In 2011, then state Sen. Jim Wilson said there was “no way to verify that even minimum standards are being met” for homeschooled students. He called for truant officers to investigate those families and wanted homeschooling parents to submit routine reports on their children's academic progress. Wilson, D-Tahlequah, claimed it “just makes sense to have standards that make sure homeschooled students are getting the instruction they need to succeed ...”
At the time, some joked there was greater need to verify learning was occurring in many public schools. Homeschooling's successes are notable.
In 2009, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned Brian Ray, founder of the National Home Education Research Institute, to collect national 2007-08 academic year data on 11,739 homeschooled students who took the California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or Stanford Achievement Test. Ray found homeschoolers' average composite score was at the 86th percentile; public school students' average composite score was at the 50th percentile.
Homeschooled students scored at the 83rd percentile or higher even when they were from households with average income of $34,999 or less, were children of non-college educated parents, were from households where neither parent had ever been certified to teach, or were from homes where parents spent less than $600 on homeschooling.
In short, children taught by poor parents with no professional education background often outperformed students from the highly regulated setting Wilson deemed crucial for success.
Next year, a new state law requires retention of third-graders who lag in reading. Districts are emphasizing early intervention in response. The Tulsa World editorialized (emphasis added), “The prevention, however, ought not start as late as kindergarten. It must start well before that and in the home.”
That suggests even staunch defenders of public schools no longer hold the Wilsonian view of homeschooling as a strange education phenomenon — but now consider it a prerequisite for even public school success.