A new analysis of homeschool regulation and abuse cases shows no correlation between stricter oversight and child safety. Researcher Brian Ray with the National Home Education Research Institute conducted the analysis after a high-profile California child abuse case prompted lawmakers in at least two states to consider new restrictions ostensibly designed to prevent abuse.
Home education advocates derided proposed bills in California and Hawaii, noting no studies on child abuse list homeschooling as a risk factor. Adding to that, Ray’s new research shows the level of state regulation had no effect on the number of abuse cases in homeschooling families.
The research used reports of abuse collected between 2000 and 2017 by Homeschooling’s Invisible Children, a group advocating for more homeschooling oversight. Ray’s analysis showed states with relatively lenient regulation had about the same frequency of abuse cases as states with medium and high levels of regulation.
“The lack of a correlation undermines the claim that there is some causal relationship between state control of homeschooling and abuse of students,” he noted in his report. “In this analysis, there was no significant correlation between regulation and homeschool abuse.”
Ray also noted homeschooled children are statistically less likely to suffer abuse than students in public or private schools: “The limited evidence available shows that homeschooled children are abused at a lower rate than are those in the general public, and no evidence shows that the home educated are at any higher risk of abuse.” —L.J.