January 31, 2013

Save money; pay parents to home-school children

Letter to the Editor

Woe to many a Mainer, spending, taxes and the like. How do we overcome such obstacles today and beyond?

Aside from being subject to a monetary system which will fail by design, can we make things more efficient in our state? I think so. Perhaps considering a different perspective on education could reduce one of the costliest endeavors in our state budget.

According to localschooldirectory.com, there are 192,935 students in Maine schools; 4,927 students are home-schooled. According to the same website it costs $12,603 for each student who is not home-schooled.

I think it would be plausible to pay parents to home-school their children. Why not pay a parent $9,000 per year to home-school a student? And then perhaps $4,500 for each additional child, with some type of limit to keep things realistic.

So parents with three children could educate them for $18,000 instead of $37,000. On a larger scale, if 19,000 students (about 10 percent) were home-schooled and 25 percent of those were "additional children," the cost would be about $150 million.

When compared to about $240 million as the current cost, we can see that the aforementioned 10 percent shift of students creates roughly $90 million in savings.

Due to the state's vested interest, I think the students should be able to pass reasonable tests given by the state.

There must be some way to verify kids are learning something.

Another aspect of subsidized home-schooling would be the reconnection of the family unit, which is just as important as the financial aspect.

I have nothing against public school teachers. I liked many of them. I simply think subsidized home-schooling would be an innovative, cost-saving, culture-changing experiment worth at least a thought.

Tobey McAfee

Augusta

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