(WND News Center)—Last November, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten annoyed the vast American homeschooling community by expressing bafflement behind the trend to remove children from school.
“What’s behind the increase in homeschooling?” Weingarten posted on X (formerly Twitter), referencing an article on Axios with the same title. This apparent cluelessness drew snorts of derision from parents all over the nation, who didn’t hold back on their responses by the thousands – so much so that Weingarten turned off replies to her post.
After stating, “The answer is in your mirror,” Townhall columnist Phil Hollaway questioned why Weingarten turned off comments.”Are you afraid of the answers you’ll get? You and the teacher unions with help from [former CDC director Rochelle Walensky] sent public schools into a death spiral from which they may never recover.”
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Another poster responded: “A person touted as the country’s top teacher asks a question then turns off replies to keep people from answering it. That sums up pedagogy in public schools right now.”
It wasn’t so much the refusal to acknowledge the problems endemic in public education that homeschooling parents found objectionable in Weingarten’s remark; it was the deliberate playing dumb: “Golly gee willikers, little ol’ me has NO IDEA why anyone would want to homeschool their kids!”
In the past, various prominent politicians have been dubbed “Gun Salesman of the Year” after involving themselves in gun-control legislation. The same sentiment can be applied to the upper echelons of public education officials, who cannot seem to grasp the concept that parents want their children educated, not indoctrinated. When public schools were closed during COVID, millions of parents learned they could educate better at home, and never looked back. New meme: “Randi Weingarten: Homeschooling Sponsor of the Year!”
The numbers are impressive; and the bluer the state, the higher the interest in homeschooling. In California alone, over 1,400 public K-12 schools lost more than 20% of their students since 2020, with homeschooling up 78% between 2017 and 2022. Upending the narratives that homeschooling is done only by religious or wealthy families, a 2023 analysis by the liberal Washington Post admitted homeschooling’s surging popularity “crosses every measurable line of politics, geography and demographics.”
As often happens when faced with such drastic declines in enrollment, the public school systems make fretful attempts to lure parents back into complacency, usually in the form of hiring more teachers to lower teacher-to-student ratios. Ironically, this itself has proven difficult, as teachers are (understandably) leaving the profession in droves (here and here and here), concerned about violence, disrespect and other classroom quarterbacking that interferes with teaching academics.
Additionally, fewer and fewer people are entering the profession to begin with. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there is a massive drop in college students seeking degrees in education to pursue jobs in teaching. This decline has been going on for decades, but has accelerated in the last few chaotic years.
This creates something of a doom loop. The teachers who remain get burdened with even more tasks and responsibilities, which leads to more burnout, which leads to more teachers leaving, etc. Faced with these challenges, it’s no wonder there’s a teacher shortage in America. Who would want the job?
But what academic experts fail to see (or, more likely, refuse to admit) is what parents find most objectionable about public education: The content of the curricula. As long as public schools ignore academics in favor of grooming and indoctrination, parents will continue to withdraw their kids for academic alternatives.
So, faced with such drastic declines in enrollment in failing public schools, officials are falling back on what they often do when faced with homeschooling’s indisputable academic superiority: Ramping up regulations for homeschoolers. Usually this increased regulation begins by conveniently citing the rare case of abuse, then spinning it into the wild extrapolation that any parent who homeschools is doing so to hide the bruises.
Citing a Washington Post smear piece against the booming homeschooling movement, Casey Chalk wrote in The Federalist, “To support the claim of exploiting ‘lax home education laws’ to hide abuse, the Post cites a 2014 study that found that of more than two dozen tortured children treated at medical centers in five states, eight of 17 victims old enough to attend school were homeschooled. You read that right – the most damning evidence The Washington Post can cite to support the claim that homeschooling is facilitating widespread abuse or neglect of minors across the United States is a study with a sample size of 17 children.
(Keep in mind, there were about 3.1 million homeschool students in 2021-2022 in grades K-12 in the United States, or roughly 6% of school-age children, and yet the Post could only drum up 17 examples of abuse from nine years ago.)
Meanwhile, the extreme-left Southern Poverty Law Center has classified parental rights organizations as “hate groups.” And of course, the U.S. Justice Department famously documents and investigates concerned parents attending school board meetings.
Ironically, as one commenter pointed out, “Homeschoolers are held to a much higher standard than are public schools. Case in point: Oregon has suspended standards for graduation from a public school but still requires testing for homeschool students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 to make sure they are getting a ‘good’ education.”
Meanwhile public education continues to decline in quality. In Illinois, just 32% of high school juniors could read, and 27% do math at grade level – and yet the state opted to kill school choice.
Schools are now being dubbed “knowledge-free zones.”
Educators can play dumb all they want, but of course we all know the real reason behind the hostility toward the homeschooling movement: The manic desire to keep children within their clutches. For this reason, I pray every parent in the nation finds some way to educate their children outside of public schools. Only by starving the beast can their agenda be disrupted.
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