Statistics

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself, in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force:  "There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics."

-Autobiography of Mark Twain

We’ve seen Dept of Ed ‘research’ papers and articles with statistics such as this.   I get apprehensive now when I see this regarding # of homeschoolers such as:

The Federal Department of Education estimates that 1.1 million children were homeschooled in 2002-03, but experts at the pro-homeschooling National Home Education Research Institute say it may be closer to 2.2 million, depending on how states define "homeschool."


There you go….between 1.1 and 2.2 million with 2 studies. My kids know the difference between 1.1 and 2.2 donuts. So there is a bit of a discrepency when those 2 numbers are followed by million.

Why study that? Why the ‘research’ when it’s obviously soooo inaccurate? What data do they get when they’re trying to do these studies? And has anyone noticed that they always say it needs to be researched further? Data collecting and tracking is irresistible for these people (besides profitable).

The same NCES (primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data..related to education in the US…) study uses this definition of homeschoolers

who are considered to be homeschooled if their parents reported them as being schooled at home instead of at a public or private school for at least part of their education and if their part time enrollment in public or private schools did not exceed 25 hours/week 

Let’s not forget that several states, including Illinois, don’t require homeschoolers to register or report so all of those state ‘numbers’ aren’t even on this radar, thank goodness.

And here’s another puzzling part in these ‘statistics’. If my kids were living this definition of part time enrollment up to 25 hours/week, when would we have time to live the essence of homeschooling? (The quantity and thus the quality of time just hanging out with your family living and learning?)  25 hours/week  in brick and mortar would mean 5 hours/day in the classroom which often means that the public school would receive funding for that student….hmmm…funny that coincidence. It seems ludicrous to include those "enrolled in school part-time" students in the homeschooling category when there is public funding to the schools for them.

If this was in our school district here, the kids would be in school from
8:20 until 1:20 every day (excluding lunch time). 1 hour and 40
minutes left to in the school day. If that works for families who choose that way to educate their kids, great! But let’s hold these researchers feet to the fire in their defining a homeschooler. 

Larry and Susan Kaseman wrote an article concerning the P Lines monograph. They addressed some key points concerning her writings:


Lines presents misleading statistics and information about homeschoolers
Lines makes bold statements about homeschooling that she does not support with evidence, statements that, in fact, are contradicted by readily available data.
Lines misrepresents key points of education and homeschooling law
Is Homeschooling Being Used as Part of a Larger Agenda?

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Statistics — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Corn and Oil » We Don’t Need Any More Stinkin’ Studies