The Patriot Post® · Many Factors Drive the Rise in Homeschooling
In 2010, Patriot Post columnist Burt Prelutsky said of our underperforming public school systems, “It’s not a school system, it’s a penal colony with report cards.” At the time, it seemed humorously hyperbolic. Today, it seems depressingly understated.
Perhaps that’s why, as The Washington Times recently reported, there has been a surge in parents turning to homeschooling.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 1999-2012, the number of homeschooled children in the U.S. more than doubled from 850,000 to 1.8 million. That number has since risen to an estimated 2.3 million.
One thing is certain: In the wake of recent school mass murders, interest in homeschooling has skyrocketed. Louisiana alone has seen a 50% increase since 2011, and in Texas, homeschoolers now outnumber private schoolers.
The “why” is multi-faceted. Safety is near the top of the list for many parents, but it is much more than that. Many parents are fed up with poor academic results despite the vast amounts of money spent on education, and parents think they can do better.
Others cite the prevalence of drugs or a system openly hostile to Christianity. More and more parents are unwilling to continue tolerating schools undermining the values they teach at home — schools where condoms and birth control are dispensed to youth without parental permission, where alternative gender theory is treated as fact (forcing students to share bathrooms and showers with students of the opposite sex), and where the Rainbow Mafia’s agenda is pushed aggressively through sex-ed curriculum so graphic and so pornographic that it has been deemed inappropriate to read at school board meetings.
During the Obama administration, “LGBT” activist Kevin Jennings was appointed “safe school czar.” Jennings, the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), one of the largest homosexual activist organizations in America, had a mission to promote homosexuality in K-12 schools. This was done over the objections of parents, who were told they had no right to dictate curriculum content to schools. This indoctrination continues today, trampling parental rights and putting children at risk.
Bullying is another major factor in the decision to homeschool. Far from the schoolyard taunts and name-calling of past years, today many children are being assaulted and psychologically traumatized. One such heartbreaking example is that of a Maryland family. The mother found a suicide note written by her nine-year-old son that read, simply, “Kill me. I mean nothing. I have issues.” The boy was the target of relentless bullying at school; mocked, punched in the face and thrown in the mud by another student. When his parents complained to school officials, little was done.
That wasn’t all. When their 12-year-old daughter was repeatedly sexually harassed by another student, the parents again complained to school officials, but were told the offending student has rights. And when their 18-year-old son reported another student with a knife, and the student made subsequent threats against him on the bus, the school told the family they would not remove the student from the bus, and if their son was scared, he should find another way to get to school.
Part of this insanity is due to Obama’s Department of Education threatening to withhold federal funding to schools where there was a “disproportionate” level of discipline of minority students versus white students. This led to intentional underreporting of bullying, assaults and other criminal acts by minority students in order to stay out of the Obama administration’s crosshairs.
Students are also being pressured into engaging in sexual activity and drugs. And it’s not just other students who are the offenders. A recent report by the Chicago Tribune revealed more than 500 reports of sexual misconduct in the Chicago Public School system — over 100 of which involved adults sexually assaulting and enticing children. These were principals, teachers, coaches, security officers and others in positions of authority.
The report found, despite it being a criminal act to fail to report such sexual misconduct, none of the school employees who stayed silent or covered up the incidents were charged. In fact, the CPS Law Department, which has the responsibility to defend the school system in lawsuits, is also tasked with investigating the incidents and interrogating the victims; a blatant conflict of interest.
With a variety of homeschool networks, support groups, online and even hybrid-homeschooling options, the number of homeschoolers is still relatively small, but it’s increasing rapidly. That’s causing serious heartburn for many public school officials who see a growing threat to their funding.
Takisha Coats Durm, lead virtual school teacher for the Madison County (Alabama) school system, claims homeschooling parents are teaching their kids the wrong lesson. “Even though it seems we may be protecting them,” she says, “we may be sheltering them instead of teaching them to work and find a solution for the issues and not necessarily running away from them, because these things are going to happen.”
Of course, she conveniently ignores the fact that if these things — physical and sexual assault, drug use, bullying — were done in the adult world, they are crimes for which the perpetrator can be prosecuted. When they’re committed against children, often permanent damage is done. Yet in our school system, she insists they are simply tough lessons to be learned.
School shootings may have been the final straw that drove many parents to homeschool, but it’s the tip of an iceberg that has been building for years.