Saturday, June 08, 2013

Another Snarky Thing I'm Not Saying on Homeschool Forums

There's a news article making the rounds which says something like this: Homeschooling is growing at 7 times the rate of public school enrollment.

To which I can only say: Duh.

Most kids are already enrolled in public school. The only way public school is going to grow significantly in enrollment is if there are suddenly, say, twice as many kindergarteners as there were graduates. Which doesn't happen very often.

The vast majority of kids aren't already homeschooling. Therefore, it takes a very small number of kids switching to homeschooling to make a significant rate of growth.

If that doesn't make sense like that, try imagining a town with 100 kids in it. Ninety of them are in public school, eight in private school, and two homeschool. This year there are two extra kindergarteners, and one of them goes to public school while one gets homeschooled. Voila! Homeschooling is increasing at the rate of 150% (3 instead of 2), while public school is increasing at the paltry rate of just over 1% (91 instead of 90). So homeschooling is increasing at 150 times the rate of public schooling!

This is not exactly worthy of a headline.

(This turns up in other areas, too. Just keep in mind when someone talks about X belief system/activity/product being the "fastest-growing" in its field, it usually means it was really, really small to begin with.)


Silvia said...

Reminds me of the latest one on jobs. My husband sent me an email with a headline saying that in the past months, several thousand jobs have been created. If they give you the numbers for jobs lost, we are still at deficit.

My husband calls it the "I came in third" phenomena. Wow, that is pretty good, third, huh. But there were only three participants to start with.

However, do not overlook the fact that hs is becoming more known, present, and practiced, in places where it used to be non existent. That, as a moral giving factor, and a trend indicator, counts much.

Diary of an Autodidact said...

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." ~ Popularized by Mark Twain

Silvia said...

:) Good one!