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Home schoolers are now a  divisive, multidimensional, heterogeneous population. No longer the preserve of left wing unschoolers and right wing fundamentalists, the great range of people make it very difficult to draw even broad generalizations about the phenomenon.  In addition, one article of faith unites all home schoolers: that home schooling should be unregulated. Home schoolers of all stripes believe that they alone should decide how their children are educated, and they unite in order to press for the absence of regulations or the most permissive regulation possible.
 Flexibility in laws governing mandatory schooling for all children between certain ages opened the door to educational options. Matters of conscience, convenience, and custom led some parents to have their children schooled at home, or at least, away from traditional educational institutions. In no other educational setting are parents so fully responsible for determining what children are  taught. Unregulated home schooling is nothing less than total and complete parental authority over schooling with minimal regard for the quality and content of instruction. Home schooling, therefore, represents the ultimate parenting authority over schooling. The theoretical arguments  for regulating home schooling begin from this point. If compulsory education is the law of the land, the question must be asked whether the schooling of children should ever be under the total and complete control of parents.
 Kathleen Lyons, a spokesperson for the National Education Association the largest and most powerful teachers’ union in America believes that home schooling cannot provide students with a comprehensive education experience. Regardless, home schooling parents claim that they are, and always will be, the appropriate authority over their children, and that what needs to be changed is the state’s authority over the upbringing of children. So let us ask two separate, but related, questions: What justifies, if anything, government authority over the education of children? and what justifies parental authority over the education of their own children?
Recognizing that parents ought indeed to possess wide ranging authority to raise their children as they see fit,  questions of the government’s role need to be answered, especially where and when its stewardship of children’s education starts and stops.
 This is so for many reasons, chief among them that parents are responsible for the care of their children, and  their knowledge of their children is better than any school teacher.
Let us take it as given, therefore, that parental authority over their children is legitimate and desirable. What reason is there, in that case, to accept sovereignty over the education of children by the government, an authority that could in certain circumstances curtail the authority of parents? The answer should lie in the quality of education that students receive. While critics insist that the government should regulate home schooling in order to ensure the quality of education, recent studies have shown that the degree to which home schooling is regulated by state governments has no bearing on student test scores. In fact,  on major achievement tests, almost a third of home schooled students earn scores in the highest decile (i.e., the top 10 percent). With that level of performance, the so-called “citizenship argument” against unregulated home schooling, which seeks to justify providing children with a civic education, is highly questionable.
Standardized tests translate home school achievement into public-school-achievement terms
Advocates of another proposition, known as the “freedom argument,” seek to justify providing children with an education that cultivates their freedom and thereby  avoid the development of what may be called “ethically servile” adults. Together, the two arguments justify some state authority over the education of children and rule out total parental control of education.
1. Which choice results in the most effective opening sentence of this paragraph?
3. Which choice best describes the central idea of this paragraph?
4. The writer is thinking about listing additional responsibilities of parents who are home schooling their children. Which choice would best accomplish this goal?
10. Which choice most accurately reports data shown on the graph?
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