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Do Homeschoolers ‘Rob’ Public Schools of Tax Dollars?

Your child represents a sum of money that can pay for teachers' Cadillac benefit plans.

by
Paula Bolyard

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April 14, 2014 - 11:00 am
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Marcia Clemmitt recently published an extensive report on homeschooling at CQ Researcher. In “Homeschooling: Do Parents Give Their Children a Good Education?,” Clemmitt, a “social policy researcher” and former high school teacher attempts to explain the economic impact of homeschooling in the United States:

Since public schools are allotted government dollars based on the number of pupils they enroll, districts where home schooling’s growth is greatest inevitably lose cash. Arizona’s Maricopa County school district, for example, had lost $34 million by the year 2000 because 7,526 students were being home-schooled.

While I do not doubt for a minute the propensity of government schools to “lose cash,” homeschooling is not to blame.

A report from The Heritage Foundation in 2009 found that just the opposite is true — homeschooling eases the burden on local public schools, saving them billions:

An additional benefit of homeschooling comes in the form of savings to taxpayers and school systems. Analysts have estimated that homeschooled students save American taxpayers and public schools between $4.4 billion and $9.9 billion annually. Other estimates are as high as $16 billion.

The argument that homeschoolers deprive public schools of tax money is based on the premise that each child represents a sum of money to which the school has an inherent right. When parents choose to educate their children outside the public school system, opponents of homeschooling say, those students are “robbing” districts of money to which they are entitled by virtue of the fact that the child happens to live in their district.

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Top Rated Comments   
If my family homeschools we certainly won't be the beneficiaries of any ill-gotten gains. Maybe the real robber is the government who takes my property taxes whether or not I use the school.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (6)
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The opposite is true. My wife and I home school our kids, and the government forces us to pay for a product we don't use - public "education".

So, who's robbing who?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
If my family homeschools we certainly won't be the beneficiaries of any ill-gotten gains. Maybe the real robber is the government who takes my property taxes whether or not I use the school.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder if the anti-homeschoolers will ever swallow their pride and say that home-schooling needs to be stopped because the students in the public schools are too mediocre without the gifted students who decide to home-school? I could almost picture them demanding that the gifted students be forced back to public schools to help the less gifted students and set an example for them. We might even see them saying the mentally-challenged students need to come back so that the special needs teachers can justify their salaries....
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
One factor not mentioned is that homeschooled students probably have a higher likelihood of belonging to a category that brings in "bonus" revenue to the school districts. Families who are Federal (and military) employees or reside on federal property; gifted and talented; special needs; advanced placement.....
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed, the marginal cost of educating a child should be only slightly lower than average because averaging the cost of a building and utilities over 400 vs 401, students isn't a huge deal. This is especially true as so many people fall into the "student/teacher ratio" arguement.

Besides, home schoolers are still paying taxes, which should definitely pay well over that marginal difference.

The cost of educating a student should be fairly close to even. So the only way I would say it is costing districts is if there were added volatility in the system due to homeschoolers constantly changing their mind on their method of schooling, which by my empirical observation I find extremely unlikely.

I agree: the claim doesn't hold water.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Paula, you're trying to argue facts and logic to people who put up soviet propaganda posters in their kitchen and dining rooms.

Only war can fix this problem.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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