Schooled?

James Metzger writes in Sunday’s Washington Post that Virginia Governor Mark Warner was wrong to veto a Virginia bill that would have allowed a parent without a college degree to home-school their children (current law already includes a religious exemption for parents lacking a degree who wish to home-school for faith-based reasons).

Metzger would be on firmer ground if he didn’t have to resort to an exceptional anecdote about Benjamin Carson to make his case or absurd examples of regulations the state might put on home-schoolers. He might have mentioned, too, that home-schoolers do well in the national spelling bee, but that’s not any more relevant. The plural of anecdote isn’t data.

Eduwonk’s not opposed to home-schooling (and knows several families doing a phenomenal job at it) but some commonsensical regulations are important. Virginia’s current policy towards college degrees makes a lot of sense, particularly considering the lack of data about this issue. Not only was Warner right, but more states should follow Virginia’s lead and ensure that there is sufficient regulation of home-schooling.

Afterthought: Home-school advocates promoting this bill inappropriately conflate the college degree requirement with current teacher certification policies. They’re right that teacher certification isn’t a good proxy for effectiveness. (That’s so obvious you don’t even need a college degree to make that point! Sorry, couldn’t resist…) But certification is not relevant to this debate about college degrees either.

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