Well, this is a curious finding, articulated by Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds on Instapundit:
The takeaway here is that people who didn’t go to school at all did as well as or better than people who did. Considering the huge amounts of money, and other social resources, that we invest in K-12 education, that’s kind of a big deal. Of course, you’d want to do a bigger study before taking this too seriously on a policy level, but it ought to spark at least a bit of rethinking.
Of course, an important caveat is that “unschoolers,” as they’re called, are bound to be a self-selecting group, the last paragraph of Reynolds’s source article puts well:
In sum: “The findings of our survey suggest that unschooling can work beautifully if the whole family, including the children, buy into it, if the parents are psychologically healthy and happy, and if the parents are socially connected to the broader world and facilitate their children’s involvement with that world. It can even work well when some of these criteria are not fully met.”
Education is so dependent on individual circumstances that a changing world will inevitably require freedom to adapt. Unfortunately, we’ve built a massive, self-interested education establishment that may be among the most resistant-to-change institutions in our society.
One wonders how we’d be doing, right now, if the progressive sentiments of the last century didn’t put education into such a backwards, bureaucratic model. Parents would have sought the best opportunities for their children — because, if you haven’t noticed, parents tend to love their children and want what’s best for them more reliably than anybody else in the world — and communities would have figured out ways to guide families along, helping where needed — because that’s what communities tend to do.
Sadly, there are always those who think they know better and care more (conspicuously benefiting themselves through the process of dictating to others).