Homeschooling Hits a Tipping Point
With the public school year underway nationwide—or else delayed beyond its normal start by labor actions and fearful policymakers—families getting an eyeful of what classes mean this year aren’t impressed by what they see. Even as school resumes, localities across the country report that parents are pulling their kids out to take a crack at one or another approach to home-based education. Nationally, the percentage of children being homeschooled may double, to 10 percent, from the figure reported in 2019.
“As COVID-19 continues to disrupt schools in the U.S., parents of school-age children are significantly less satisfied than they were a year ago with the education their oldest child is receiving,” Gallup recently reported of its survey results. “While parents’ satisfaction with their child’s education has fallen, there has been a five-point uptick (to 10%) in the percentage of parents who say their child will be home-schooled this year.”
Aware that many schools are teaching children remotely, Gallup was careful to specify that its homeschooling question referred to children not enrolled in formal school. So the survey seems to reveal a real increase in the ranks of families taking on responsibility for the education of their own children.
The same survey forecasts a drop in traditional public school attendance, from 83 percent of all Kindergarten through 12th-grade students to 76 percent.
Gallup’s results square with anecdotal reports from around the country. News stories from Texas to Kansas to Ohio to Pennsylvania tell of families dissatisfied with chaotic public school schedules, strikes and sick-outs, and teaching arrangements that fail to meet families’ widely varying tolerances for risk in the midst of a pandemic.
“The pandemic has driven an increasing number of parents around the region and the country to give new consideration to homeschooling, spurred by uncertainty about school schedules and aversion to virtual learning programs,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported earlier this week. “Officials have said online learning this fall will be far improved from when the pandemic abruptly closed schools in the spring. But a number of parents choosing to homeschool said their experiences with virtual instruction were simply too frustrating.”
The Inquirer noted that Pennsylvania is considered a high-regulation state, which has acted as a deterrent to many would-be homeschoolers. But frustration with public school offerings may be all the push many families need
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