Throughout the dog days of school closures resulting from draconian COVID-19 policies leaving students out to dry, parents were forced to look for other options as government-run schools became failure factories.
Private schools, both religious and non-religious, have seen an uptick in enrollment while public schools, for the first time, actually lost significant numbers of students.
However, none of the increases compared to the rise and popularity of homeschooling as a viable option. The practice is becoming so widespread that liberal academia and union-happy Democrats are starting to take notice, and voice concern, of course.
The Washington Post looked at the stats and found that despite conventional wisdom believing parents would return to government monopoly schools after the pandemic, many are not:
Home schooling has become — by a wide margin — America’s fastest-growing form of education, as families from Upper Manhattan to Eastern Kentucky embrace a largely unregulated practice once confined to the ideological fringe, a Washington Post analysis shows.
The analysis — based on data The Post collected for thousands of school districts across the country — reveals that a dramatic rise in home schooling at the onset of the pandemic has largely sustained itself through the 2022-23 academic year, defying predictions that most families would return to schools that have dispensed with mask mandates and other covid-19 restrictions.
The growth demonstrates home schooling’s arrival as a mainstay of the American educational system, with its impact — on society, on public schools and, above all, on hundreds of thousands of children now learning outside a conventional academic setting — only beginning to be felt.
The chart produced by the WaPo is what tells the story in terms of growth comparing the various educational paths:
Home schooling has become — by a wide margin — America’s fastest-growing form of education, a Washington Post analysis shows.
The analysis — based on data The Post collected for thousands of school districts across the country — reveals that a dramatic rise in home schooling at… pic.twitter.com/DSBDsnXbn8
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 31, 2023
While the numbers in aggregate still give public schools the majority of bodies in desks, it’s the sheer growth and staying power homeschool and private schooling has sustained and maintained since the COVID hysteria ended.
The bigger question is why more parents haven’t discovered the alternatives sooner. With the advent of the internet, finding homeschool curricula and making it efficient for parents to use has only gotten easier as public school standards and test scores drop to abysmal lows.
Parents who are involved and have opened their eyes to failing public education are demanding better, one way or another.
Take these few recent examples of simply how bad it has gotten and ask yourself why Democrats don’t support expanding school vouchers and charter programs. The city of Baltimore, for example, is experiencing an education crisis, per the New York Post:
None of the students at 40% of Baltimore’s public high schools tested proficient on the state math exam given this past spring — with a staggering three-quarters earning the lowest possible score, an alarming report revealed this week.
At 13 of the school district’s 32 public high schools, 1,295 students of the 1,736 who took the exams scored a 1 out of 4, meaning they were nowhere close to proficiency, Fox 45 reported.
“This is educational homicide,” Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of the Baltimore-based nonprofit People Empowered by the Struggle, told the outlet.
That’s the correct term, an “educational homicide” of public schools in many cases is being inflicted on children and families with no other options. It’s not a funding issue, these schools are swimming in cash leaving billions of Covid-bucks unspent. It’s a philosophical issue of dumbing down standards, teaching social justice over actual life skills, and treating students as a captive audience for indoctrination rather than education. If parents object, they must be racist or something.
Not to keep picking on Baltimore, but the reading proficiency levels are only marginally better than math proficiency, from Fox Baltimore:
A Baltimore City teacher came forward with devastating information that showed 77% of students tested at one high school are reading at an elementary school level.
In reading, 628 Patterson High School students took the test. Out of those students, 484 of them, or 77%, tested at an elementary school reading level. That includes 71 high school students who were reading at a kindergarten level and 88 students reading at a first-grade level. Another 45 are reading at a second-grade level. Just 12 students tested at Patterson High School, were reading at grade level, which comes out to just 1.9%.
Public education has morphed from reading, writing, and arithmetic to a social experiment centered on equity and social justice. Democrats are exclusively and entirely to blame for the abject failure of school districts around the country. Baltimore is a city governed by Democrats in a state governed by Democrats. There is no one else to blame.
It then comes as no surprise that the trend of homeschooling and private education is a threat to the monopoly of Democrat-controlled public schools, and lawmakers who enjoy controlling the minds of the next generation are unhappy about it.
The horse is out of the barn when it comes to parents discovering that meeting or exceeding public school standards in recent years is a very low bar to pass. Merely providing grade-level instruction and regular testing is already many steps ahead of far too many public school districts.
Ironically, the Post closes its story by quoting a Harvard professor who voices concern that it’s unknown whether homeschooled children are “learning anything” when compared to their peers:
Many of America’s new home-schooled children have entered a world where no government official will ever check on what, or how well, they are being taught.
“Policymakers should think, ‘Wow — this is a lot of kids,’” said Elizabeth Bartholet, an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School and child welfare advocate. “We should worry about whether they’re learning anything.”
Gee, if only the government was there to ensure all students fail math and are only able to read at a kindergarten level when they graduate high school, home-schooling would be acceptable.
The crisis in education is not with children being home-schooled or sent to private schools, it’s with the attitude that the government knows best and parents are just too stupid to have a seat at the table.
Democrats have paid a price for this hubris in recent years. Remember, Terry McAuliffe said out loud in 2021 what Democrats truly believe: “I Don’t Think Parents Should Be Telling Schools What They Should Teach”
He’s right. Parents should take it upon themselves to pull their kids from public school and never look back.