Instigator / Pro

THBT On Balance, Homeschooling Should NOT be Abolished in US


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Contender / Con

"Homeschooling or home schooling, also known as home education or elective home education, is the education of school-aged children at home or a variety of places other than school" -- Wikipedia

Abolish -- to get rid of, to remove completely

US: United States

Why US? There is probably most evidence in US about homeschooling and the controversial movement.

Burden of proof is shared. No new arguments in the final round.

Round 1
There are countless benefits of homeschooling that ensures it to be an excellent alternative to normal schooling. Here I will list some of the most notable benefits backed by common sense:
  • The parents are able to interact more with the kid
  • the customization of the course/learned material can be more flexible and suited towards the kids
  • The student-teacher ratio is very low and thus the learning would be more efficient
  • life skills may be focused on more, rather than merely specific subjects
  • due to the close family bond, counseling and mental health therapy may be more intimate and useful, also immediately accessible
  • Foster the parent-child bond further and increases the sense of safety
Now for some expert backed information to ensure that my assertions won't be knocked down. From a book about homeschooling, [1] page 100 explains that "increased parental involvement improves student outcomes". This proves my rational thinking that the closer interaction results in equal or better academic performance. Indeed, the expert quickly explains "homeschooling is the only educational approach...that are as high scholastically as.. their high-SES counterparts". The explanation is similar to the mental health idea. With more thorough knowledge and love of their children, they would have greater motivation and an advantage against the public school counter parts. There is even mention of the idea that the school may become too mechanical and overly standardized.

The legislators can keep their strict standard cake and eat it too, with the dominance of this standard overcoming the public schools. It seems unlikely that we can reform or stop it, but homeschooling as an alternative seems reasonable to counter act against the needs of the schools. The adjustment of progress also explains my efficiency point. On page 105, the expert smartly notes, "a large enough percent of those in the class [must] understand the idea for the teacher to justify moving on the next concept". As such, a smarter or dumber student would both be at risk, since the smart person could waste potential time, while the confused student would struggle to catch up. Clearly, there is a unique advantage to keep homeschooling.

The public school system has gotten more rigid and unmoving over time. We should encourage home schooling due to flowing well with advantages and preventing disadvantages alike. Just why should we abolish home schooling?

For a short address on top, I’m going to answer my opponent’s points in the order they were made, and then I’ll give direct advantages to abolishing homeschooling.

Let us first look at my opponent’s points.

Firstly, parents interacting with their child isn’t inherently a net benefit. This isn’t impacted out as a necessarily good thing, and that’s because there is no benefit. There’s actually a lot of arguments made in the article that it can harm children, such as increasing the risk of divorce if both parents aren’t happily employed and causing a psychological feeling of guilt in parents that can trickle down.

Next, arguments that flexible curriculums can be more suited for children really downplays the importance of why curriculums are invented to be standardized. These standardizations are important to education for two reasons. Firstly, they ensured that all kids were to achieve an equitable level of education. While there might be gaps in education through public schools, there still is a floor you can’t fall through, while homeschooling has no safety net. Secondly, these standards are found by the general public through our republic (on a state or federal level) to be the bare minimum that students need to succeed. This means deviation from the standard will be met with backlash from employers and colleges.

Next, cross apply arguments about why curriculums are important reasons that even with very low student-teacher ratios, students’ education still won’t be benefited.

Arguments about life skills are relative. With the existence of home economics classes, business and finance management classes,and physical education, whatever is defined as “life skills” can be handled in public education. In fact, curriculum requirements can guarantee a student will learn important life skills while homeschooling has no such guarantee due to a lack of legal accountability.

This is just a warrant to the first point about family interaction;therefore, cross apply the no benefit statistic to family interaction.

Once again, no benefit to family interaction.

Lastly, all of the arguments from the book are just to warrant out my opponent’s points, meaning we answer that.

Moving on to advantages to banning.

First, there will be a direct decrease in child abuse. As Cited in my second link, as well as here,teachers, being mandatory reporters, account for the largest single group of referrals to Child Protective Services, at 20.5%. With 3%of children being homeschooled in the status quo, this is 3% of children that could possibly never come into contact with a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse. Utilizing the numbers in the first cited statistic of this point,as well as the 3% statistic, you find that statistically 20,340 children in homeschooling will be abused comparing it to reported cases only. This doesn’t take into the fact that an abusive parent would find unregulated homeschooling better to abuse their child creating a proclivity that way either. Even if you don’t want to bump up the number on that logical level, 20,340 cases of child abuse or neglect should outweigh any educational benefit, making this the largest impact in the debate. The psychological and physical violence that is made invisible because of homeschooling needs to weigh more than any testing or scoring in academics. On top of that, even if you want to weigh education ashigher, abuse of all kinds lowers academic achievement.

Really enjoyed your first constructive, comrade.

Round 2
Con claims with a Forbes article that homeschooling has little to no benefits, but on the bigger picture, Pro wins out. A meta analysis of peer-reviewed journals, more rigorous than one study alone, realizes the majority of homeschooled children receive greater academic achievement, social and emotional development, etc. Hence, con's rebuttal fails here. 

Con argues that the standard is excellent and the minimum for children to succeed. However, he has little backing, while ASCD publications further on my idea the standards are too rigid and do not reflect real life success ideals. While standardized tests at telling your knowledge and skill at some specific field, these can also be adopted by homeschoolers. Regardless, my author warns, "standardized achievement tests should not be used to evaluate the quality of education." It's difficult to judge the education merely by the standardized methods.  Con claims to know what the general public thinks, but negates the minority's right to choose. Therefore, we should still yet prefer my ideals of flexibility and adaptability. In addition, half the states already have an assessment [3] on progress of children. If Con is worried about results, we can certainly reform and restrict regulations. 

Con states that "life skills" can be taught by the schools, however, the home economics classes have been fading away during recent years. As the article supports, the rising of the testing and stricter ideas about grades in schools led to the drop of life skills. In addition, Fox Business realizes the staff has also decreased, with college competition discouraging teaching of basic life skills. Hence, parents would have the unique advantage of teaching such skills when schools are too busy or now focused more on tests. How would Con propose we convince legislators to reinstate the life skill courses, with greater pressure on career and test success?

I will further my freedom argument here. If you get rid of homeschooling, the government would basically be forcing the children to give up their rights. As schooling is mandatory in the US, you would essentially restrict their liberty and infringe upon their freedom. As Peter Gray, a Phd in Psychology notes, the school's restriction on speech, action, and even due process -- since you can be accused of doing something wrong without legal process -- being at risk in the school. This bolsters my previous argument concerning greater freedom.

Furthermore, Mr. Gray highlights that con's worries about child abuse are greatly exaggerated, and may ironically be worse in the public schools. In his studies, he found that the suicide rate was incredibly high for public schools, with greater stress and trauma. It was one of their primary stressors, not child abuse. There is no significant difference in child abuse between home school kids and in general. Going to school may allow bullying, not to mention compounded by my previous mental health and therapy point that Con has dropped. Linking my logic that parents are better therapists than usual schooling, it seems logical that the suicide and depression rate would be worse for those in school -- away from their parents.
First, my Forbes article was just a refutation that parent-child interaction is inherently good. Arguments about the academic and child development benefits are all skewed for four reasons anyway. Firstly, correlation is not causation and there are other possible explanations for the results, for example, parents being invested in their child’s education could make the difference, regardless of what the schoolis. Secondly, homeschoolers are not uniform in their methods, so a study aboutone group does nothing to prove general trends. Third, there isn’t correction for background factors, the wealthier and whiter homeschooling average is never corrected against public schooling, meaning the results are skewed. Lastly, it’s all volunteers that are sampled, meaning only families that think they will dowell or prioritize education are tested. This means that this meta analysis of data needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

When it comes to curriculums, there’s five reasons that they are good for education. Firstly, it provides structure that helps benefit a student’s education. Secondly, it ensures that all children are guaranteed the same position of education. Third, it creates guidelines for teachers so they know what must be taught to students. Four, it ensures that all students are getting the same education and that some areas can’t not teach you important skills. Lastly, it allows for standardized testing which gives us the metric for being able to do any statistics on education so we can then improve the system. Lastly, half the states having an assessment does not solve, even if it is tightened because only half are held accountable, so that means that half are not. This means that curriculum good and reform of homeschools doesn't solve.

So, my opponent said that we can just increase standards on homeschools as an answer to curriculums being good, so I’ll answer that we can just regulate public schools to include life skills. It either solves both ways or it doesn’t solve at all. What this means is that if I can say regulation solves, the only question is do we want the guaranteed education by public schools or the possible teaching of homeschools, to which guaranteed curriculum is much better.

The argument about a child’s freedom doesn’t make sense. Realistically, parents aren’t going to allow for freedom of speech or jury by trial or a warrant for a search, so I don’t see why the school is in such violation. Even if my opponent wants to argue that parents will protect these rights, setting rules is good for kids. This means that public schools are equal or better.

I didn’t drop the point about therapy and mental health,I answered it by saying that time with your kids doesn’t produce a mental health benefit and that’s a direct falsehood. Also, my opponent drops my analysis that the issue isn’t that homeschool kids are more likely to be abused, but it is the fact that these kids don’t see a mandatory reporter of suspected abuse, meaning that there’s no check on abuse. Even if they have the same exact chances of being abused, they don’t have an internal mechanism to reportit. Schools have mandatory reporting for suicidal behavior and abuse, meaning that these are self-solving, while homeschools actually make the problem much worse by not reporting it.Also, extend the point that this is the biggest impact, meaning if I win this,I win the round as a whole.

Round 3
Let me reaffirm what we are arguing here. We are not arguing which one is superior -- both have their strengths and weaknesses. It costs very little resource to allow homeschooling (other than regulations), there is little to lose with *keeping* homeschooling beside Con's abuse argument. We are arguing if homeschooling is so detrimental that it should not be ever permitted. Public schooling may be superior in some cases. But so long as I can prove homeschooling's unique advantages outweighing potential problems, I can win. 

Now then, Con's source addresses many particular problems with my studies, but Ray's work has improved since 2010, and the most rigorous study yet in 2020 with randomized and massive sample size proves that homeschooling isn't useless or always detrimental. I will admit that for those who are already privileged may benefit less, but the student performance is excellent for those in minority and low income. Hence, my same argument that homeschooling assist those with special needs is bolstered even more. Notice how Con has jumped around the different needs of children and the different pace giving advantage or disadvantage for different students. 

I will not deny that curriculums are reasonable for basic education, but this doesn't cover anything about overcoming the flexible needs of homeschooling.
Notice how Con dropped the life skills argument.
Notice how con dropped the idea that standardization may not be the best for every student.

Con argues that giving further funding to schools is the solution rather than furthering regulation on homeschooling, but doesn't understand the vast amount of resources you would need to match that level of special treatment, nor the inherent bond and understanding of the family. At home, each kid would have one or two parents to help them throughout their troubles. I doubt con can guarantee this level of dedication in school. Con argues that the family uniquely has psychological pressure especially in divorce situations, yet can't this also apply to the teacher, who is under great pressure due to having to help dozens of students? Not to mention they only have limited time to devote and help specific students. In the end you'd still be leaving some of them behind, who would've been better off homeschooled.

Con compares the public school restrictions to be as tight as the parents, but as Grey eloquently compares, it would be similar to " a job where you can’t talk with your co-workers, can’t leave your seat without permission, and are continuously monitored, tested, and compared with your co-workers in a manner that seems almost deliberately designed to shame." The competitive and stricter atmosphere is at odds with the casual nature that family offers to foster the child's growth.

Finally, Con argues that the chance of finding out abuse is lower. While it is true that abuse can be worsened in homeschooling, it seems that schools are far more unsafe. As The Federalist highlights, there's been almost 200 school shootings, hundreds of employees accused of sexual assault, and 40% of students also abused by teacher. Not to mention the bullying point that hasn't been addressed. Despite the seemingly "safer environment", Con has shown no results and merely uses optimistic claims and hopes that somehow, it is superior to homeschooling. In the end, the two seem equal at best, thus negating unique escape from abuse by going to school.
His reclarification of the topic hasn’t been forgotten. I’m proving minimal benefit and maximum harm. I’ll do round analysis in the last speech,just as my opponent most likely will.

If we look at the rigorous study my opponent put up, math scores were lower for “Homeschooled students in all categories”. His citing that it is more beneficial for low-income, minority, and disabled students is only in reading. This Means that math is net worse, and reading is mixed, meaning there are no “uniquebenefits” when we compare it to all subjects and not just handpicked results.

On curriculum, extend across the five reasons that it is a net benefit,specifically that it creates a floor that students won’t fall behind through.This was dropped, meaning it is crucial to understand that set curriculums are key to benefiting all students, as well as my opponent dropped the fact that regulating homeschools doesn’t solve, so flow all of this as reasons that homeschools are net worse. Also, I did not drop life skills, I accurately pointed out that there is no reason a more REGULATED, not more funded, school couldn’t solve. I also didn’t drop that standardization wasn’t best for everystudent, I directly answered that with five reasons it was good.

My opponent talks about the bonding and individual attention a student would receive, but this has been debunked. Extend the fact that the amount of time you spend with your child has no inherent benefit. Sure, a teacher might have the same issues, but the difference is the teacher is regulated and regularly monitored, parents aren’t.

Even if schools are harsher than a home, this could also be solved with regulating schools. Even if you don’t buy that, you should also extend across that rules are good for kids. The stricter the rules in a school, the better they do academically. This means that this is more evidence that homeschooling is going to do nothing but put EVERY homeschooled student at a disadvantage.

There’s a very unique difference between the violence my opponent brings up and that of a homeschooled student being abused, and that’s the problem of making violence invisible. My opponent specifically didn’t answer that the issue is that homeschooled students don’t see a mandatory reporter, and this is the major difference. They have continuously dropped the fact that this is the largest impact in the round, and it’s hinged on the ability to see a mandatory reporter. Also, statistically, all forms of abuse besides sexual are most likely to be done by a guardian, and for sexualabuse, it is most likely to be another male family member. This means that for child abuse, having a chance to have a teacher report it is statistically the saferbet. Also, other teachers are still mandatory reporters, meaning the only way that it becomes invisible, which makes it uniquely worse, if it happens to a homeschooled child. This applies to school shootings and bullying as well, bothof which also fall under mandatory reporting.
Round 4
It's time to summarize and highlight why I am still winning.

Throughout this debate I have advocated for flexibility, extra freedom, and enhanced interaction between children and adults. Con on the other hand, seems to value academic performance as most important, but gives no justification for why this should be valued over different needs for different students. Recall that even Con was forced to admit that every student follows the same curriculum -- while different students may need an accelerated or slower program to adjust for their needs. The diversity of students makes it unlikely that schools will be unable to handle all types of students, hence, homeschooling will always be a viable alternative.

Con has seemed to shot down the causation of Homeschooling to academic performance overall, but has not negated the innate logic, instead, criticizing the studies. He falsely cross applies his logic to the "lower student teacher ratio", but drops the idea that the teacher would have lesser workload and be able to dedicate more time to their children.

  • the amount of resources you would need to match that level of special treatment,
  • nor the inherent bond and understanding of the family.
  • Each kid has one or two parents to help them throughout their troubles. I doubt con can guarantee this level of dedication in school. 
Even with my most ambivalent source, homeschooling has advantages in some aspects where public schools do not. Hence, there must be something that homeschooling provides that public education cannot make up for. Therefore, we should keep homeschooling due to extra needs fulfilled from homeschooling. Con keeps arguing that standardized testing is "better", but is it so good that we absolutely cannot go without it? If it is so necessary, then homeschooling may cross apply crucial components of schools as well. 

Finally, Con's strongest argument has been extension of abuse, but he has failed to show how much worse it actually becomes. He keeps asserting it will be driven further into the shadows, but offers no backing for this. By contrast, the abuse rate is nearly equal as previously highlighted (R2+R3), and hence it is difficult to measure precisely how much worse this abuse is.

On the other hand, Con claims that the public school tragedies have been bought to light, but it seems even worse that the US is not taking action to prevent all these accidents. The public school may have some corruption as well, with countless principals embezzling money and committing school fraud. Even if voters don't buy this due to being a final round argument, keep in mind that my core argument is that parents are able to decide which way is safer for the kids. Bullying, corruption, sexual abuse, etc. There are too many problems to list in schools that may be hidden or unsolved just as badly as the home's abuse. Thus the government cannot decide for parents and children.

It's difficult to say that it is a just decision to force the child into public schools. In other words, Parents that agree with Con will still send their students to school, and thus Con has no significant benefits for completely banning homeschooling. Keep in mind that my argument of government arbitrarily and forcibly rejecting homeschooling also infiltrates into our children's freedom. Con has little to compensation for this.

Thank you for the debate, and Vote for Pro.
For a brief overview, you’re going to have an easy vote for con by looking at the one advantage I’ve created that outweighs and still stands. Even if that isn’t enough, my constant refutation of any supposed educational benefits also gives an easy con vote.

First, let us look at myabuse point. The first thing I’m going to extend is that my opponent has continuously dropped that this is the biggest impact in the round. This means that if I winthis advantage to abolishing, the rest of the debate is a moot point. Secondly,I’m going to extend the reason that homeschooling abuse is worse than all other forms of violence, and that is how it is made invisible. My opponent expands across bullying, sexual abuse, embezzlement, etc. but he never engages with the very unique difference between the two. If a student is a bullied, school systems have no tolerance policies on that. If a student is abused, there’s a mandatory reporting system. Embezzlement gets checked by state and federal budgets since their state ran. School shootings are never left invisible. This makes these impacts smaller because they are in front of out society, and this means we can then fix them. Without a way to report on home abuse, this makes it very important to give every child to see a mandatory reporter. My warrants for why home abuse is made invisible is all dropped. On top of this, my opponent also dropped the fact that the largest perpetrator of every kind of abuse is some sort of family member. This means that any argument that a teacher could do it still makes it statistically safer.

Secondly, as a generic answer to the entire education debate, homeschooling makes it worse on net benefit. My Opponent’s own study which directly solved for the lack of good studies by other groups showed that all students did worse in math. This is direct evidence that homeschooling allows for all students to derive a worse education for homeschooling. This means that any “unique benefits” that my opponent wants to try, and claim is always going to be at an academic cost. It isn’t a matter that some demographics benefit, but the reality is that some demographics benefit sometimes, and all demographics are harmed sometimes. This Means that the only way to evaluate the academic point is that, on balance, it’s better for every student to go to public school. Any other warrant my opponent tries to utilize about student ratios or family relationships has been impacted out as benefiting education. This blatantly false and his own statistic proves.Even if they try to impact it out to some sort of measurement of family betterment, extend the argument that the amount of time you spend with kids doesn't matter.

For an under view, you can easily vote con. You can still vote on this abuse point which outweighs and still solves the problem of making child abuse for homeschool students invisible. Banning homeschooling then becomes a necessity to give every child a chance to see a mandatory reporter. We need to take away the ability for parents to hide their children from mandatory reporters. Even if you don’t buy that, on academics, since everybody is harmed and only some people benefit while being harmed, once again, this is a unique reason to ban. Every student is academically harmed, and we should ban the homeschooling that hurts these students.

Thank you for the debate,Undefeatable. Thank you for judging. Vote Con.