What these critics fail to understand is the great service homeschooling parents provide to the community by choosing to educate their children at home. A Heritage Foundation report on homeschooling estimated that based on the national average (2002) of $4934 per pupil expenditure on education, homeschoolers save American taxpayers billions:
“Given the Department of Education’s conservative estimate of 898,000 students who were educated entirely at home in 2003, the National Home Education Research Institute’s estimate of 2 million homeschool students, and the national average per pupil expenditure on instruction, homeschooling likely saves American taxpayers and public schools at least $4.4 billion to $9.9 billion in instruction costs each year.”
At today’s price of more than $10,000 per pupil in education spending (times two million homeschooled students) that bumps the potential savings up to $20 billion each year.
If those two million students suddenly enrolled in school, someone would have to foot the bill to educate them. The burden would shift from the parents, who now self-fund the education of their children (while continuing to pay federal, state, and local taxes to support the education of others in the community), to the taxpayers. While $20 billion is a drop in the national education bucket (Ohio alone spends $6.8 billion a year on education), most school districts perpetually run on razor-thin budgets, increasing class sizes, scaling back athletic teams, ending extracurricular activities, and even cutting school bus routes, forcing children to walk to school because of a lack of funding.
Conservatives should certainly appreciate that homeschoolers save the taxpayers a boatlaod of money. And our liberal and progressive friends and the “heavily unionized and reliably Democratic teachers” could perhaps view that savings as more wealth to spread around to everyone else. But regardless of your political point of view, you owe a debt of gratitude to homeschooling families for their selfless decision to pay their own way to educate their children, lessening the burden on everyone else in our society. Far from “undermining” the schools, homeschoolers may actually be helping them to survive in these difficult economic times.
So how about a little love (or maybe a thank you note) today to your neighborhood homeschooling family for the economic contributions they make that ultimately benefit our country?