(RNS) When KellyAnne Kitchin began home schooling her three sons three years ago, she had difficulty finding curriculum programs that fit her atheist and humanist beliefs.
So Kitchin, 33, cobbled together what she could. She left out one geography textbook’s description of the earth as God’s creation and another’s disdain for Darwin, and substituted her own point of view — that no supernatural powers guide human beings, who alone have the power to improve the world.According to the article 2/3 of home-schoolers are of some variant of protestant while only 1/4 are atheist/no religion. They don't report on the religious identity of the remaining apx 9%. It doesn't surprise me that most home-schoolers have a particular religious identity. It also comes to no surprise that the parents keeping their kids at home belong to religions that the public school is most hostile towards.
I am surprised that 25% of home-schoolers are atheist/no religion. When you consider that, again according to the article, 1.5 million kids are home schooled, the 25% represents 375,000 kids. That's not a small number when you consider that the public school system, as a matter of policy teaches the world view that their parents profess to be true.
According to the US Dept of ED:
2010 projected enrollment figures:
54,704,000 Children enrolled in public and private schools (k-12).
5,398,000 Children enrolled in private schools, religious and sectarian.
49,306,000 Children enrolled in public schools, includes chatter schools.I'm not sure whose methodology is most correct however three facts are of particular interest:
1. It seems that the current number of home schooled children is between 1.5 and 2.1 million children.
2. The trend is for growth in both private schools and home school education.
3. The number of sub-literate graduates from the public school system is between 66% and 75%.
Going with the above data and statistical assumptions, 32,541,960 (maybe higher) of the kids currently enrolled in public schools are not going to be able to function at the "normal" level of a high school graduate from 1980. That leaves 16,270,980 public school graduates, 5,398,000 private school graduates, and apx 2,000,000 home-schoolers who will have the educational skills needed; for a total of apx 23,669,000.
It occurs to me that 23.6 million educated kids is less than half of all kids in the K-12 age group. Further, 7.3 million kids (home school and private school) is less than half of the educated kids, but growing according to the trends. While these statistics may seem scary it may be quite reasonable from a historical perspective, to produce a population where 13.34% of the people have the intellectual ability to rule over the others, with a 35% middle class. The rest of the great unwashed masses will need to be content with their bread and circuses. Whether or not this is an advisable course of action for the USA is another matter.
This brings me to another things which surprises me:
She also found many online forums for home-schoolers were unwelcoming. Some had statements faith members needed to agree to. On others she was made to feel unwelcome because of her lack of beliefs.This is a surprise to me for a few reasons:
1. IF you're a Christian, homeschooling parent, exactly how many true blue atheists do you know that are seeking to associate with you? I'd think you might want to have one around if for nothing else evangelistic reasons.
2. Having a atheist home-schooler in your group makes easier to fight arguments against state regulating agencies who may want to paint you was a bunch of "religious nuts".
3. Education was historically a sign of one's social class. With the sociological changes that are coming, we may be well advised to keep in touch with members of our own class, regardless of their religious beliefs.