The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

RESOLVED: Homeschooling is better than Public Schooling.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/11/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,400 times Debate No: 69438
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




This is a personal favorite of mine to debate. Each side has its fervent supporters and its ardent critics. It should be a fun topic.

ROUND 1: Acceptance, Statement of Sides, and Definitions (No Arguments)
ROUND 2: Opening Arguments (No Rebuttals)
ROUND 3: Continuing Arguments and Rebuttals.
ROUND 4: Final Rebuttals and Closing Statements. (No new Arguments.)

RULES: All quotes must be underlined or otherwise set apart from the text. Source citations must be in-text or at the end of the speech. Citations must have a URL or the title, author, and date of publication. Both sides may propose definitions, but are not required to. A forfeit automatically titles to win to the forfeit-er's opponent.

As the PRO, I am arguing that Homeschooling is better than Public Schooling.

Homeschooling - "The education of children at home by their parents."
Public School - "A school supported by public funds."
Better - "Of a more excellent or effective type or quality."

All definitions were taken from


Thank you, DDDDaniel, for suggesting a topic of great mutual interest. I eagerly accept, and hope that we will find one another's viewpoints enlightening.

I would like to propose three refinements and clarifications to the scope and rules of the debate.

First, I would propose that we limit our arguments and evidence to home- and public-schooling within the United States. I trust we will find that education policy remains a sufficiently complex topic while remaining within our own national boundaries and cultural context.

Second, given that your definition of "better" is not limited in scope, I would understand that our arguments can extend beyond measures of simple academic performance to encompass issues relevant to the whole development of the person (e.g., lack of socialization, undetected parental abuse) as well as broader social impacts of homeschooling on political society (e.g., religious separatism, political extremism).

Finally, I would like to articulate my understanding of the burden of proof. The proponent for the resolution bears the primary burden of proof. As Con, I will be arguing that homeschooling is either equivalent to or worse than public schooling and/or that the resolution cannot be proved from the evidence presented by Pro. Pro has the burden to show that, on balance and with all evidence considered, it is more likely than not that homeschooling is better than public schooling (in the United States, if you agree with my proposed limitation). Con has no affirmative burden, and can prevail by providing sufficient positive evidence to render the resolution, on balance, to be more likely false than true, equally likely to be false or true, or by successfully refuting evidence proffered by Pro in support of the resolution.

Please let me know if you agree with these clarifications.

Good luck. I'm looking forward to a spirited discussion.
Debate Round No. 1


"There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent." -Mahatma Gandhi (

I thank my opponent, CASmnl42, for accepting this debate. I look forward to an enlightening and engaging debate session.

Now, before I state my opening arguments, I would like to address the three points that my opponent brought up his last speech.
FIRST: I agree to limiting our discussion to the USA. This will probably help both of us equally.
SECOND: I also agree to the more generic definition of "better". This will allow for a broader debate.
THIRD: I disagree to the "burden of proof" idea which my opponent stated. Although there is a burden of proof on the affirmative side (PRO) to show how homeschooling is better than public schooling, there is an equal burden of proof on the negative side (CON) to show that public schooling is equal to or superior to homeschooling. If I prove my side, I win. If he proves his side, he wins. If neither of us are able to prove our side, than a "double loss", so to speak, should be cast. This "equal burden of proof" ensures that the debate is equally weighted.

With all of that said, I will dive into my contentions (my main arguments). First, I will show how homeschooling is better, both intellectually and socially, than public schooling. Second, I will show a brief history on the orgins of home and public education, and its implications.

The evidence supporting this point is overwhelming. It has been found that, on average, homeschool students score 30 percentile points higher than the national average. Also, homeschool-ers earned a higher ACT score (26.5) than public school-ers (25.0). Also, GPAs are higher for homeschool-ers. In college freshman year, high school average is 3.37, public school is 3.08. For seniors, homeschool-ers have an average of 3.46, whereas public school-ers have 3.12.
This is only some of the data out there. Any advocate of public schooling would be hard-pressed to find a study showing that homeschool students are less academically intelligent. Most of the argumentation comes from the "social aspect". So lets take a look at that, shall we?

Are homeschoolers socially awkward? This is a question that many people ask. The answer is, honestly, no.
Allow me to lead you to this website here:
The writer here gives seven examples of tests and books written showing that indeed, contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers are better in the social aspect than their public counterparts.
The evidence included:
1. Being around other children harms social skills rather than helping.
2. In a study of communication, socialization, and daily living skills, homeschoolers ranked in the 84th percentile, whereas public schoolers ranked in the 23rd and 27th percentile.
3. In a blind test, viewers watching the children ranked the homeschoolers above the public schoolers in socialization skills.
4. There is a link to a huge article with even more tests.
5. A professor talked to various adults and it was found that those who were homeschooled did not create "social misfits", but were actually pretty well off.
6. after researching 24 studies, Susan McDowell, and author, has declared the homeschooling social myth a "non-issue"
7. Another test showed that homeschoolers have fewer behavioral problems.
All of this points unerringly toward one conclusion: Homeschoolers are socially superior to public schoolers.
So now, lets look at the origins of both.

The exact date of when homeschooling began is hard to pin down, however,it is a commonly held belief that in medieval and settler times parents were the ones to teach and educate their children. In fact, until recently, most of our presidents were schooled at home. As says: "Famous people in this nation’s history, such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Woodrow Wilson and many others were part of the history of homeschooling. For most, formal or public schooling was not available in their eras of time." (
Public Schooling is different. Many people attribute the rise of public education to the Industrial Revolution. This was a time that the entire US was changing. Whereas before, people worked at home, getting the skills they needed there, now people were working in factories.
This posed a problem. You see, because people were used to being self-employed, they were not used to being under someone else's management. In fact, very few people actually wanted to work in factories.
So,the factory owners did the only thing they could: they turned to the children.
As Hitler once said: "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future." (
The factory workers funded the building of public schools. Now, the children all went to the schools to be taught, instead of by their parents. What they were taught at the schools was not how to be a leader,but how to be a follower. Not how to be inventive and innovative, but how to do the single task laid out for you.
And it worked.
Suddenly, children were working in the factories. The plan had worked. The public school system had worked. This was a step forward for the factory owners, but a step back for education.

In conclusion, various studies and tests have been done and have shown that homeschoolers are intellectually and socially superior to public schoolers. In addition, the entire idea of public schools was to create a generation of followers, not leaders.
Because of all of this and more, I stand RESOLVED: Homeschooling is better than Public Schooling.


Thank you, DDDDaniel. Per the rules of the debate, I will now make my opening arguments. I will not respond to DDDDaniel's opening arguments at this time, as rebuttals are reserved for Rounds 3 and 4.

I will, however, continue our conversation on the appropriate burden of proof. As the proponent and instigatoor, DDDDaniel retains the sole burden of proof, and Con may prevail by demonstrating that there is insufficient evidence to prove Pro's case. This is particularly important in debating this topic because:

There is no reliable evidence concerning the academic performance of homeschoolers.

Many researchers of homeschooling acknowledge that no reliable data exists concerning academic performance. [1] "Advocates have used various studies to reach the conclusion that home schooling 'works.' But contrary to popular opinion, very little if anything is known about the actual academic performance of the typical home schooled student." [2] There are many reasons why the existing studies are flawed, but at present I will highlight three:

1) Unrepresentative sampling. In order for a study to be reliable, it must be derived from a statistically representative sample. The nature of homeschooling makes this difficult. In many states, homeschooling is unregulated and "under the radar," such that there is no reliable way to identify the broader population from which a sample can be drawn. Homeschooling families also often object ideologically to being studied. [1] [2] [3] Samples are often self-selected, which would tend to weed out precisely those who anticipate lower academic performance. [1] Samples "almost invariably" are unrepresentative, as those studied are whiter, richer, better educated, and more Christian than the homeschool population as a whole. [4]

2) Improper controls. Demographically, we know that homeschoolers are more likely than the general population to be white, middle class, have one or more parent with a college degree, have married parents, and families with sufficient earning potential to allow one parent to stay home. [1] These factors, not suprisingly, are also positively correlated with success in a public school environment. [2] The obvious question is whether homeschool students with these advantages would have performed just as well academically in a public school setting. Yet many of the available studies have not statistically controlled for these factors, and instead directly compare homeschoolers with a dramatically different general population. [5]

3) Potential for bias. I cannot articulate the point any better: "[A]n appalling amount of the research conducted on home undertaken by or sponsored by organizations whose explicit mission is to further the cause of home schooling. ... Of course,... [this] is no reason to reject the findings out of hand. I would suggest, however, that we treat the findings of their research on home schooling in the same way the people treat the research on nicotine addiction funded by tobacco companies: with a very large dose of skepticism." [2]

While I will identify the specific flaws in the studies cited by Pro in Round 3, suffice to say that this researcher has not unearthed any reliable studies of homeschool academic performance that overcome these problems. I challenge my opponent to cite a single study of homeschoolers that employs effective random sampling and controls for social variables, whether or not performed by an advocate of homeschooling.

Without reliable data, we can draw no conclusions about the general academic performance of homeschoolers. Neither side can prove whether homeschoolers perform better or worse academically than their public school counterparts.

Homeschooling facilitates abuse

Over the past 30-40 years, the homeschooling movement largely achieved its political goal of being freed from state regulation and accountability. In most states, "[t]here are no minimum educational standards for teachers, no curriculum review, no testing or monitoring to make sure that any education is taking place at all." Homeschooling thus facilitates abuse by allowing parents to isolate their children, such that abuse occurs undetected by authorities. [6]

In its milder forms, this abuse can express itself as educational neglect, emotional manipulation, and social isolation. Hundreds of such stories have been collected by Homeschooler's Anonymous, which publishes accounts by survivors. [7] More severe instances of abuse have been documented by Homeschooling's Invisible Children, which collects accounts of homeschooling facilitating sexual abuse, physical torture, and homicide. [8]

As the first generation raised in the modern homeschooling movement has come to adulthood, these stories have become more visible, challenging the propaganda by homeschool advocacy organizations that such abuse is too rare to be a concern - and indeed, these organizations continue to oppose even a modicum of oversight to detect and prevent abuse. [9]

A survey of adult alumni of homeschooling by HARO found that more than 40% of respondents had experienced some form of child abuse during homeschooling. The report documents high levels of mental illness, self-harm, and attempted suicide. [10]

I do not wish to overstate my case. The HARO survey suffers from the same problems as other studies of home-schoolers - primaruly self-selection of the respondents - and its results cannot be generalized the the homeschool population generally. There is no data as to whether homeschool students are more or less frequently subjected to abuse than their public-school counterparts - though I'd respectfully suggest that research on this question is far more urgent than determining which students perform marginally better on standardized tests.

What is undeniable, however, is that homeschooling facilitates abuse by allowing abusers to isolate victims and escape detection.

Consider the recent case of Alecia Pennington, who our readers might have encountered last week on Reddit or other forms of social media as her story went viral. Ms. Pennington, a 19-year old homeschooler, escaped from her family home last fall with the assistance of her grandparents. She soon found that she was unable to prove her identity, because her parents never registered her birth and refused to assist with obtaining vital documents (the family has now apparently relented under pressure). [11] [12]

To many of our readers, this case will sound extreme and unusual. But it's a well-documented phenomena among homeschool survivors known as "identification abuse." The HARO survey found that nearly 4% of respondents had experienced it. [10]

Here's what's important to note: While we cannot draw statistical conclusions from the HARO survey - i.e., we can't say how common vsrious forms of abuse are - "identification abuse" is only made possiuble because of homeschooling. Its very existence is an indictment.

I will develop further arguments in Round 3.

[1] Joseph Murphy, Homeschooling in America (2012)
Debate Round No. 2


"I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas." - Agatha Christie, An Autobiography
As Mrs. Christie says here, when children go to a school, things are arranged for them and they can never truely grow. It is because I agree with her that I stand RESOLVED: Homeschooling is better than Public Schooling.

In this first rebuttal for the PRO, I will address and contend the two main issues brought up by my opponent.

My opponent, in his last speech, asked for one example of a study showing homeschoolers are more intelligent than public schoolers. However, this one example must have a good representative sample, and relate properly to the controls of Public School. I intend to comply. I will actually give you three.
Please direct your attention to the following links:
These are links to an article, a study, and an infographic (which I adore). All three take particular care to select participants as carefully as possible, and also account for the Public School control. Also, all three show that Homeschoolers are better academically, socially, and even monetarily. These studies disprove what my opponent stated when he said "There is no reliable evidence concerning the academic performance of homeschoolers."

My opponent's main source for his "child abuse" argument was HARO survey. The link is here:
My opponent, when talking about this survey, said that there were "high levels of mental illness, self-harm, and attempted suicide". So I took some time to read it over. It truly intrigued me. Allow me to share some of my insight.
Of those surveyed, only 25% were diagnosed with mental illness. 72% were not. (3% was "other")
Of those surveyed, only 28% struggled with self-injury. 72% did not.
Of those surveyed, only 8.2% have attempted suicide. 91.8% never did.
At first, these numbers look alarming, but we're forgetting the other half of the equation. What about public school children?
According to the US National Library of Medicine; There was a test done in 2004 in which "all public school students enrolled in grades 7, 9, 11 and 12" were surveyed. The numbers on Public schoolers are almost the same.
Of those surveyed, only 20.3% admitted to self-harming, of those who admitted self-harm, 38.2% had attempted suicide in the past year. There has been no study done on mental illness.
Both Homeschooling and public schooling have almost the same numbers. So we see that these numbers mean nothing. Both Homeschools and Public Schools have the same problems. Both have self-harm and suicide. This is not a strike against homeschooling, but a strike against both, and is therefore not a point for either of us.

In conclusion, we see that (1) homeschoolers are better academically and socially than public schoolers, and (2) abuse is a problem for both home and public schools. It is for these reasons, I stand RESOLVED: Homeschooling is better than Public Schooling.

Also, for further reading, I have included a few more links. I will address them in round 4.


Thank you, DDDDaniel. Per the rules, in Round 3 I will rebut Pro's arguments from Round 2. I will rebut Pro's Round 3 arguments and defend my case in Round 4.

1) Academic

Pro did not cite any studies, but news articles and press releases. I cite the full studies below. In each case, the researchers caution against using the studies to argue that homeschooling is more effective academically:

-The Cogan study [1] is based on a small, unrepresentative sample, which the author admonished "should not be considered inferential to the general population of undergraduate students in the US." Note that 70% of the sample was male. This is unsettling given that some number of fundamentalist homeschooling families keeping their adult female children out of college and living at home until marriage, to ensure they live continually under male authority. [2] Are these homeschooled women performing as well academically as the men who go to college?

-While the "End of the American Dream" article outlines some appalling deficiencies in American public education, no evidence is presented that homeschoolers would perform any better in these surveys of general knowledge. Indeed, many homeschoolers rely on curricula produced by fundamentalist Christian institutions [3] which leave students entirely ignorant about the science of evolution and which contain ideologically-motivated factual distortions, particularly concerning the history of race and slavery. [4]

-The HSLDA press release referenced two studies. The Rudner study cautions that "the reported achievement differences between groups do not control for background differences in the home school and general United States population and, more importantly, cannot be attributed to the type of school a child attends." [5] The Ray study, written by a prominent homeschooling advocate, contains the most robust available effort at obtaining a representative sample, but ultimately still relied on self-selection. The study acknowledged that "it was not possible... to confirm whether this sample is representative of the population of home-educated students." [6]

2) Social

I won't address the sixteen studies cited in Pro's two sources one-by-one, but all suffer from similar sampling problems: Parents who isolate their children don't volunteer for study, just as parents who educationally neglect their children don't sign up for standardized testing. How many parents? Again, we don't know, because of the deregulated homeschooling regime obtained in most states by the movement. All we have are hundreds of stories from those who escaped abusive or neglectful situations. [7] [8]

HARO provides resources for struggling homeschool alumni that should give the reader some sense of social difficulties alumni face. [9] Some can seem silly - "Find new music you like" - but have roots in an escape from the strictures of fundamentalism (where secular music is often prohibited). While it might amuse to think of homeschooling parents as, basically, the bad guy from Footloose, other entries on the list evoke darker realities:
-Get emancipated
-Find a sexual assault victim advocate
-Prevent your parent(s) from stealing your financial identity

Others indicate unfamiliarity with basic life skills:
-File your taxes
-Find a doctor
-Get a cell phone
-Make a personal budget

Still others illustrate the social anxiety that survivors of homeschooling themselves feel:
-Make new friends if you’re socially awkward
-Understand body language
-Communicate about sex with a partner
-Understand consent in a romantic and/or sexual relationship

We don't know how widespread these problems are. [7] But when these are the problems that homeschool alumni seek help for, we must conclude that homeschooling is utterly failing in the social development of some not-insignificant number of students - who fly under the radar, undetected, unstudied, unassisted.

3. Origin

Pro tells a just-so story: How Factories Sent Kids to School to Become Followers. The sources are utterly inadequate to support this myth. The first is an unsourced post from a parenting blog; the second, a sample student paper about adult education. The reader should disregard.

Pro's instinct is correct, however, that history is an instructive guide, and so I present a brief history of the modern homeschooling movement. While homeschooling is far from monolithic, the modern homeschooling movement was founded on a destructive, theocratic, totalitarian ideology

Meet R.J. Rushdoony: Dominionist, Reconstructionist, and father of modern American homeschooling. [10] Dominionism is a theocratic theology characterized by 1) Christian nationalism, 2) Christian religious supremacy, and 3) implementation of biblical law as the foundation for all government. [11] Dominionism is a "totalitarian form of religious power called a 'theonomy,' in which pluralistic democracy and religious tolerance are seen as a problem to be solved by godly men carrying out God's will." Rushdoony's particular vision of Dominionism is Christian Reconstructionism. Reconstructionist David Chilton describes it so: "The Christian goal for the world is the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics, in which every area of life is redeemed and placed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the rule of God's law." [11] Reconstructionists believe that all forms of government are answerable to God. The "family government" of a traditional nuclear family is the atomic unit of society; authority within the family rests with the father, who is subordinate to God. [11]

Education was central to Rushdoony's goal to reconstructing America as a Christian government. He began to advocate for homeschooling in the 1960s, when the practice was almost unheard-of. [12] He spent much of the 1970s and 80s passionately advocating for homeschooling, and it was through his efforts - and those of his chief acolyte, Michael Farris of the HSLDA - that state governments became far more permissive of homeschooling. "Rushdoony understood that if he changed the way Christians educated their children, he could change the way they thought" [13] Largely through his efforts, homeschooling ballooned from 50,000 students in 1985 [12] to 1.5 million in 2007 [13].

83% of homeschooling families say they do so for religious and moral reasons - academic concerns are secondary. [13] The goals of movement homeschoolers are not simply the education of their own children, but the destruction of public education as it is practiced in the United States today, with the ultimate goal of transforming the nation into a Christian theocracy. [13]

Rushdoony's ideas are the DNA of modern homeschooling. Homeschooling is not benign - in its modern form, it is the spearpoint of a frightening ideology that should be opposed.

[3] Isabel Lyman, The Homeschooling Revolution, 2000
[4] Frances Patterson, Democracy and Intolerance, 2003
[6] The "Progress Report" referenced in the press release, and subsequently cited by my opponent in R3, is based on this study.
Debate Round No. 3


I thank CASmnl42 for debating with me on this topic.
In this last speech for the PRO, I will isolate the main arguments brought up by the con and address them. I will then go over three main "voting issues" as to why all the readers should vote for the pro.

The main point brought up by the con was that all studies I have provided were subject to "unrepresentative sampling". While this may be true for one isolated study, all of them combined level out inequalities.
There is a method in science where a test is done multiple times, and the results are averaged. The more times the test is done, the more accurate the end result will be. This averaging levels out inequalities and experimental error.
In the same way, although one homeschooling study may be flawed, when all of the studies which provided in round two, and all the studies provided in round three, and even more out there that I have not cited, are observed, almost every single one of them shows the same thing: Homeschoolers are more intelligent that Public Schoolers.
Therefore, this "unrepresentative sampling" problem is a non-issue. There is simply too much data out there to deny it.

The two main arguments brought up by the con was (1) unrepresentative sampling, and (2) the HARO resources
As I said before, the "unrepresentative sampling" is a non-issue.
As for the HARO resources, as I was looking at the web page provided by the con, I found this page:
What I saw was that there are five writers of this HARO blog. And all these resources are simply things that the five writers think homeschooling alumni might need. In fact, they probably were "casting the net wide" in an effort to cover any and all problems that had any chance to surface.
This point then, is not an issue.

The main argument brought up by the con was that homeschooling in America is a "spearpoint of a frightening ideology that should be opposed". He made the point that a certain Mr. R.J. Rushdoony was the father of modern American homeschooling and he said that homeschooling was a form of dominionism and totalitarianism.
This, however, is not true.
When I told my "just-so story", I wasn't making a debating point about how good homeschooling was, I was simply highlighting the origins of homeschooling and public schooling. The main reason that my "sources are utterly inadequate" is that I assumed that everyone knew this fact: homeschooling was the first form of education in America.
(I know, Wikipedia isn't credible. I just included it because it is easier to read than the other source. They both say the same thing.)
These two show one important point: Homeschooling is not, in fact, a form of dominionism and totalitarianism. It is actually the initial way that humans taught their children before the public education system came about.
So we see that the con's point is not true. Homeschooling is not a "spearpoint of a frightening ideology that should be opposed". It is, in fact, the best source of education available to mankind!

Now that I have addressed the points brought up by the con, I would now like to provide two "voting issues", reasons why the readers should vote pro. Please note that I am not bringing up new arguments, I am simply highlighting the main arguments and rebuttals that have run through this debate, and crystallizing them for the ease of reading.

Basically, all arguments brought up by my opponent have been along this vein: "There is no reliable evidence for the superiority of homeschooling". He very rarely, if ever, brought up evidence for the superiority of public schooling. I understand that he is allowed to do this as con, since the burden of proof is on me.
However, I have shown that (1) the "representative sampling" problem is a non-issue, (2) the HARO resource is a non-issue, (3) the "Homeschooling is a frightening ideology" idea is a non-issue, and (4) the homeschooling abuse probem is a non-issue [I proved this is round 3]
All the evidence that con has presented , I have shown to be invalid. Therefore, let's look at what I have proven.

There is overwhelming evidence in favor of homeschooling. in the previous rounds, I have proven that Homeschoolers are intellectually and socially superior to public schoolers, and my opponent has not been able to show otherwise.
Therefore, homeschooling is superior.
All data points unerringly toward one conclusion, and therefore, I stand RESOLVED: Homeschooling is better than Public Schooling.

I thank CASmnl42 for debating with me. It has been very entertaining and enlightening. I look forward to your final rebuttal. Good luck in the voting period!


Thank you, DDDDaniel. In this last round, I will rebut my opponent's Round 3 arguments and defend my case. I will not make any new arguments and will limit myself to previously-cited sources. I will not address my opponent's closing arguments. (Format note: sources are identified by round and source number. Thus, [2:3] is Round 2, Source 3.)

After considering all my opponent has said, I am increasingly of the opinion that this debate turns on the selection and correct interpretation of reliable sources. Although my opponent makes an articulate case, he betrays a lack of understanding of how to identify, read, and compare academic studies, and thus tends to claim more for his side than the evidence actually supports.

Defense: There is no reliable evidence concerning homeschool academic performance.

I challenged my opponent to identify a single study "that employs effective random sampling and controls for social variables." The response did not cite any original research, but only summaries: An article, a "Progress Report," and an infographic.

-Article - the Education Week article cites to two studies on homeschool academic performance - Rudner [3:5] and Ray [3:6]. In Round 3, I cited both original studies and noted the limitations which the researchers themselves identified. Neither report supports the claim that homeschoolers perform better academically than public school students, because both relied on self-selected (i.e., not random) samples which may or may not reflect homeschoolers as a whole.

-"Progress Report" - this document is not a study, but a colorful summary of the Ray study [3:6]. Note that page 7 of the "Progress Report" directs the reader to the original study, which is far more frank in acknowledging limitations than this pamphlet, which was created and distributed by a leading homeschool advocacy group.

-Infographic. An infographic is not an academic study. The sources for the infographic - most of which are reproduced at the end of my opponent's Round 3 argument - are mostly non-academic in nature (including wikipedia and blog posts). The only reliable information was from the Dept. of Education, but that data addresses demographics, not academic performance. And if you follow the links, through the press releases and pamphlets from which the infographic was produced, you eventually find that the only data concerning academic performance was derived once again from - yep - the very same Ray study [3:6].

My opponent can cite as many articles and summaries as he wants about the same two studies, but they don't improve with repetition. The studies are inherently limited, and not valid evidence the homeschool students outperform public school students.

As a final aside, I noted that my opponent claimed that his sources proved that homeschoolers were superior "academically, socially, and even monetarily." That last point demonstrates to me that Pro has an incomplete understanding of statistics. If homeschoolers are, on average, richer than public school students, then a study that shows superior academic performance doesn't necessarily mean homeschooling is better - it might just mean that richer students do better regardless of educational environment. To isolate the effects of homeschooling, a study would need to control for such background social factors - but these studies do not, as the researchers themselves acknowledge.

Defense: Homeschooling facilitates abuse.

My opponent compares that HARO survey [2:10] to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, and finds the numbers between homeschool and public school students to be similar. My opponent appears not to have noticed that this study was not of average or typical public school students, but was specifically a study of "high-risk" students. The researchers selected a school district to study with high levels of "poverty, unemployment, single parent households, and serious crimes." I do not think that is the equivalency with homeschool that my opponent intended to draw.

Of course, no equivalency should be drawn. I have been careful not to claim that the HARO study proves more than it does - there is no evidence that homeschool students face abuse at higher or lower rates than public school student. Notably, survivor and alumni advocacy groups are straightforward about the limitations of their studies. [3:7] What the HARO survey does demonstrate, and what my point has always been, is that abuse exists in the homeschooling community, that this abuse is different in kind than other forms of abuse, and these forms of abuse could not exist or thrive without homeschooling.

Identification abuse is one particular example - no student who attends public school will have parent capable of holding a transcript hostage if, for instance, the student wishes to go to college and the parents will not permit her. Public school serves as an important check on the ability of parents to abuse with impunity - teachers are trained to notice bruises and malnutrition, and a student who attends public school is by definition not going to be isolated and trapped within their home. Victims of abuse have indicated that after changing from homeschool to public school, abuse at home abated (even if it did not stop), because the parents knew that the condition of their child was being monitored. [3:8] (If you read one source, please read [3:8]. Here's the link again: Homeschooling, by its nature, leaves children at the mercy of abusive parents in a way that public schooling, by its nature, does not.


Con has prevailed on its case under any formulation of the burden of proof. Pro has failed to prove the resolution, because I have shown that:
-There are no good, reliable studies that show how homeschoolers perform academically.
-There are no good, reliable studies that show how homeschoolers fare on social development.
-Thus, there is no basis to conclude homeschooling is "better" in either dimension.

I have also made my affirmative case for why homeschooling is not better than public school, as follows:
-Homeschool facilitates parental abuse
-Abuse faced by homeschoolers is different in kind than that faced by public school students
-The particular types of abuse unique to homeschooling could not exist without the specific legal environment created by the homeschooling movement, over time, to remove nearly any government oversight over home education.
-The modern homeschooling movement was founded on a specific ideology of Christian Reconstructionism, which has totalitarian theocracy and imposition of biblical law on society as its direct aim.

I leave the reader to ponder whether there is any relationship between the philosophy behind homeschooling's founding and the abuse that we see occuring in the homeschool population.

My case has been well-researched, supported by appropriate sources, and consistent in understanding the limitations of the available data. I urge your vote for Con.

Finally, one more word of thanks to DDDDaniel. This is the first debate I've completed with an engaged, articulate opponent interested in actually working through the angles of an issue. It's been a genuine pleasure, and I hope we find another opportunity for dialogue in the near future.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 1 year ago
I did a research paper on this a couple months ago, and I'm interested to vote on this, but I'm too tired right now. If one of you guys can shoot me a reminder tomorrow, I'll try to give it a decent vote.
Posted by DDDDaniel 1 year ago
Hmm. That's strange. For some reason, It added a few letters to the end of the hyperlink.
Here's the real one:
If it leads you to one like this:, just delete the %C2%A0/ at the end of the URL. It should take you to the actual report.

I am having a lot of fun with this debate. It is much more enjoyable to actually argue with someone who uses logic and reasoning instead of emotions and illogical arguments.
Posted by CASmnl42 1 year ago
DDDDaniel, the link you posted to the NIH study appears to be broken:
Would you be willing to cite a fixed link here in the comments, or identify the report more fully so I can locate and review? Thank you.

Good round. I'm having fun, hope you are too.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TBR 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Since this is a "who won" debate, I want to make it clear that both pro and con did an excellent job. Conduct, S&G, formatting, structure. Great on both sides. He problems for Pro were weak sources. Blogs, and bias sites. As con noted, home school has less over-site, so gathering the metrics for proper study are very difficult. I was disappointed that only public school was accounted for. Private schools have higher enrollment than home schools, and show higher academic results. They account similarity for the effect of money and social status effecting scoring. Excellent debate. Worth the read.