I’ve been researching education in America for about two decades now. There are essentially two camps; one that only seems to care about funneling money to public schools, and the other who is dedicated to improving public schools.
I consider myself in the latter camp that includes people who not only care about adequately funding public schools, but also prioritize academic excellence. Unfortunately, too many people in the funding category will fight those of us trying to improve the product.
When Common Core came out, it showed the country that many were ok with mediocrity instead of excellence. Children who attend public schools deserve the best, and we should all be working together to make sure that kids in public schools have the same opportunities as those in elite private schools.
But public schools are self-destructing, and many who claim they care most about public education, have contributed to their demise.
Related: Who is Killing the Public Schools?
The shutdowns, the mask mandates, the political bias, the dumbing down, bullying, all contribute to parents removing their children from a school.
Parents are demanding more options for their children. They pay taxes to a local public school that has failed to provide their children with some basics they can get in a private or home school.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised to read this study from The Pioneer Institute.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of households with children being homeschooled has doubled, from 5.4 percent during the 2019-20 school year to 11 percent in 2020-21. Among Black households, it increased nearly five-fold, from 3.3 percent to 16.1 percent in a year.
“You didn’t have to be an expert to see the negative impact remote and hybrid classes had on learning in more traditional schools last year,” said William Heuer, who co-authored Homeschooling in Uncertain Times: COVID Prompts a Surge, with William Donovan. “For a lot of people who had been thinking about homeschooling, the pandemic made it a good time to make the change.”
Some administrators turned a deaf ear to the parents who were begging them to re-open their schools. That should be a testament to how much these parents value a teacher in the classroom. Remote learning may have been ok for some, but it was a complete disaster for other children.
The same is happening with the mask mandates. Parents have filed lawsuits in different towns begging to be heard. If this continues, I expect another exodus.
The political bias and indoctrination have also driven parents to show up at school board meetings and demand a bias-free education for their children. If school administrators and board members do not act, this exodus will continue.
Parents are demanding better from their schools. Enrollment is dropping, and some board members and administrators are digging in their heels, refusing to make any changes. This is true for special needs students who are now forced to wear a mask in school.
One parent mentioned how her young son, who has some serious sensory issues, has difficulty with clothing. It’s a situation that none of us can understand since we’ve never walked in her shoes. Requiring this child to be masked is almost an impossible task.
Children are being shamed by their teachers who place their names on a board for all to see if they have mask issues. They are telling children to tape their mask on their face so it doesn’t fall below their nose. They’ve turned teachers into the mask police.
These parents see happy children in private schools where some wear masks and some do not. They see the home-schooled kids thriving, and are now committed to this path even if some of these issues are remedied.
How do you fix this situation? Go back to the basics. Respect parental rights, go back to a focus on academic excellence and bring back structure to the classroom.
It’s not a difficult recipe, just ask a home-school mom.