Michigan lawmaker calls for homeschool registry

Foster care is already regulated by the state

Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth, posted on X on Dec. 5 that homeschooled children in Michigan should be required to register with the state.

“Michigan is one of only 11 states that doesn’t count or register homeschooled children, and abusive parents are taking advantage of that to avoid being found out,” Koleszar wrote.

Koleszar’s post came in response to a news story about children who were allegedly abused at the hands of their foster and adoptive parents.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges of abuse against two sets of parents who had fostered and adopted up to 30 children, according to the Detroit Free Press. She noted in a post on X that the children are homeschooled.

If the state could not protect children once in its care from the parents it approved for adoption, how would a homeschool registry help uncover abuse?

Koleszar’s assumption that registering homeschooled children will somehow prevent abuse is not supported by research. Children who school at home may suffer less harm, including abuse, neglect, and fatalities, than their conventionally schooled counterparts, according to the National Home Education Research Center.

In Michigan public schools in 2022-23, there were 659 violent crimes and 1,396 expulsions. The offenses included alcohol use, bombs, drugs, firearms, and physical violence resulting in injury, according to the website MI School Data.

Michigan students ranked fourth in the nation for chronic absenteeism, according to The Detroit News.

Detroit Public Schools reported a chronic absenteeism rate of 77% in the 2021-22 school year. Absenteeism decreased to 68% in 2022-23.

When it comes to academics, homeschooled students fare better than students under the state’s oversight.

Homeschooled children typically score 15 to 25 percentile points above public school students on standardized academic achievement tests,” according to the National Home Education Research Institute. Black students score 23 to 42 percentile points higher than their public school counterparts.

Michigan’s public school students fare worse than their counterparts in other states. Students in 40 states perform better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card, on the fourth-grade reading test, as previously reported by CapCon.

“Fewer than three out of ten students scored at or above proficient,” Molly Macek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center, told Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Related Reading: Macek: Blaming homeschoolers for abuse is a dodge

Homeschool students score above conventional school students on achievement tests regardless of their parent’s educational background.

When comparing homeschooling to conventional schools, one cannot argue with the facts. Homeschool students are safer, score higher on standardized tests and have overall better academic outcomes than students who are under the watchful eye of the state.

Koleszar, the lawmaker who called for a registration requirement, did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Jamie A. Hope is assistant managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email her at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.