Many high school truants are masquerading as homeschoolers by registering as homeschoolers but are really dropping out of school.
- Truancy is and has been a persistent, serious problem for public high schools.
- Regulating homeschoolers does not solve the public school truancy problem.
- Raising the red herring of homeschooling truants diverts focus and resources from finding solutions to the causes of public school truancy./li>
According to the 2003 Oregon Department of Education report on high school outcomes (the last year one was compiled), national high school graduation rates peaked in the 1960s at just over 77%, and have been declining since then. For the class of 2003 in Oregon public high schools:
|Started(Grade 9)||47,148 students||100.00%|
|Received regular diploma||32,466||68.90%|
|Dropped out (see note 1)||8,217||17.40%|
|Attended 4 years, no diploma||2,782||5.9%|
|Earned a GED||1,734||3.7%|
|Left high school to home school (note 2)||307||0.7%|
|Legally withdrawn (note 3)||302||0.6%|
|Received adult high school diploma||119||0.3%|
Note 1: These 8,217 dropouts do not include students that have registered as homeschoolers.Note 2: This statewide pool of 307 students who left high school to homeschool is where the alleged “truants masquerading as homeschoolers” are counted.
Note 3: These are students who were placed in corrections, mental health or substance abuse facilities.This report includes the reasons cited by the students who dropped out.
- For girls, the most frequently cited responses were “pregnant or student parent,” “health problems caused frequent absences,” and “needed at home to take care of family members.” To help these girls that the state has already identified as being at risk, access to affordable health care will have a much larger impact than requiring a standardized test.
- For boys, the most frequently cited reasons for dropping out were “frequent discipline referrals,” “substance abuse” and “does not speak English well or at all.” Substance abuse treatment and ESL classes would make far greater difference for these boys that the state has already identified as being at risk than standardized testing.
In summary, for every 1 student that left high school to home educate:
- 27 dropped out, and
- 16 attended school but did not graduate, or were jailed or in treatment programs, or finished high school through alternative means (GED or adult high school diploma)
With over 11,600 students from the class of 2003 that did not complete high school, it is unconscionable to focus on some unknown but small percentage of the 307 students who allegedly registered as homeschoolers but received no education, when doing so:
- Diverts the focus and funding from reaching the other 11,300 students (still living) that the state knows are not receiving an education, and
- Limits the educational choices of the roughly 20,000 home educating students statewide.
Graduates and Dropouts in Oregon High Schools 2002-2003, Oregon Department of Education