How Brian Ray’s flawed research legitimized American homeschooling

December 11, 2023 ☼ educationhome-schooling

Source: The Washington Post (Link)

“You see this in a lot of areas,” said Jim Dwyer, a professor at William & Mary Law School who wrote a book about home schooling. “Someone with an ideological agenda can concoct bad social science and convince naive researchers and naive audiences to accept some position. It’s clearly true of Ray. … The research he relies on is not scientifically valid.”

Taken as a whole, the academic literature shows mixed academic outcomes for home schooling: Some studies find benefits; others show deficiencies.

Nonetheless, Ray’s work, which concludes home-schoolers score far above public school students on standardized tests, has been widely cited for many years. He has exercised enormous influence in winning acceptance for the practice and minimizing regulations. J. Michael Smith, a former president of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the nation’s chief home-school lobbying group, said his group “has lost track of how many times Brian Ray has been called on to help establish the validity and success of homeschooling in court rooms and legislatures around the country.”