U.S. Secretary of Education John King is receiving criticism for his recent statements claiming that children who are homeschooled have fewer options than those enrolled in schools.
At a recent breakfast event sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Secretary King told reporters that he had mixed feelings about homeschooling children.
According to Politico, King noted that while he knew many homeschooling families do it "incredibly well" and homeschooled students have had "very tremendous academic success," he believed homeschooled children are not "getting the range of options that are good for all kids."
King added that he was worried "students who are homeschooled are not getting kind of the rapid instructional experience they would get in school," unless their parents are "very intentional about it."
Michael Farris, co-founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said in a statement released Wednesday that he was "disappointed" by the comments.
"While Secretary King had some good things to say about homeschooling, I'm disappointed that his comments imply that public schoolers have a wider range of options in education, which is simply not true," stated Farris.
"Homeschoolers are far outperforming their public schooled peers, largely due to the fact that parents know what works best for their child instead of implementing an outdated, one-size-fits-all approach that Secretary King appears to favor."
Lindsey Burke, education policy expert with the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, wrote in a column published by the Daily Signal on Wednesday that King's comments were "problematic."
"Many homeschooled students attend some of the most rigorous and intellectually challenging schooling there is. Many families pursue a rigorous classical curriculum," wrote Burke.
"… homeschooling families have amazing networks to ensure children build relationships with peers and mentors — another concern of King's. Homeschooling co-ops and sports leagues are just a few examples. And homeschool networking is becoming more sophisticated."
Burke went on to contrast the well-documented performance of homeschooled students to those in regular kindergarten through twelfth grade public schools.
"According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, just one-third of all eighth-graders in public schools can read proficiently. Roughly two out of 10 students don't graduate high school at all," continued Burke.
"The United States ranks in the middle of the pack on international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment. In short: There is significant room for improvement in the traditional public education system."
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are approximately 2.3 million homeschooled students in the United States of America.