Parents have had it!
As mass schooling becomes more restrictive, more standardized and more far-reaching into a child’s young life, many parents are choosing to leave for alternatives.
Increasingly, these parents are reclaiming their child’s education and are refocusing learning around children, family, and community in several different ways.
Mass Exodus To Real Choices
With back-to-school time upon us, more than two million U.S. children will be avoiding the school bus altogether in favor of homeschooling, an educational choice that has accelerated in recent years among both liberal and conservative families. While homeschooling for religious freedom remains an important driver for many families, 2012 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveal that a main reason for homeschooling is “concern about the environment within the schools.”
Reasons and Motivations for Home-Educating
Most parents and youth decide to homeschool for more than one reason. The most common reasons given for homeschooling are the following:
- customize or individualize the curriculum and learning environment for each child,
- accomplish more academically than in schools,
- use pedagogical approaches other than those typical in institutional schools,
- enhance family relationships between children and parents and among siblings,
- provide guided and reasoned social interactions with youthful peers and adults,
- provide a safer environment for children and youth, because of physical violence, drugs and alcohol, psychological abuse, racism, and improper and unhealthy sexuality associated with institutional schools and
- teach and impart a particular set of values, beliefs, and worldview to children and youth.
Academic Performance In Homeschools
- The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.)
- A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).
- Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
- Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
- Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
- Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
- Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.
Thinking that the STATE give us the right to care for our children is moving with rapid speed in many circles, and unless we want to forever lose that right, we need to take back our freedoms in a tangible way. Taking control over our kids education is perhaps the most visible.
Other Schooling Options
Beside homeschooling, an additional two million children will be schooling this fall in charter schools. According to recent U.S. Department of Education data, the number of students currently enrolled in charter schools increased from 0.9 million in 2004 to 2.7 million in 2014, while the number of children enrolled in traditional public schools declined by 0.4 million during that same period.
Taxpayer-funded but administered by predominantly private educational organizations, charter schools allow parents flexibility in choosing a school that is better aligned with their expectations and their child’s needs.
Charter schools are often exempt from district policies and collective-bargaining agreements that can halt innovation and experimentation, allowing them more instructional and organizational freedom. Demand for charter schools often outweighs current supply, with statewide charter caps, admissions lotteries, and long waiting lists leaving many parents discouraged and angry.
As online learning technology improves and expands, more parents are choosing virtual schools for their children over traditional public schools. Data from the non-profit organization, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, find that 310,000 young people in grades kindergarten through 12th grade participated in fully online programming in 2013, up from 200,000 in 2010.
In addition to homeschoolers, charter school students, and virtual learners, more than four million children will avoid a traditional district school this fall to attend a U.S. private school.
In states that advocate parental choice and actively expand education options to more families, student enrollment in traditional public schools is declining. When given real choices, parents are deciding to avoid an assigned district school in favor of alternatives.
In North Carolina, for example, the state has taken deliberate steps to expand education choice to more parents. These steps include lifting caps on the number of allowed charter schools, creating a voucher program for low-income families, offering tuition assistance for parents of children with special needs, and expanding opportunities for homeschoolers.
As a result of these efforts, enrollment this year in the state’s traditional public schools declined by more than 5,000 students, while those enrolled in home-schools, charter schools, and private schools increased by almost 24,000 children.
Parents Back In Charge
Today, parents are glimpsing the possibilities of real education choice measures that put them back in charge of their children’s education. After decades of weakening parental empowerment, in which mass schooling has steadily consumed more of a child’s time than ever before, parents are reclaiming their essential role in guiding their children’s education.
They are also advocating for additional schooling measures that make avoiding traditional public schools more feasible.
With back-to-school time approaching, many families are opting-out of mass schooling and into a host of quality educational alternatives.”
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” ~Deuteronomy 6:7
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