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When TV viewers first met the Duggar family, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sang the praises of homeschooling their kids. The family insisted that their children were getting a stellar hands-on education and were learning through doing. While the family’s reality TV shows, Counting On and 19 Kids and Countingmade a point of showing the family’s 19 children working on school projects, that might have been all for show. Recently, Derick Dillard and Jill Dillard sat down for an interview and revealed that most Duggar kids have no more than a 7th-grade education. 

Derick Dillard calls out the lack of education the Duggar kids were offered 

Derick Dillard and Jill Dillard appear ready to be brutally honest about the pitfalls of life on reality TV. Since Jill released her scathing memoir, Counting the Cost, the couple have given several interviews. With each interview, they have revealed a harsh new truth. In their latest sitdown with the Los Angeles Times, the Dillards opened up about education, or the lack thereof, for reality TV kids. 

Derick Dillard revealed that the Duggar kids have little beyond a 7th-grade education. He told the publication that once reality TV cameras stepped onto the scene, filming became more important than school for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Jill stepped in to verify Derick’s assertion. Still, she seemed more hesitant to criticize her parents for their failure to provide educational opportunities. 

Does Arkansas have a minimum age for compulsory education? 

While the Duggars allegedly didn’t follow proper schooling protocol, it was not because rules don’t exist regarding a child’s education. Each state has laws associated with the schooling of minors. Arkansas’ laws are fairly strict. 

In Arkansas, where the Duggars live, children must attend school from the ages of five to seventeen or until they complete high school. According to FindLaw, parents who wish to homeschool their children must submit notice to the school district of their intentions. They are also expected to submit lesson plans and teacher qualifications. In addition, homeschooled students must take standardized tests and may be placed in a traditional school setting if they fail to meet or exceed expectations. Children may be exempt from attending high school classes until age 17 if they are enrolled in an adult education program or vocational school. 

It doesn’t appear as though the Duggars qualified for an exemption. It’s unclear how or why the state failed to step in. The state does not appear to have stepped in to ensure that Tyler Hutchins was getting a proper education. Tyler is the family member the Duggars took guardianship for several years. Tyler, now 15, has since left Jim Bob and Michelle’s custody. He resides with his maternal grandparents. His current academic plan remains a mystery. 

Which Duggar family members have their children enrolled in traditional schools? 

Derick and Jill have called out how deficient the Duggar kids’ educations are. Still, many are opting to homeschool their own children. In fact, most Duggars with school-aged children have decided to homeschool their kids. Jinger Vuolo and Jill Dillard are the only siblings who have discussed traditional education plans. 

Jinger and Jill Duggar
Jinger and Jill Duggar | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

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Jill and Derick enrolled their son Israel Dillard in a local public school when he was ready for kindergarten. Their second child, Samuel, is also now school-aged, but the duo have stopped talking publicly about their children. It is unclear if the kids are currently enrolled in a public school system. 

Jinger Vuolo spoke about the education plans for her two daughters, Felicity and Evangaline Vuolo, in a 2023 interview with the New York Times. While discussing her memoir Becoming Free Indeed, Jinger revealed that she and her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, did not plan to homeschool their children. At the time of the interview, Jinger’s daughters were still a bit young for school, although Felicity officially turned five in July. Jinger and Jeremy, much like Jill and Derick, have kept their children’s lives more private following Josh Duggar’s arrest. She has not shared where her eldest daughter is attending school.