also explain that in addition to the decline in the number of school aged children in American households political support for the funding of public education in America has also declined (Ryan & Stull 2000). In addition, more than at anytime in history parents have greater affluence and as such many have abandoned more traditional forms of education and sought customized educational experiences for their children (Ryan & Stull 2000).

As a result of these changes education in America has been long overdue for restructuring (Ryan & Stull 2000). A great deal of this restructuring has to do with the increased popularity of vouchers, charter schools, and homeschooling (Ryan & Stull 2000).

As it relates to home schooling, nearly all types of formal education are avoided and parents assume full educational responsibility for their children (Ryan & Stull 2000). The authors go on to explain that "Homeschooling refers to the process of educating children at home rather than at school. In effect, it is private education on the smallest possible scale, with most of the parents' cost incurred in the form of time commitment rather than money (Ryan & Stull 2000)."

The author explains that the current homeschooling movement is indicative of the discontent with public education in America (Ryan & Stull 2000). The authors explain that there are a plethora of reasons why parents choose homeschooling over public schools (Ryan & Stull 2000). These reasons are inclusive of the following To give their children an education that is more customized (Ryan & Stull 2000)

To provide a less structured learning environment (Ryan & Stull 2000)

To instill in their children certain religious values (Ryan & Stull 2000)

To shield their children from drugs, crime, and peer pressure (Ryan & Stull 2000)

To reinforce familial relationships (Ryan & Stull 2000)

The authors further assert that Van Galen and Pittman (1991) that the families that choose homeschooling can be placed into two broad groups: the ideologues and the pedagogues. The ideologues are usually conservatives who choose homeschooling as an alternative to enforce religious and family values (Ryan & Stull 2000). The pedagogues are usually liberals, often teachers, who want to provide a less structure, more customized education for their children than is available in a public or private institutional setting. When homeschooling first began most parents involved were pedagogues (Ryan & Stull 2000). However, more recently the emphasis of the movement has changed and the ideologues are now predominant in the movement (Ryan & Stull 2000). Another article contends that The contemporary homeschooling movement began sometime around mid century as a liberal, not a conservative, alternative to the public school. A handful of families (possibly as many as 10,000) in the late fifties and early sixties found schools too rigidly conservative. They pursued instead a liberal philosophy of education as advocated by educators such as the late John Holt, who believed that the best learning takes place without an established curriculum, and that the child should pursue his own interests with the support and encouragement of parents and other adults (Lines 2000)."

Lines (2000) further explains that in the 1980s, as the school culture began to become more liberal, conservative and religious families found themselves in a countercultural position (Lines 2000). Some of these conservative parents enrolled their children in private Christian schools and others began homeschooling (Lines 2000). Many parents asserts that their religious beliefs required them to teach their children at home while others wanted to integrate religion, learning, and family life (Lines 2000). The author asserts that "Both the left and right wings of homeschooling are active today, and many families have both philosophical and religious reasons for their choice. Joining them are many homeschoolers who simply seek the highest quality education for their child, which they believe public and even private schools can no longer provide (Lines 2000)."

Current Trends in Homeschooling

The authors insists further that the amount of homeschooled children in America will probably increase in the future as a result of the legislative changes that are occurring (Ryan & Stull 2000).

The authors also contend that although the number of homeschooled children has increased this form of schooling is unlikely to become a major force in the American education system as a result of its considerable cost as it relates to parental time and energy (Ryan & Stull 2000).

Houston & Toma (2003) assert that as a result of the information age and the global economy there are certain constraints that have been placed on public schools and the manner in which they educate children. As a result of these constraints there has been a noticeable increase in parental choice regarding the type of education that children receive.

Many parents are choosing home schooling. The article points out that there has been very little research related to the reasons why parents ultimately choose home schooling, there are more that 1 million children that are home schooled (Houston & Toma 2003).

The authors further explain that throughout history parents have chosen the manner in which their children are educated. During the 17th and 18th century families that were wealthy often hired tutors but others were taught at home by their parents (Houston & Toma 2003). During this period home schooling was carried out because there was not any other alternative (Houston & Toma 2003). However when compulsory education became the standard there was an abundance of public schools and the amount of children being schooled at home diminished greatly (Houston & Toma 2003).

However, in today's environment home schooling is becoming popular once again (Houston & Toma 2003).

The authors further assert that the limited amount of research that has been conducted related to the reasons why parents choose home-schooling, the research that does exist seems to assert that the antiestablishment climate that was present during the 1960's brought about the modern movement of home schooling (Houston & Toma 2003). In addition, in more recent years, it has been asserted through the media and other outlets have asserted that religious fundamentalist prefer that their children be taught in the home (Houston & Toma 2003).

Whatever the reason for the increase in homeschooling, it is evident that there has been a significant increase in the number of students that are homeschooled (Houston & Toma 2003). The authors further explain that In the 1970s, the government and various home school groups estimated the home school population to be between 10,000 and 20,000 students. By the late 1980s, the numbers had grown to between 120,000 and 260,000. Recent estimates put the home school population between 1.2 million and 1.6 million and growing at the rate of 10% per year. Home-educated children make up about 1.5% of total school enrollment and 15% of nonpublic enrollment. Some researchers feel the home school population will reach 3 million by the end of this decade (Houston & Toma 2003)."

The author also explains that there has been a noticeable change in public attitudes towards homeschooling in the last 15 years (Houston & Toma 2003).

The article reports that in 1986 a poll conducted by Phi Delta Kappa on 16% of those polled… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Public School System in America.  (2006, November 9).  Retrieved December 4, 2021, from

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"Public School System in America."  9 November 2006.  Web.  4 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Public School System in America."  November 9, 2006.  Accessed December 4, 2021.