(February 2014) Most articles filed by education reporters focus on traditional K-12 public school districts.1  An unreported story is the increase in home-schooling, part of the alternative Arkansas school choice market.


The number of Arkansas home school students has increased from a mere 572 (1985-86) to 17,215 (2012-13), state Department of Education records show.2  Home school students, as a percentage of local enrollment, exceed 10 percent in at least five Arkansas districts.3  Home school students, as a statewide group, comprise one of the 10 largest Arkansas school districts4:


     Little Rock School District      23,594
     Springdale S.D.      20,141
     Pulaski County Special S.D.      17,245
     Arkansas Home School Students      17,2155
     Bentonville S.D.      14,880
     Rogers S.D.      14,452
     Fort Smith S.D.      14,049
     Cabot S.D.      10,167
     Conway S.D.      9,630
     Bryant S.D.      8,620


Dissatisfaction with Traditional Arkansas Public Schools


The Policy Foundation interviewed parents6 of home school students about their market7 choice.  Most expressed “dissatisfaction” with traditional Arkansas public schools.  The academic literature cites a variety of factors.8


–Greg Kaza

1 A notable exception is coverage devoted by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state daily, to alternative charter schools.

2 Arkansas Department of Education, “Percent Home School Students by District,” pp.33-40, Home School Report, 2012-2013. Enrollment data for the 2014-2014 school year will be available in the fall, according to

3 bid. The Mulberry (13.2%); Searcy County (11.6%); Yellville Summit (10.9%); Hillcrest (10.5%); and Nevada (10.1%) districts

4 Ibid. pp. 33-40

5 Ibid. p. 42. The 10 largest counties by home school enrollment are: Benton (2,000); Pulaski (1,994); Washington (1,211); Faulkner (938); White (716); Sebastian (636); Craighead (566); Garland (553); Lonoke (498); and Saline (489).

6 The group included parents with high school diplomas and college degrees.

7 The study of markets is fundamental to economics but frequently overlooked in education reporting.

8 The International Center for Home School Research lists 359 dissertations and theses on its site :http://www.icher.org/research.php