Readability

Give Homeschoolers a Break

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Amid talk of vouch­ers and char­ter schools, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion should con­sider sig­nif­i­cant tax breaks for homeschoolers.

The rea­sons for home­school­ing vary. Some par­ents want to empha­size a reli­gious edu­ca­tion for their chil­dren. Oth­ers want to avoid the left-​leaning indoc­tri­na­tion of pub­lic schools. Still oth­ers face inad­e­quate or unsafe schools.

Accord­ing to the National Home Edu­ca­tion Research Insti­tute, more than two mil­lion stu­dents in K-​12 are schooled at home. One study found that more than 30 per­cent of these stu­dents are Black, His­panic or Asian. More­over, the stu­dents and their par­ents save tax­pay­ers more than $20 bil­lion a year based on an esti­mated cost of more than $11,000 a year per child for a pub­lic school education.

But home­school­ers receive no sig­nif­i­cant tax breaks for teach­ing their children.

Home­schools in most states can­not be run as a busi­ness or even as a non-​profit as par­ents can­not charge their chil­dren for their edu­ca­tion. More­over, home­school­ers can­not deduct dona­tions to their own school. Also, the IRS usu­ally does not allow home­school­ing to be con­sid­ered a hobby, which could reap some lim­ited tax benefits.

Here are some pos­si­bil­i­ties to make home­school­ing more affordable:

–Allow tax breaks for tuition and books pur­chased from home­school­ing businesses.

–Pro­vide deduc­tions for indi­vid­u­als who are the pri­mary teacher.

–Give tax incen­tives for tutor­ing in spe­cific sub­jects, such as math, sci­ence and technology.

–Pro­vide a mech­a­nism to receive a reduc­tion in local prop­erty taxes, which often are paid to local schools, for indi­vid­u­als who homeschool.

Open the school­house doors and let par­ents choose the best school for their chil­dren,” Don­ald Trump says. “Edu­ca­tion reform­ers call this school choice, char­ter schools, vouch­ers, even oppor­tu­nity schol­ar­ships. I call it competition-​the Amer­i­can way.”

That com­pe­ti­tion should include incen­tives and ben­e­fits for home­school­ers and their chil­dren to allow them to choose an option other than char­ters and vouchers.


Christo­pher Harper is a recov­er­ing jour­nal­ist who worked for The Asso­ci­ated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Wash­ing­ton Times and teaches media law.

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Amid talk of vouchers and charter schools, the Trump administration should consider significant tax breaks for homeschoolers.

The reasons for homeschooling vary. Some parents want to emphasize a religious education for their children. Others want to avoid the left-leaning indoctrination of public schools. Still others face inadequate or unsafe schools.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, more than two million students in K-12 are schooled at home. One study found that more than 30 percent of these students are Black, Hispanic or Asian. Moreover, the students and their parents save taxpayers more than $20 billion a year based on an estimated cost of more than $11,000 a year per child for a public school education.

But homeschoolers receive no significant tax breaks for teaching their children.

Homeschools in most states cannot be run as a business or even as a non-profit as parents cannot charge their children for their education. Moreover, homeschoolers cannot deduct donations to their own school. Also, the IRS usually does not allow homeschooling to be considered a hobby, which could reap some limited tax benefits.

Here are some possibilities to make homeschooling more affordable:

–Allow tax breaks for tuition and books purchased from homeschooling businesses.

–Provide deductions for individuals who are the primary teacher.

–Give tax incentives for tutoring in specific subjects, such as math, science and technology.

–Provide a mechanism to receive a reduction in local property taxes, which often are paid to local schools, for individuals who homeschool.

“Open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children,” Donald Trump says. “Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition-the American way.”

That competition should include incentives and benefits for homeschoolers and their children to allow them to choose an option other than charters and vouchers.


Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.