CNN is running a piece this morning on the "brainiest" major cities in America. The criteria? What percentage of the population has a bachelor or graduate degree. Washington DC comes in first with 47.3% of adults 25 and older with college degrees. Then San Francisco, San Jose, and Raleigh, NC. Boston, Austin, Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, and New York round out the field.
Now there are all sorts of problems with the idea that a simple concentration of college degrees in a town equals the "brainiest". And these lists seem to change so rapidly. In 2006, my home town of Seattle was labeled the "smartest city in the US" because 47% of adults held a bachelor's degree. And my adopted hometown of Colorado Springs was in the top 10. (And not just because Fr. Mike started to spend a lot of time here in 2006 - although that undoubtedly altered the bell curve.)
But what does the MSM know? All Coloradans know that the city of Boulder, just up the road, is blessed with a population where 56% of adults have bachelor's degrees, which blows DC out of the water and is more than twice the national average. Hey, we're skinny and we're smart. (Sorry, Mark, but "stout and out" just isn't our style in Colorado.)
But enough gloating. The point is, that if we use the same criteria, the average home schooling family is a far brainier place than DC, Seattle, or Boulder.
A survey of nearly 12,000 home-schooling adults, conducted by Dr. Brian D. Ray and published in the peer reviewed Journal of Academic Leadership in 2009, produced some impressive findings. 66.3% of home-schooling fathers and 62.5% of home-schooling mothers have bachelor's degrees or higher. 20% of homeschooling fathers have masters degrees and 8% have doctorates while 11.6% of home schooling moms have masters and 2.5% have doctorates.
Compare those figures to the national average: 26% of US adults have bachelor degrees, 5.6% have earned a master's, and about 1% have doctorates. Women who home-school are more than twice as likely to have masters degrees or doctorates as other American adults and home-schooling dads are nearly 4 times more likely to have a master's degree and 8 times more likely to have a doctorate than their peers.
The image, widely held in some circles, of home-schooling families as intellectual and cultural neanderthals, doesn't hold water. Parents who choose to educate their children at home are much more like to be highly educated themselves, invested in education, and comfortable with it. The confidence that comes with this, no doubt, makes the decision to educate their children at home easier to sustain and accomplish.