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(58,702 posts)
Mon Dec 11, 2023, 01:19 PM Dec 2023

How a true believer's flawed research helped legitimize home schooling


How a true believer’s flawed research helped legitimize home schooling

Brian Ray says home-schooled students do better. His daughter tells a different story.

By Laura Meckler
December 11, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Brian Ray, who heads the National Home Education Research Institute, in his office in Salem, Ore. (Amanda Lucier for The Washington Post)

Brian Ray has spent the last three decades as one of nation’s top evangelists for home schooling. As a researcher, he has published studies purporting to show that these students soar high above their peers in what he calls “institutional schools.” At home, he and his wife educated their eight children on their Oregon farm.

His influence is beyond doubt. He has testified before state legislators looking to roll back regulations. Judges cite his work in child custody cases where parents disagree about home schooling. His voice resounds frequently in the press, from niche Christian newsletters to NPR and the New York Times. As president of the National Home Education Research Institute, he is the go-to expert for home-school advocates looking to influence public opinion and public policy, presenting himself as a dispassionate academic seeking the truth.

But Ray’s research is nowhere near as definitive as his evangelism makes it sound. His samples are not randomly selected. Much of his research has been funded by a powerful home-schooling lobby group. When talking to legislators, reporters and the general public, he typically dispenses with essential cautions and overstates the success of the instruction he champions. Critics say his work is driven more by dogma than scholarly detachment.

“You see this in a lot of areas,” said Jim Dwyer, a professor at William & Mary Law School who wrote a book about home schooling. “Someone with an ideological agenda can concoct bad social science and convince naive researchers and naive audiences to accept some position. It’s clearly true of Ray. … The research he relies on is not scientifically valid.”



By Laura Meckler
Laura Meckler covers the news, politics and people shaping American schools. She previously reported on the White House, presidential politics and immigration for the Wall Street Journal, as well as on health and social policy for the Associated Press. She is author of DREAM TOWN: Shaker Heights and the Quest for Racial Equity, about her hometown. Twitter https://twitter.com/laurameckler
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How a true believer's flawed research helped legitimize home schooling (Original Post) mahatmakanejeeves Dec 2023 OP
And the real test occurs when the students are in the real world, trying to do actual jobs etc. SWBTATTReg Dec 2023 #1


(22,704 posts)
1. And the real test occurs when the students are in the real world, trying to do actual jobs etc.
Mon Dec 11, 2023, 02:24 PM
Dec 2023

I would think that the better audience to poll on the effectiveness of home schooling would NOT be the very biased teachers/parents/students/whatever they call themselves, but an outside authority who measures the job outputs of each category of student, those in home schooling vs. those in the public school system.

I say that several categories could be measured, somewhat, as to written skills, speaking skills, math skills, and perhaps other categories that businesses are looking for. Of course measuring of trade school skills is somewhat different, since a different teaching discipline is used, e.g., specific skills for a job category instead of an overall list of categories (reading, writing, math, etc.).

Thing is, that damage could be done to those students could are only subject to those skills preferred by home schoolers, trapped in age old disciplines that have no relevance in today's world.

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