In this article John L. Hubisz mentions that his research shows that 80 percent of elementary school teachers have never taken a physical science course yet are required to teach physical concepts. Disturbing as this is, the larger problem would seem to be parents who home school and have never taken the classes necessary to ensure the successful education of their children. My own parents could not have taught me algebra, economics, biology, English, or most other subjects at a level above 7th grade with any significant success.

Mark North
Akron, Ohio

Mark North’s letter claims that a large problem is home-schooling parents who have not taken an appropriate selection of courses and therefore can’t adequately educate their children. However, the Web site of the Middle School Physical Science Resource Center referenced in the original story states that there are many excellent materials available to home schoolers and that home schoolers’ flexibility in the curricula enables them to benefit from these. My parents home schooled me up to high school graduation. They did this primarily through their careful choice of curricula, textbooks, and supplementary materials such as Science News . That neither of them ever took a particular course–college physics, for example–was in no way an impediment to my education.

Leah Chock
Ithaca, N.Y.

Some highlights from “The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998” by Lawrence M. Rudner: “In every subject and at every grade level of the ITBS and TAP batteries [standardized tests], home school students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts,” and “Because home education allows each student to progress at his or her own rate, almost one in four home school students are enrolled one or more grades above age level.”

Debbie Dula
Plano, Texas