How to Raise Your Child's ACT Score and College GPA

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan played point man for the Obama administration in its battle plan to damage Governor Rick Rick by means of attacking Texas' school system.

Duncan said,

Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college....

I feel very, very badly for the children there.

Time magazine (yes, that Time magazine) was quick to point out that Duncan has little room to talk. Compared to the schools in Chicago, where he calls home, Texas minority students outperform Chicago students.  The Lone Star State's graduation rate is also higher.

That's not saying Texas doesn't have problems. A majority of its school children are academically unprepared for college. However, that's not a problem exclusive to Texas.

According to the ACT test, only 30 percent of California students have learned enough to succeed in college without remediation. The other 70 percent will need to play catch-up before they can be considered ready for post-secondary education.

Oregon, another deep blue state, can only boast 25 percent of its students as being fully prepared:

Results indicate that college-readiness levels are stagnant among the state's college-bound students. That's true despite a proliferation of high school calculus courses and the state's recent drive to offer more Advanced Placement math and science.

Fully half of the Oregon students who took the national college-entrance exam are unprepared to pass freshman college math, and two-thirds are unprepared for college science.

New York? Unprepared.

Michigan? Unprepared.

Vermont? Yeah, unprepared.

Across America, 75 percent of high schoolers will need one or more remedial classes before they are ready for college.

ACT says they don't track scores based on what type of school a student attends, whether it is public, private, or at home, but the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) does.

In February, they told the Christian Post the 2009 test scores showed homeschool children were, on average, more prepared for college than public school children:

According to the organization behind the standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions, the 11,535 homeschoolers who took the ACT in 2009 scored an average of 22.5. The average score of the total 1.48 million students who took the exam was 21.1.

"This is a remarkable achievement and shows that homeschool parents are successfully preparing their children for college," commented Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association.

According to ACT Inc., which produces the test, research shows that high achievement on the ACT strongly indicates a "greater likelihood of success in college."

In 2010, CBS MoneyWatch reported that not only do homeschool students perform better on the ACT, but their superior performance continues throughout their academic career:

The research, which was conducted by Michael Cogan, the director of institutional research and analysis at the University of St. Thomas, focused on the experiences of homeschooled students at an unnamed medium-sized university in the upper Midwest.

Here are some of Cogan’s findings:

  1. Homeschool students earned a higher ACT score (26.5) versus 25.0 for other incoming freshmen.
  2. Homeschool students earned more college credits (14.7) prior to their freshmen year than other students (6.0).
  3. Homeschooled freshmen were less likely to live on campus (72.4%) than the rest of the freshmen class (92.7%).
  4. Homeschoolers were more likely to identify themselves as Roman Catholic (68.4%).
  5. Homeschool freshmen earned a higher grade points average (3.37) their first semester in college compared with the other freshmen (3.08).
  6. Homeschool students finished their freshmen year with a better GPA (3.41) than the rest of their class (3.12).
  7. The GPA advantage was still present when homeschoolers were college seniors. Their average GPA was 3.46 versus 3.16 for other seniors.
  8. Homeschool students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).

Cogan also found that homeschoolers, "unsocialized" as they allegedly are, were also more likely to engage in community service while in school. They also vote more.

One of the most common arguments against homeschooling is to claim that parents are unqualified. Critics claim they have not completed the education and training required to properly educate a child. Only professionals who have been deemed competent by the state should be allowed such an important task.

The ACT scores tell a different story. As does the study commissioned by the HSLDA in 2009:

In short, the results found in the new study are consistent with 25 years of research, which show that as a group homeschoolers consistently perform above average academically. The Progress Report also shows that, even as the numbers and diversity of homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past 10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizable gap in academic achievement between themselves and their public school counterparts-moving from about 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner study (1998) to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009).

Duncan's record is beaten not only by Texas, but by moms and dads who also have to work jobs, mow lawns, cook dinners, and do everything else that comes with the job of raising a child.

Parents don't have the government's infrastructure or vast pools of taxpayer money. But they consistently do a better job of educating children than the system Duncan has dedicated his life to defending.

This isn't an indictment of the system as a whole. There are teachers who are dedicated to their job.

But there is no one more dedicated to the education of their child than the homeschool parent, and it shows.