The Edmond Sun

Opinion

October 16, 2008

Oklahomans are OK with homeschooling

Oklahoma homeschoolers can tell you that our state’s legal climate with respect to home education is probably the most favorable in the nation. Indeed, as Scott Moody and I wrote in a March 21 column in the San Francisco Examiner, California homeschoolers upset with onerous restrictions in the Golden State might want to consider moving to Oklahoma. For when it comes to educational freedom for homeschoolers, “You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma” is a massive understatement.

And it’s not just the legal climate. The climate of public opinion in Oklahoma is also friendly. In May 2004 I commissioned the nationally recognized polling firm Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates to ask 400 registered voters in Oklahoma: “Do you favor or oppose the right of parents to homeschool their children?” The survey, which has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent, found that 69 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat favor the right to homeschool, while 26 percent strongly or somewhat oppose.

More interesting news arrived this summer. It appears that Oklahomans believe home education is equal to or better than public education in this state.

A new scientific survey, this one of 1,200 likely Oklahoma voters and with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent, was released in June by the Friedman Foundation, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and eight other organizations.

In this survey, Oklahomans were asked: “If it were your decision and you could select any type of school, what type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?” The results are as follows:

• Private school — 41 percent;

• Homeschooling — 19 percent;

• Charter school — 17 percent;

• Regular public school — 17 percent; and

• Virtual school — 6 percent.

Now in one sense, these results may seem surprising. After all, more than 641,000 students actually are attending Oklahoma public schools this fall. That’s more than 90 percent of Oklahoma’s school-age children, which is a far cry from 17 percent. What gives?

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Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results