The Exodus from Our Dysfunctional Public School

Homeschooling and other alternatives on the rise

Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

The December issue of Reason magazine has an insightful feature story on the malady that is public education. It’s titled, COVID-19 Didn’t Break the Public School System. It Was Already Broken. The subhead summarizes the issue like this: Families are leaving traditional schools in record numbers for pods, homeschooling, charters, and more.

I was talking to a mom recently who described to me the challenge she faces with the current Zoom learning. She has three boys, all different ages, so they can’t use the computer at the same time. As a result, the classes for each run in succession, which means the third is doing school in the evening till late.

That is not the worst of it, though. The homework assignments are given at the end of each class, but for the youngest two she has to be there to help insure that they understand it, write it down, etc. This means that she has to be available all day long and time whatever she is doing to coincide with this homework piece.

What do parents do who both work? I dunno.

This conversation was fresh in my mind when I read the Reason feature by Corey A. Deangelis. The article notes that interest in homeschooling has increased exponentially, and that literally millions of student have been pulled from public schools this year. You can see the numbers by reading the article, which I would encourage anyone with kids in school to do.

The article suggests that in a year in which we’re rethinking everything else, why not re-think education? Are we getting what we, as taxpayers, are spending?

There are some funny moments here. A Wisconsin school held a fire drill, even though it was distance learning and kids were at home. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to teach except some strange Pavlovian stimulus-response reinforcement.

More irksome is seeing unions fight for fewer hours and shorter school years. The usual “how much more can we get while doing less?” Some school districts succeeded in achieving a four hour work day, which translates into a 20 hour work week, with no reduction in pay. Are these maneuvers really in the best interest of producing excellence in our students?

The writer points out some even loopier outcomes here. When kids are told to stay home to keep teachers and children safe, what do school districts dowith the buildings? Lo and behold, some have turned them into day care centers, putting other people and children at risk. This is downright weird.

And we wonder why families are turning to alternatives.

Even before 2020 I know a lot of people who are cynical about public education. Since moving to my community I have been amazed at how many bad decisions a school board can make and still remain on the board. Some decisions are so bad they are actually hilarious.

Here’s the article so you can read it yourself. How are the schools in your district?

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For those with children in junior high and high school, I wrote a book to help parents teaching at home. I believe that learning how to communicate by means of the written word is an essential component of any successful career. Children who write well will obtain more career opportunities and find more open doors than those who neglect this vital skill. Make decisions that expand your child’s horizons, not restrict them.

The title of my book is:

Writing Exercises: How to Teach Writing and Prepare Your Favorite Students for College, Life and Everything Else

Here’s how to find it on Amazon.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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