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That homeschooling as a form of alternative education should be abolished

13 points
7 points
BifurcationsBifurcations (PRO)
So this will be a short post but I want to try and deal with two things why the rise in homeschooling is bad for progression of new ideas and why the school structure provides benefits. 

First I want to deal with the stats of homeschooling. I am not going to try and argue against the good test scores or the proficient emotional ability of homeschooled kids although some of the studies have been criticised I don't think that is what this debate is about. There is still only a minority of kids getting homeschooled and judging that minority performance in standardised testing against the majority of kids who are in public school is difficult to say the least. I think the reasons that parents take their kids out of school is what this debate is about. I want to show that these reasons cause problems as homeschooling grows in popularity and that we can and should solve the issues that are currently present within school.

The reasons sited for homeschooling are [1]:
  • 48.9%-Can give child a better education at home

  • 38.4%- Religious reasons

  • 25.6%- Poor learning environment at school

  • 16.8%- Family reasons

  • 15.1%- To develop character/morality

  • 12.1%- Object to what school teaches

  • 11.6%- School does not challenge child

  • 11.5%- Other problems with available schools

  • 9.0%- Student behavior problems at school

  • 8.2%- Child has special needs/disability

This to me becomes three overarching reasons:
  • Issues with resources and quality of public school
  • Morality and life lessons 
  • Additional problems 

I'm focussing on the first two in this post.

1. Issues with resources and quality of public school

Using the USA as an example, it is generally true that the quality of public schools are shocking and this is particularly true in disadvantaged areas. A Government needs to be far more accountable to the population when it comes to education because every child has a right to fair education and the government should be providing equal opportunities. At the moment homeschooling being an option for some families relives the Government of some of its responsibility to provide adequate education because if they don't like the school they can go to a private one or be homeschooled. Unfortunately this is not the case for all families particularly in disadvantaged areas. A single parent would really struggle to homeschool their children and work to support them. Even families with two parents in a lot of cases desperately need both parents to be working hard jobs to make ends meet. This policy now holds the government fully accountable to the populous in terms of providing education because they are now the only option for disadvantaged kids (apart from scholarships which are few and far between). This puts pressure on the Government to improve the standard of school as more and more parents will be lobbying to make this change. Parents are a large part of the population and if a government wants to be reflected next term then they have political reasons not to anger parents but instead t please them in order to secure votes. There is also social and economic incentives to having a well educated population. First of all a good education gives you more options for later life so means that crime is a less likely career path [2]. Lower crime rates are something is inherently good for a functioning society. Also the economic reasons for the individual but also the stimulation of the markets are caused when people have a better education and can work in better paying jobs (also just more likely to ave a job) [3]. These are the reasons that a Government will improve the quality of education. I do have to defend here a lack of resources at the moment because that was a reason cited for why homeschooling was better. Here [4] it is shown that the USA military budget is 54% of the total Government spending while education is only 6% ($70 billion). Say we double the education budget and take that from military spending. This would be a reduction of just 12% of the military budget leaving it at $528.5 billion which seems reasonable to me. So we would have the resources to apply the changes and there is the political incentive to do so.

2. Morality and life lessons

This is the main problem I can see with the rise of homeschooling. Many people are citing religious reasons accompanied with an objection to the teachings of the school and to instil their own view of morality onto the children. Parents and religion already have an adequate amount of space in the childs life to impact their morality and view of the world. What a school can offer is the support structure and the neutrality for that child to voice, explore and form a morality and world view of their own. This works because they can and should be taught by the teacher that there are multiple view points and these opinions should be respected. A parent who is taking a child out of school to purposefully teach a specific morality or view point will necessarily have to say that other view points are wrong. This does not give the child the frame work that they need to compute two opposing viewpoints and make a decision about what they believe is correct. This is problematic in the future if the rise of home schooling continues because it would become more and more acceptable for parents to be the sole arbitrator of their childs morality. While the parent does have a right to impact that decision in some way homeschooling allows this to be taken to an extreme. When less children are brought up having to understand why multiple opinions can be "true" and should be respected social cohesion is much harder. For example a parent teaching a child that being gay is wrong. This would happen to a certain extent with public schooling but a school system has to recognise a certain utilitarian calculus and therefore these views are likely moderated with a teaching providing an alternative opinion i.e. all love is equal and should be respected. Homeschooling solidifies a parental opinion in the child without giving them the opportunity to explore and make their own decisions. This leads to community isolation and makes it much harder to move past the idea the "i am right and you are wrong". it makes it harder generationally to present new ideas to further moral debates because the previous generations moral compass is so ingrained within the children.

Sorry this was late and rushed but I look forward to the rest of the debate.


Return To Top | Posted:
2016-02-28 16:55:37
| Speak Round
condeelmastercondeelmaster (CON)
In my opinion, this is a freedom issue. I can't say if homeschooling is more effective than traditional schooling with  a 100% certainty. However, that's not the discussion here. The discussion here is if it should be abolished, prohibited.


Homeschooling shouldn't be abolished. Parent's have the right to choose what kind of education they want for their children.  Abolishing homeschooling is limiting people's rights and freedoms. I know that we can't let people do whatever they want, that would be debauchery. What demarcates the limit between freedom and debauchery is the impact of an action. If an action harms the others, it's debauchery. To sum up, my rights end where your rights start. Let's apply this to our main problem. homeschooling harm anyone? If I get homeschooled, will the others get harmed? Both are no. Then, allowing homeschooling is freedom not debauchery. Therefore, we must support it, not abolish it.

Homeschooling also provides the opportunity for parents to introduce their religious ideas to their kids. In this way, parents would be sure that their kids get the best moral education, according to them. Parents have the right to teach their religion to their children, and homeschooling helps.

Besides that, the emotional and physical freedom also increases. Homeshooled kids are free from strict time tables, homework, peer pressure, bullies, and so on.


The obvious objection to homeschooling is that, since parents aren't teachers, kids could have a bad education and we wouldn't know it. This can be solved, and actually, it's solved in this way in many countries where homeschooling is allowed. Homeschooled children should be tested in order to confirm their level of education. Then, we can ensure that homeschooled children have the same level of education as the not homeschooled children.

Another famous objection to homeschooling is the increase of the parents' time demand. It's true that some parents don't have he needed time to homeschool their kids, but that's why homeschooling is an option. If you want and you can, then go and do it. If you can't, then don't do it. We shouldn't take away the freedom of choice from parents just because a few can't homeschool. 

Lastly, some people say that parents that struggle economically can't afford homeschooling their kids. But again, homeschooling is not mandatory but an option. If you can't, don't do it; but if you can do it.  Saying that a few can't homeschool their kids, is not a reason to prohibit homeschooling to everyone.

Studies on the issue

Ph.D. Ray D. Brian makes a summary of what home schooling research has found in his article "Research facts on Homeschooling" (2015). However, if you want to read the actual studies I can provide a list: 
                                        • Homeschooling associated with beneficial learner and societal outcomes but educators do not promote it, Brian D. Ray, 2013, Peabody Journal of Education, 88(3), 324-341.
                                        • Academic achievement and demographic traits of homeschool students: A nationwide study, Brian D. Ray, 2010, Academic Leadership Journal,www.academicleadership.org.
                                        • A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls. Susannah Sheffer, 1995.
                                        • Home Educated and Now Adults: Their Community and Civic Involvement, Views About Homeschooling, and Other Traits, Brian D. Ray, 2004.
                                        • Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us, by Brian D. Ray, Journal of College Admission, 2004, No. 185, 5-11.
                                        • Homeschooling and the question of socialization revisited, Richard G. Medlin, 2013, Peabody Journal of Education, 88(3), 284-297.
                                        • National Education Association. (2014).Rankings of the States 2013 and Estimates of School Statistics 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014 from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA-Rankings-and-Estimates-2013-2014.pdf.

                                        • The Truth About Boys and Girls. Sara Mead, 2006.
                                        • Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling, Brian D. Ray, 2005.

What all this studies and papers claim is very positive towards homeschooling. Here are some facts about homeschooled confirmed by these studies:
        • "The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests."
        • "Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income."
        • "Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement."
        • "Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions."
        • "The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development."
        • "(Homeschooled adults) go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population."

So studies show that there's no negative impact on homeschooled kids.


Homeschooling does not harm the kids nor the others. We should permit parents to choose whether they want to homeschool their children or not. Abolishing it is limiting freedom with no real reason. We shouldn't abolish homeschooling.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-03-03 14:49:01
| Speak Round
BifurcationsBifurcations (PRO)
I am going to extend my opening arguments in particular with a comparison to my opponents argument on freedom.

I'll rebut the rest of Con's arguments separately.


1. Other Possible Objections
I argued none of these and don't intend to because I agree that these are poor oppositions to homeschooling.

2. Studies on the Issue
My opponent presented 9 studies and claimed "What all this studies and papers claim is very positive towards homeschooling". There is first of all no way anyone has time to read all of these to verify that assertion and besides that, I already conceded that most students who are homeschooled do well in tests and sometimes even better than public schooled kids. My opponent stated in their opening lines "I can't say if homeschooling is more effective than traditional schooling with a 100% certainty. However, that's not the discussion here." I agree with this and stated so in my opening round, so this all seems like a moot argument by Con's own admission. My opponent then goes on to state some facts without showing where they were referenced from specifically and states these facts show that "there's no negative impact on homeschooled kids". This is an untrue assertion; all Con has proven is that there can be academic benefits of being homeschooled. This is not analysis proving that no negative impacts exist especially after Con conceded that the debate is not about academic success.

Morality, Religion and Freedoms 
The best and most relevant argument my opponent provided was the analysis on freedoms and I agree this is the most important comparative in this debate. There was no direct rebuttal of my opening arguments but some of this analysis implicitly interacts with mine. I will go through my opponents argument in detail and rebut the analysis while providing some direct comparisons to my own analysis from round 1.

"Parent's have the right to choose what kind of education they want for their children. Abolishing homeschooling is limiting people's rights and freedoms."
I disagree with the first statement here and agree with the second. I will argue that parents rights should not extend to the ability to take children out of school to teach them specific religious or moral lessons or because you as a parent disagree with what the school is teaching. Note that Con has not analysed why parents have the right to choose the child's education, this was just asserted as the premise of the rest of the argument. Governments already dictate necessary areas of education for all students (homeschooled, private schools, public schools) I am arguing that I believe Governments should extend this to teaching moral and religious education in a neutral and comparative way. This cannot be guaranteed in homeschool households because of the fact many parents want to homeschool their kids for this specific reason. I argued in round 1 that an increasing popularity of homeschooling for this purpose means that parents can and will promote their own moral standings and religious ideals as objectively correct. Schools by law [apart from religious schools which is am also happy to argue should be banned] have to present moral and religious ideas in a balanced and neutral manner. Good teachers will also have discussions with their pupils on controversial issues such that they understand both sides of the argument and understand how to balance these opinions in order to form their own. This is crucial in developing a respectful and tolerant population. This should be high on a Governments agenda because a tolerant population means less hate crimes, less victims of hate crime, less extreme views and because minorities that are at risk from this are citizens that the Government also has a duty to protect, allowing them to live a safe life. More tolerance leads to less social unrest which makes the country much easier to Govern. This is why it has to be a Government priority. This is why the Government can limit parental right to choose what kind of moral education children receive. I agree that it is limiting rights and I will analyse why this is allowed next.

"If an action harms the others, it's debauchery. To sum up, my rights end where your rights start. Let's apply this to our main problem. homeschooling harm anyone? If I get homeschooled, will the others get harmed? Both are no. Then, allowing homeschooling is freedom not debauchery."
First and third party harms are not the only reason rights can be limited; where a Government has a duty to provide something for all citizens then rights can also be limited by Governmental control. This is what I argued above. It is also simply asserted by Con that no first or third party harms exist. I have analysed why parents having the sole influence over their child's opinions and morality. I have explained why this does not allow children to grow up with the skills to compare opinions that are different and generate your own opinions from this. This is a crucial skill of analysis that helps you navigate politics and most situations of social discussion or conflict. This limits your ability to contribute effectively and make informed political decisions which I argue is harmful to you as an individual. It also means that it is more difficult to be tolerant of other people's lives and opinions. This does not always lead to hate crimes but ignorance and intolerance are certainly reasons why people speak out in anger and hate against one another. This is a third party harm. I argued in round 1 that as homeschooling grows in popularity communities become more isolated as opinions are constantly solidified to the child in the echo chamber of the household teachings. This means that intolerance will increase as less children are presented with counter opinions in an informative educational way. This means the Government has a duty to control this to prevent intolerance getting worse for the reasons I gave above.

"Homeschooling also provides the opportunity for parents to introduce their religious ideas to their kids. In this way, parents would be sure that their kids get the best moral education, according to them. Parents have the right to teach their religion to their children, and homeschooling helps."
Yes this is true but it is problematic because it would be the only opinions that the children are taught as I analysed above. When children are not in school they are normally with their parents who would teach them their religion and beliefs as normal however while they are in school the are exposed to other ideas and taught to be tolerant of different opinions. Parents can still teach their children religion but children should also learn in a factual way that other religions exist, what those beliefs actually are and how you can disagree with those beliefs but still respect the people who believe that. Parents who are homeschooling their children to teach religious issues will necessarily teach those beliefs as they only truth. Religious studies at the moment is not something the Government can legislate should be taught therefore there is no reason for the parents to provide their children eduction on other religions. Even if this could be legislated we cannot control wether every parent is teaching these beliefs in an impartial and tolerant way particularly when they are diametrically opposed to the beliefs that the parents hold. In schools this is more achievable because the teachers are part of a hierarchy and feedback structure.

"Besides that, the emotional and physical freedom also increases. Homeshooled kids are free from strict time tables, homework, peer pressure, bullies, and so on."
Finally this is also an untrue assertion that Con has made. There is no indication that parents won't teach their pupils in a strict timetable [they may want to teach punctuality and see a benefit in introducing structure to a child's life], there is also no analysis as to why a strict timetable is a harmful thing. I find it kind of funny that my opponent thinks that when all of the lessons are taught at home the child does not have homework. Presumably this is called independent study to supplement the lessons taught. Again there is no analysis why homework is bad. So if the pupils are homeschooled they will not experience bullies or peer pressure? Schools are not the only place this happens. Kids can be and are bullied at home and the children should presumably be interacting with people their own age at home when they are playing or at clubs so are still subject to peer pressure. There is no analysis as to why this would not happen if the pupils are homeschooled. 

I have rebutted all of my opponents arguments but I am still waiting for a direct response against the material I provided in round 1 and have extended in this round. I have proven why there is a direct harm to the children in terms of there ability to weigh contrasting opinions and why parents solidifying moral structures on there child without this analytical ability means that intolerance and community isolation will continue to rise. I have shown that it is the Governments duty to prevent intolerance therefore it is acceptable for parents rights to be deferred to the Government on the matter of education. This means that homeschooling should be abolished.

I look forward to the rest of the debate. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-03-06 20:58:32
| Speak Round
BifurcationsBifurcations (PRO)
That was unfortunate.

To sum up quickly we both agreed that this debate was not about the children's abilities to pass tests or engage socially but it was a debate about wether the government or the parents should have educational control for their children. 

I argued that the government currently has control over most of the educational subjects however with homeschooling they cannot control the way in which ideas and morals are taught which. This means children are less able to make a reasoned comparison between two ideas and form their own opinion because parents are increasingly taking children out of school to enforce their own morality on to their children. I argued this has long term harms with wider integration meaning that this is something the government should have control over and not the parents. Con argues that it is ok for the parents to teach their children morality and I agree with this. Parents still have the opportunity to teach their own morality even when the children attend pubic school but with a school environment they have an opportunity to be more exposed to different ideas and morals and have the opportunity to learn how to form their own opinions.

For anyone judging; please don't just use the fact that forfeits happened as the justification, a lot of stuff happened in the debate and I think it was class commitments that kept my opponent from posting so please give both of us more of an opportunity to learn. 

No matter how you judge, thank you for reading this.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-03-17 09:54:52
| Speak Round

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Yeah, I don't mind
Posted 2016-02-27 21:30:59
sorry for the delay i'll post this tomorrow morning
Posted 2016-02-27 20:37:50
Posted 2016-02-23 21:31:17
i'll start this one when we have finished the tracking debate
Posted 2016-02-23 19:35:10
i know right? :P
Posted 2016-02-22 20:17:02
Another educational topic hahaha
Posted 2016-02-22 19:26:25
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2016-03-27 10:09:41
SD7395Judge: SD7395
Win awarded to: Bifurcations
2016-03-28 23:48:46
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Bifurcations
2016-04-01 23:27:01
jerrhJudge: jerrh
Win awarded to: Bifurcations
There were two main points of contention in this debate: is homeschooling better for students? Should parents be able to choose to teach their children religion through homeschooling? Over all, PRO made the arguments that proved their case better on both of the issues above.

For the first issue, PRO argued that while homeschooling may be better for homeschooled students, it hurts all other students, since, when faced with a poorly-maintained education system, parents would simply take their kids out of school rather than lobby the government for change, meaning that the government would have less of an incentive to improve the educational system. PRO's argument wasn't refuted by CON, but CON still had something to say about the first issue; CON argued that homeschooled children perform better than children in public school, thereby demonstrating that homeschooling is good for students. Yet PRO's argument negated CON's, since the fact that PRO's argument was about all students makes it outweigh CON's argument.

For the second issue, PRO demonstrated that parents should not be able to use homeschooling to teach religion because it causes conflict in society; homeschooled children might not be exposed to all points of view in a neutral way. PRO used the problems religious education may cause to refute CON's argument about choice, since the government has an obligation to take choices away if they are harmful.

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2016-04-02 00:15:45
DimblebyJudge: Dimbleby
Win awarded to: condeelmaster
I didn't follow the logic presented by bifurcations. It seems to me condeelmaster presented the more well- rounded case.
1 user rated this judgement as biased
1 comment on this judgement
Hi again can I also get some feedback on this debate. Could you expand your reasoning a bit just in terms of why my analysis failed and why my opponents succeeded?
Posted 2016-04-04 22:17:25
2016-04-03 07:02:53
gavstone21Judge: gavstone21
Win awarded to: condeelmaster
2016-04-04 18:08:25
IncorrigiblePerspectiveJudge: IncorrigiblePerspective
Win awarded to: condeelmaster
Bifurcations didn't satisfy me to the point where I would be ready to strip people's right's as parents to teach their children as they see fit.
3 users rated this judgement as a vote bomb
1 comment on this judgement
From my understanding of judging you have to judge the debate no the arguments presented and not just your own opinion. Can you provide some more detail on what my opponent said that sufficiently undermined my claims in the debate?
Posted 2016-04-04 20:52:59
2016-04-06 04:42:08
TheHouseJudge: TheHouse
Win awarded to: Bifurcations
Solely using the metric put forth in CONs case on the limiting of rights based on the impact of an action, specifically harms imposed by that action, the motion passes. This is due to the harms that arise from uncontested narratives, particularly in moral and/or religious teaching, that PRO puts forward in their case which goes completely uncontested by CON. As PRO point out in round 2 CON has merely asserted the right of parents to choose the education given to their children and PRO gives adequate rebuttal to this showing that this right is already limited by the Government.

Due to the rounds forfeited feedback will be mostly general and a plea to please stick with the debate once you have taken the challenge. Read/listen to your opponent’s arguments, especially on CON as it is the inherent advantage of PRO to frame what the debate is, this will not only give you a better understanding of the debate but will allow you to tailor your arguments to better oppose your opponent’s case. Frame your arguments to suite the debate, especially in regard to rebuttal, as it is most effective when directed against your opponents case, draw attention to these areas using some of the detail of your opponents arguments rather than frame it as general objections, which lessen the impact of your rebuttal on your opponents case.
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2016-04-06 15:17:29
JurisprudenceJudge: Jurisprudence
Win awarded to: condeelmaster
I feel this debate was conducted in the right spirit and with both sides presented balanced arguments. My decision is primarily based on who's core arguments stack up to scrutiny better. One the one side was the idea that school prevents radical/religious indoctrination of children that they might experience if homeschooled, and on the other side the principle that abolishing homeschooling would be a curtailing of liberty and freedom. By that standard, I have to award the win to condeelmaster.

Condeelmaster, I personally would have liked you to discuss the legality and Constitutional rights regarding freedom of education, just because i feel it always adds weight to the discussion.

Bifurcations, I really like your writing style! At another time i'll be voting for you, i'm sure. Your argument lost me slightly in the opening round when you seemed to suggest that schools would only improve if the government mandates that they are compulsory, but then undermined your own argument by suggesting ways in which the government could make savings in other areas anyway, which I personally felt slightly negated your argument.
Your second argument of the morality also left me cold, not least because of how unapologetically religious many state schools are. The argument that children receive a more balanced and well rounded education was not substantiated with evidence, and so fell down for me.
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Hi thanks for voting and complimenting my writing style (never received that compliment before :P )

I would like to ask a few questions for additional feedback, if that's alright?

Can you maybe talk through some of the responses myself and my opponent had along the lines of the rights argumentation?

I don't understand what you mean about the opening argument?

Yes it's true I defiantly could have spent more time discussing the nuances of schooling but I feel like I provide some sort of comparison for this when I talk about the school structure (yes that should have been discussed more) and how there is literally no other opinion with homeschooling. My argument is not that religion is bad but rather that children have a better chance at learning how to balance ideas in a school than they do with home schooling. Did I mess this up?

thanks :)
Posted 2016-04-06 15:26:20
2016-04-09 16:36:40
Ab_MJudge: Ab_M
Win awarded to: Bifurcations
Con made a lot of academic assertions which he agreed were not good voting issues, and then talked about why parents should have the freedom to school their children how they want, with the harm principle as his basis. This was not a strong argument, and Pro made the expected counter-argument that this harms students, and thus, the harm principle isn't upheld. Con did not respond. Con asserted that parents should have the right to educate their children in an environment biased towards a specific religion, but did not support this assertion.

Con, I would've loved to see more on why public school is socially destructive for students. Look at suicide rates! I am homeschooled, and I can honestly say that I have a much stronger sense of self worth than I would have and am more confident than I would be if I had been in a public school environment. This is the main reason I support the homeschool movement. Also, I would have liked to see you contest the idea that public schools offer an objective sample of worldviews - I have Christian friends in public school, and they are discriminated against every day. They can't write from their own worldview and expect a fair grade.The label "Christian" is laughed at, not tolerated. The public school is just as indoctrinating as a home school, and the problem of indoctrination is not solved by moving it to a different building.
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