Home Schooling

Don Boudreaux comments on a study done by John Wenders and Andrea Clements. The study shows that taxpayers are saved “big money” when children are home schooled. The article suggests that by children being home schooled benefit the school districts in the long-run by relieving total costs of educating them. An annual potential cost of savings to Nevada, where the study was done, taxpayers can be any where from $24.3 million to $34.6 million attributable to home schooled students. The money saved on those taught at home can be used to enhance the educational opportunities of those who attend public schools.
Business should encourage home schooling because more money will be used to enhance the education of those that attend public schools. Because workers will be more prepared, marginal productivity will increase and business profits will go up. I could be totally off on this one but I’m sure Tufte will let me know, and give me full credit.


Jane said...

The problem I see with home-schooling is that, in my experience, many home-schooled children are lacking in social skills and are often poorly educated.

It would also seem to me, that more funds to educate children is not an answer ... our public schools already have more than enough money, it's just severely mismanaged.

sandy said...

There are pros and cons to home schooling. There are pros and cons to public schooling. Just like a lot of products aren't useful and/or suitable to everyone, homeschooling isn't for everyone. Same with public schooling. My spouse was home schooled for a good portion of her life. She has social skills that are better than a lot of people I knew, and know, that went to public school. She is also about to graduate with her bachelor's degree with a 3.8 GPA.

Dr. Tufte said...

The Nevada study is funded by a group in favor of home-schooling, so you shouldn't be surprised that they support it.

Having said that, I have read that study and I don't find it to be particularly biased, so it's financial conclusions are probably fine.

I do think a lot of the discussion on this stuff is wrong-headed though. We ought to be looking at final outcomes, and total costs. Final outcomes are the educational results for home schooling, and the record here is pretty good. As to total costs, claiming that it is saving the state money is an incomplete approach because it doesn't capture the amount the home schooling parents are paying out of pocket.

Probably the most important point to start out from in this debate is that regulated school districts fall into the textbook category of lazy monopolists (that isn't always in a ManEc book, but will usually be in a straight micro book). Lazy monopolists tend to waste a lot of money, and this can be hard to recognize because they waste it a little bit at a time everywhere throughout the operation.

An alternative way of looking at this is if your goal was to create a costly system that would be unable to deliver regular quality improvements, you'd design it like a school district.

This is not to say that the school district structure doesn't have other benefits, just that it will have a fundamental pattern of behavior that is not similar to other institutions.

ron said...

The dangerous thing with home schooling, in an academic sense, is that there are not that many parents who can provide a quality education for their kids. True they may be able to teach values, but math and science are a different story. Do we really want to encourage home schooling when it would fill our streets full of "idiots". I think the cost of stupid people walking around would outweigh the benefits.

Jones said...

Sure the funding saved on home schooled children will go to improve the education of public schooled children, but what is expected to happen to these home schooled children? Are we just going to let them get left behind so the public schooled children can excel? This doesn't seem right to me. I'm against home schooling myself. I think children need to learn the social skills that are acquired when attending public schools growing up. Conversing with kids your own age is vital to developing into a well-rounded human being. If we encourage home schooling over public school we might save a little money, but we will in return have a society full of introverts and book worms.