Obama and McCain: Views on Homeschooling

About a year ago, many Homeschool families were enthusiastic about Mike Huckabee.  Remember him?  Republican Governor of Arkansas and rock n’ roll legend from his 1996 band, Capitol Offense:

Yep, that’s Huckabee with the guitar.  Who would have thunk it!  Anyway, Huckabee is a strong advocate for a parent’s choice to homeschool their children.  But for better or for worse, Huckabee will not be in the White House in 2009.  So, what about the current candidates?  Where do they stand?

Barrack Obama:

Senator Obama doesn’t mention homeschooling directly on his website (at least I couldn’t find a direct reference to it).  However, I have discovered some interesting excerpts from his book, The Audacity of Hope. He writes: “none of these [educational] policies need discourage families from deciding to keep a parent at home…For some families, that may mean doing without certain material comforts. For others it may mean home schooling….Whatever the case may be, such decisions should be honored.”

If you homeschool your child through a charter school, then this passage from Barack Obama’s website should be of interest to you:

“Support High-Quality Schools and Close Low-Performing Charter Schools: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the Federal Charter School Program to support the creation of more successful charter schools. An Obama-Biden administration will provide this expanded charter school funding only to states that improve accountability for charter schools, allow for interventions in struggling charter schools and have a clear process for closing down chronically underperforming charter schools. An Obama-Biden administration will also prioritize supporting states that help the most successful charter schools to expand to serve more students.”

This sounds reasonable for the most part; however it does mean you want to be very careful in selecting your child’s charter school.  If the charter school performs low (and this is usually established by standardized testing at the beginning and end of the school year) there’s a decent chance that the charter will be streamlines, restructured, or even dismantled.  Still, it seems that homeschooling will continue to be a viable option if Obama is elected.

John McCain:

Senator McCain’s website also avoid a direct discussion of homeschooling.  However, during the debates he said this:

Q: How can we improve the quality of public schools in this country?

A: Choice and competition is the key to success in education in America. That means charter schools, that means home schooling, it means vouchers, it means rewarding good teachers and finding bad teachers another line of work. It means rewarding good performing schools, and it really means in some cases putting bad performing schools out of business. I want every American parent to have a choice, a choice as to how they want their child educated, and I guarantee you the competition will dramatically increase the level of education in America.

Based upon this, it would seem that McCain strongly favors the option of homeschooling as an alternative to public schools.

So, no matter who makes it to the White House, it seems that he will continue to support our educational choices.  Let’s hope it remains that way.  Otherwise, the new President will have a formidable opponent: angry homeschool parents!