Record: Donna M. Johnson, “Confrontation and Cooperation: The Complicated Relationship between Homeschoolers and Public Schools” in Peabody Journal of Education 88 (2013): 298-308. [Preview here]
Summary: Johnson, an education professor at Dakota Wesleyan University, here summarizes a wide range of issues and initiatives connecting homeschooling and public schools.
She begins with a somewhat random look at the legal history of homeschooling in a few states, concluding generally that while in the past there was intense conflict between homeschoolers and public school personnel, more recently public school officials, especially at the local level, are less likely to see conflict and more likely to look for common ground.
Johnson next summarizes a motley assortment of cooperative ventures that have been tried in various school districts over the past decade or so. She describes the Community-Assisted Schooling Alternatives Vida Homeschool Enrichment Center in Tempe, Arizona, a public school-financed and staffed resource where homeschoolers go for six hours a week for classes. She describes the longstanding dual enrollment program offered to homeschoolers in Iowa. She summarizes studies of public school officials’ attitudes toward homeschoolers. She canvasses current issues like the growth of online public schooling, controversies over homeschooler access to extracurricular activities like school sports, and special education services. Johnson concludes with a prediction that both conflict and cooperation between homeschoolers and public school districts will likely continue in the future.
As my summary perhaps indicates, this article is more a grab bag of related themes than a sustained analysis. While it has many interesting paragraphs, the sum is less than its parts. A more comprehensive look at all of the programs being offered by all states like the two I highlighted above would have been a wonderful addition to the literature. Johnson does something like this for the so-called “Tim Tebow” laws allowing homeschooler participation in school sports when she describes how the number of states offering such participation has grown from 7 in 1997 to 22 today. How widespread are dual enrollment programs or enrichment centers? How many states have online offerings like the Florida Virtual School? A well-organized article with more comprehensive data on such questions would be most welcome.