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Homeschoolers Save Fellow Taxpayers Billions of Dollars, Analysis Shows

September 6, 2017

New analysis of federal education data reveals families who homeschool their children save their fellow taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

The website Intellectual Takeout detailed the results in a chart, compiled from Census data on per-pupil spending and a calculation of the approximate number of homeschoolers in each state.

In line with a Pioneer Institute report revealing the United States’ 1.8 million homeschoolers save taxpayers $22 billion in annual education costs, the Intellectual Takeout chart, released in July, shows homeschooled students save taxpayers in each state anywhere from tens of millions of dollars to close to $2 billion every year.

Less populous states Vermont and Wyoming net $43 and $44 million, respectively, and the big states save billions. Each year, California citizens save $1.8 billion, New Yorkers save $1.7 billion, Texas taxpayers save $1.2 billion, and North Carolinians save $1 billion.

Intellectual Takeout noted these numbers should be taken as conservative, considering state differences in homeschool registration laws.

Says Estimates Are Low

Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) and editor-in-chief of the journal Home School Researcher, says the Intellectual Takeout estimates are too low because they fail to consider expenditures not needed for home-based education, such as school construction and bus costs. Ray said the Pioneer Institute’s estimate of $22 billion annual education savings is “just a little lower” than NHERI’s numbers.

In addition to the cost savings, parents are often better at instructing than traditional teachers, Ray says.

“Ninety percent of parents have never been certified teachers,” Ray said. “Parents [and other home-based teachers] provide the kind of education that certified teachers dream about, but they can’t do it.”

Ray says the solution for states that want to save taxpayers money is “encouraging as many people as possible” to consider home education.

Costly Fed Ed

Melanie Kurdys and Theresa Hubbard, presidents and leadership team members at the Michigan and Alabama chapters, respectively, of United States Parents Involved in Education, say the federal government is a big source of wasteful education spending.

“Simply, the Constitution and supporting documents assigned the responsibility of education to local communities, not even states,” Kurdys and Hubbard said in an email to School Reform News. “The drain of tax dollars from local communities to the federal government, only to be turned back to states and local communities with federally defined rules and regulations, has proven to be ineffective. The bureaucracy has added no value and therefore is simply wasteful.”

‘Parents Hate Common Core’

Kurdys and Hubbard say the federal government wasting money on such projects as the Common Core State Standards, a federal government-driven initiative seeking to impose uniform curricula across all 50 states, is frustrating families across the country.

“Parents hate Common Core and other practices becoming common in public schools, yet their concerns fall on deaf ears,” Kurdys and Hubbard said. “[Our goal] is to support parents as the primary educator of their children with a locally controlled education system that supports parents. Even if we kept the same actual spending on education, eliminating the cost of the bureaucracy would save the taxpayers money. Then, eliminating federal regulatory reporting requirements could mean reduced spending by states, or spending could be redirected to actual educational efforts.”

Harry Painter (jharrypainter@gmail.com) writes from Brooklyn, New York. 

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Harry Painter (jharrypainter@gmail.com) writes from Brooklyn, New York.