Here is a commentary by Jeffrey A. Tucker regarding his impressions of the fall in public schools and the rise in homeschooling. One can read his entire essay here. It was published on February 11, 2023.
Homeschooling was downplayed by elite commentators until relatively recently, even though homeschooled children outperformed their peers in test scores and academic achievement. Nevertheless, what had previously been considered outlier behavior has suddenly become the norm. Why and what brought about these changes?
Funding for public schools is allocated by enrollment numbers. If the students aren’t there, the funding dries up. Schools around the country are experiencing a real crisis. The closures shut down all of this. Still, taxes had to be paid for education! And the money for booster clubs just sat in the bank as arts, sports, and other activities were flat-out banned.
Upon reopening, everything seemed to have changed. It is not uncommon to find schools in shambles and nowhere near normal. As a result of so many teachers refusing to return to school, many districts report a severe shortage of teachers. Furthermore, half of American schoolchildren are behind in their educational goals by a full year. This proves that remote education was a huge failure. Excessive boredom and the refusal to sort students based on their aptitude are contributing factors to behavioral problems. These problems are too often treated with prescription drugs rather than discipline.
Everyone is just shoved into rooms, told what to learn, shuffled from year to year in the same pattern, and moved from subject to subject, regardless of interest or achievement. Thus, the curriculum has become alienated ever more from what the bourgeois once saw as being a quality education.
Parents were outraged once they brought their children home and began reviewing what the children were actually being taught. The populist uprising against Critical Race Theory began. Mandates for masks and vaccines only worsened the situation. As the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, the lockdowns were the final straw. In the end, a dysfunctional public school system crumbled.
What’s emerging is spontaneous, partly due to non-compliance, but consistent with the always passionate desire of parents that their children be well-educated. It is now completely normal to homeschool your children.
To oversee their children, parents have left the workplace to stay at home. 1.2 million students dropped out of the school system nationwide. Twenty-six percent of students said they were homeschooled. A 4 percent increase in private-school enrollment was also recorded, but this was hampered by capacity restrictions, a shortage of offerings, and the sheer cost of attending (not everyone can afford both taxes and tuition).
Although we might not realize it now, March 2020 will mark the end of the great Progressive experiment in public education. In the end, the system might be better for tomorrow’s students, parents, and teachers, despite all the carnage that occurred along the way.