WASHINGTON, D.C. – Homeschooling families are saving American taxpayers a lot of money – $22 billion a year by one estimate.
As many public school advocates argue that school choice options funnel money away from traditional schools, homeschooling families provide a boost by paying taxes for schools while educating their children at home with no financial support from the state.
The situation is leading to massive savings across the country as the numbers of homeschooled students continues to grow, and Intellectual Takeout complied the numbers based on the most recent 2012 figures from the National Center for Education Statistics.
“Based on state spending per student multiplied by the approximate number of homeschoolers in each state, the … statistics demonstrate how much savings homeschoolers are passing of to their fellow citizens each year,” according to the site.
The top 10 include: California at $1.8 billion in savings, New York at $1.7 billion, Texas at $1.2 billion, North Carolina at $1 billion, Illinois with $798.6 million, New Jersey with $736 million, Florida with $729.8 million, Ohio at $614.5 million, Michigan with $510.5 million, and Georgia with $468.1 million in savings.
The smallest estimated savings comes from the tiny state of Connecticut, where homeschoolers saved taxpayers $31 million.
“… In reality, homeschoolers are probably saving taxpayers far more money,” the Freedom Project reports. “By not being in a government school, for example, officials have less opportunities to milk them as cash cows for all sorts of different government ‘services’ such as unnecessary ‘mental health’ schemes reimbursed by Medicaid.”
The Pioneer Institute pegs the nationwide savings at about $22 billion a year, though the benefits from homeschooling are impacting the students themselves, as well.
“Compared to public school students, studies suggest that homeschoolers perform up to 30 percentile points better on standardized tests, have higher college GPAs and completion rates, and may even be better adjusted socially,” Intellectual Takeout reports.
And the benefits to students obviously translate into benefits for society.
“Among these benefits: A huge and growing pool of smarter, more industrious young people to build the businesses of the future, provide jobs to the victims of government schools, and to ultimately serve as leaders in their communities and beyond,” according to the Freedom Project.
The Pioneer Institute estimates that the homeschooling movement has ballooned from about 10,000 families in 1980 to 1.8 million by 2012. The public policy research organization estimates there was likely more than 2 million homeschooled students last year.
And the demographics are shifting.
“Various late-20th century studies found that between 93 and 98 percent of homeschoolers were white. But as the practice has grown more popular in recent years, its practitioners have become more diverse. Today, slightly more than two-thirds are white and 15 percent are Hispanic,” the Institute reports.
“The 8 percent of the homeschooling population that is African-American remains below the 15 percent of African-American students in the general population, but the number doubled between 2007 and 2011. The number of Jewish homeschoolers is also increasing.”
The staggering growth comes despite the fact that homeschool families must buy their own teaching curriculums, supplies, and other materials their tax dollars cover for public school students.
The homeschooling community is now grappling with President Trump’s call to make homeschoolers eligible for federal funding, a move that would provide some financial relief but would undoubtedly come with government regulations, restrictions and requirements many sought to escape from in public schools to begin with.