Public Schools Are the Best Advertisements for Homeschooling
Homeschooling was supposed to be a temporary pandemic-era expedient and many students will, undoubtedly, return to traditional classrooms once COVID-19 is a memory. But growing familiarity with do-it-yourself education, the continuing slow-motion disaster engulfing government-run schools, and long-term changes in the way we live and work are likely to permanently transform learning. Homeschooling in all its myriad forms is here to stay.
Part of the issue is that public school bureaucrats and teachers unions seem dedicated to testing families’ patience.
“At the beginning of the school year we had a good amount of folks calling, but it hasn’t really let up at all,” Spencer Mason of North Carolinians for Home Education recently told The North State Journal. “Now it’s people who are frustrated with the way that public schools have been going.”
Across the country, public schools struggle with their pandemic responses. Teachers unions battle school officials and have even gone on strikes and sick-outs to prevent in-person education. Wrestling matches between unions that don’t want their members to have to show up for their paychecks and government officials often under their thumbs leave many parents uncertain as to when children might return to a classroom.
“Biden has pledged to reopen most schools for in-person instruction by May, but some experts fear the revised guidance published by his administration could make it harder for some schools to do so – even by next fall,” CNN noted February 28. “In some places, school authorities face strong opposition from powerful teachers’ unions,” the report added.
Disruption of the public school could have been tolerable if they’d adapted to the new environment and offered good-quality remote education through online platforms. It’s certainly possible—many charter schools and private educators mastered this approach years ago. But that wasn’t the case as government schools fumbled teaching students, or even making sure they show up for lessons.
“[T]he cumulative learning loss could be substantial, especially in mathematics—with students on average likely to lose five to nine months of learning by the end of this school year,” concluded a December 2020 report by McKinsey & Company.
Education bureaucrats compounded the problem by, apparently, deciding that a health crisis was a great time to jettison anything that might attract parents and students to their institutions. Boston Public Schools, for example, suspended enrollment in gifted programs in part because participants don’t precisely reflect the demographic makeup of the city’s population.
“There’s been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address,” Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told WGBH of the decision. “Th
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