Scientific American Magazine Calls for Federal Homeschooling Regulations

Uwe Romeike and his wife Hannelore work with their children Daniel (13 yrs.), Lydia (10 yr
Wade Payne/AP

Scientific American magazine is calling for federal regulations for homeschooling, even suggesting that parents of homeschooled children “undergo a background check.”

The opinion was put forth in a June 17 newsletter, first citing National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showing that nearly three percent of American children — 1.5 million — were homeschooled in 2019.

The newsletter admits that homeschooled children have excelled, going on to win national spelling bees, even pointing to famed Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős, who was homeschooled by his mother.

“But most states don’t require the same assessment of homeschooled kids that are required for their public school peers. Parents are not required to have an education themselves to direct instruction,” the newsletter explains, identifying this as a problem, “and in most states, no one checks to see that children are receiving an education at all. In the worst cases, homeschooling can hide abuse.”

The newsletter concludes that “homeschooling should be subject to some basic federal mandates.” Editors of the Scientific American espouse this controversial opinion in the June issue, concluding that “homeschool parents should be required to undergo a background check — the same as K-12 teachers.”

“Additionally, homeschool instructors could be required to submit documents every year to their local school district or to a state agency to show that their children are learning,” it continues.

“Education is a basic right,” the editors say. “We need to make sure kids have chances to investigate what makes them curious, study history and science and reading.”

Another look at data from NCES shows that homeschooling is largely rooted in combatting toxic school environments and a lack of moral instruction.

Eighty percent of homeschoolers said they homeschool because they have a concern about school environment (which could include safety, drugs, negative peer pressure, or other issues), 75 percent said they desire to provide moral instruction, another 75 percent said they want to put an emphasis on family life together, and 59 percent said they have a desire to provide religious instruction.

Further, nearly three quarters, 73 percent, said they homeschool because they have a dissatisfaction with the academic instruction at other schools. To further demonstrate that point, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress testing found that just 32 percent of fourth graders read at or above proficiency for their grade level in 2022.

The call from Scientific American editors comes as the public education system in America faces continued scrutiny, particularly as some teachers have attempted to inject left-wing causes and talking points into the classroom. In 2023, for example, the Los Angeles Unified School District hosted a “Rainbow Club,” to teach kids as young as five years old about LGBT-related topics, and there has been controversy nationwide about what some describe as “pornographic” books in schools, some of which have been highlighted by the DeSantis administration in Florida.

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There are countless stories across the nation with parents expressing dissatisfaction with the public education system. As another example, last year John Glenn Elementary — located in an Oklahoma school district — hired a drag queen as a principal of the school. And there are myriad videos showing teachers bragging about indoctrinating children in the classroom — whether it be about the LGBT agenda, race relations, or revisionist, anti-America history — not to mention the controversies over the forced masking of children in schools during the coronavirus pandemic era.

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