This is a paragraph from a recent George Will column in Newsweek.
"But in 1966, the Coleman Report concluded: 'Schools are remarkably similar in the effect they have on the achievement of their pupils when the socioeconomic background of the students is taken into account.' That was a delicate way of not quite saying that the quality of schools usually reflects the quality of the families from which the students come. One scholar estimated that about 90 percent of the differences among schools in average proficiency can be explained by five factors—number of days absent from school, amount of television watched in the home, number of pages read for homework, quantity and quality of reading matter in the home and, much the most important, the presence of two parents in the home. Government cannot do much to make those variables vary, but Duncan correctly thinks that we actually know how to make schools effective anyway. The keys are time and talent."
I agree that those five factors the unamed scholar in Will's are crucial. It's why I'm convinced that there are a lot of valid choices for parents to make when deciding how to school their children. But parents must be careful not to view any option as "the" thing that will bring about the education of their child. In some sense, every child is ultimately homeschooled. The question is: how well is the quality of their home education?