The comments at Think Progress were particularly nasty. On the other hand the debate at Pharyngula's was extremely interesting and for the most part civil. I have to say I was surprised by PZ Myers stance on Homeschooling.
I'm one of those people who thinks we ought to be consistent and require everyone to attend an accredited school, public or private, and that private schools ought also to be required to meet certain secular standards, such as that their science education ought to address the evidence reasonably.
For some reason I expected him to be a homeschool supporter, oh well at least he can sing. And who knows maybe after reading the comments from the secular homeschoolers he will change his mind.
The big hang up for a lot of the anti homeshcoolers was the result of this poorly worded survey
Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children "religious or moral instruction."As one of the Atheist commentators (LadyShea) pointed out even Atheist may have checked this answer because most parents want to provide their children with some sort of moral instruction. So it didn't necessarily mean that 83% of homeschoolers were religious zealots as most of the anti homeschoolers assumed.
Also the study was preformed by the National Home Education Research Institute which is linked to HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association run by the Evangelical Fundies). See Milton Gaither's post Brian D. Ray and NHERI, part 2 for more information on the link between NHERI and HSLDA
Another survey Tapestry of Homeschool Survey Report paints a far different picture of homeschoolers.
- 90% of the respondents were married, 4% were single, a little over 3% were in domestic partnerships.
- 80% were homeschooling for non-religious reasons.
The sources the AP article cited are
Apologia Educational Ministries: http://www.apologia.com
's blog, "Why Evolution is True": http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/
Jerry Coyne is a scientist and his only contribution to the article was to give his opinion on the textbooks. I personally think he was to kind to the publishers as their textbooks are truly awful in my opinion.
Apologia Educational Ministries and Bob Jones University Press are two Christian Publishing Companies that have a vested interest in convincing people that if they homeschool they must buy their products. Did the AP reporter really expect them to say "Oh, some homeschoolers do use textbooks from Secular Publishers"? Why were no Secular Publishers who cater to the homeschooling market interviewed. Saxon a well know Publisher of Math Textbooks has a site just for homeschoolers Saxon Home School.
Now thanks to sloppy reporting by the AP many people have come away with a false sense of what homeschooling looks like. I can just hope the truth about how diverse the homeschooling community truly is will travel across the Internet as quickly.