While advocates of big government may be rejoicing at the power flexed by Democratic governors, in particular, during the coronavirus crisis, one unanticipated consequence of it all could be millions of families choosing home schooling over the public option in the fall.
A poll of registered voters conducted by RealClear Opinion Research last month during the heart of the COVID shutdown found that 40.8 percent of families are more likely to pursue home schooling or virtual schooling after restrictions are lifted.
Further, 64 percent support school choice.
A RealClear Opinion Research survey of 2,122 registered voters shows that support for educational choice is strong. https://t.co/7NbHO10HXP
— RealClearEducation (@RealClearEd) May 19, 2020
The poll of 2,122 registered voters included 626 parents who participated in the question regarding home schooling.
Of those parents surveyed, the breakdown was 45.7 percent Democrats and 42.3 percent Republicans, so there was no conservative slant in the sample set.
Among the respondents, minorities more strongly favored home schooling. For whites, 36.3 percent were more likely to choose home schooling in the fall, compared with 50.4 percent of African-Americans, 38.3 percent of Hispanics and 53.8 percent of Asians.
“Every single family with kids in school has been incredibly disrupted by the lockdowns,” John Schilling, president of the American Federation of Children, said in a statement.
“With 55 million students no longer in their normal educational setting, families are clearly considering new options and many are seeing the benefits of homeschooling and virtual schooling,” he said.
Multiple home-school advocates recently told The Western Journal that the forced shutdown of nearly the entire U.S. public school system has created a unique opportunity for parents to weigh the benefits of joining the millions of American students already doing their learning at home.
“The No. 1 hardest decision to make has been made for 55 million children,” Ray Moore, a longtime home-schooling advocate and founding board member of Public School Exit, said regarding parents making the switch.
“That’s always the barrier that’s hardest for us to break, but now [the kids are] home,” he said.
“This is a ‘kairos moment,’ a once in 100 year moment,” Moore told The Western Journal in an email.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, prior to the COVID shutdown of schools nationwide, about 2.5 million Americans were being home-schooled, making up just over 4 percent of the nation’s 57 million K-12 students.
The total has more than doubled from the 1.7 percent learning at home in 1999, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Moore and his fellow leaders at Public School Exit are hopeful that millions more parents will decide to continue home schooling when the fall rolls around.
Alex Newman, the group’s spokesman, said one of the top reasons families should make the move is the poor academic outcomes of public education.
He argued the government-run system “is deliberately dumbing down America’s children” and is getting worse every year.
Newman pointed to the latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showing that over two-thirds of eighth-graders haven’t reached proficiency in any subject, including reading, writing, history and math.
Jessica Parnell, president of the Bridgeway Homeschool Academy in eastern Pennsylvania, reported her organization has seen an increase in home-schooling inquiries.
Parnell, herself a home-schooling parent, said many parents like her think, “I want to make sure that I’m infusing my family values and my faith values in my kids, and so home schooling becomes a fantastic way to do that.”
“As more families navigate school at home, we are seeing more and more turn to homeschooling as the better option as it affords a much more individualized approach than what classroom models can provide,” she wrote in an email to The Western Journal.
“We anticipate that many will make the decision to continue in the fall as they see the benefits of tailoring curriculum to their student’s specific strengths and needs.”
Moore, 76, said he is gratified to see how the home-schooling movement has matured in the 40-plus years since he and his wife decided to home-school their kids.
“The bonding and the emotional stability that a family gives children is intensified or strengthened through home schooling,” he said.
Maybe one of the best silver linings coming out of this whole pandemic will be millions of kids freed from the left’s manipulation and now able to develop, with greater input from their parents, their God-given talents to the best of their abilities.
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