The coronavirus pandemic opened Americans’ eyes to many important social, cultural, and economic issues bedeviling their country. Be it masked Karens harassing unmasked strangers or politicians abusing their power to inflict pain on the public, the character of the United States might never be the same again. Each decade, immunity from the world’s greatest experiment continues to erode as the power of the Leviathan disrupts the lives of everyday people. Either because students were used as pawns by teachers’ unions or the kids attended school utilizing Zoom, the COVID-19 public health crisis might have awakened parents to the deteriorating conditions and heightened politicization of the government-run education system. Did the pandemic reveal to families nationwide that homeschooling may be the superior option for school-age children?
The War Between Parents and Teachers
During the COVID crisis that forced millions of children to engage in remote learning, many parents supervised their kids to ensure they were focused on their lessons. For a significant number of children, paying attention to the teacher while at home has been a challenge, requiring parents or other caregivers to attend the whole school day off-camera. Yet, at the same time, these parents are listening to what is going on, and this has perturbed teachers.
In August 2020, a Philadelphia public school teacher vented his frustration about “conservative parents” on Twitter, complaining that mothers and fathers who ostensibly lean right were listening in on virtual classes. The English teacher was worried about the “damage” that “helicopter parents” might inflict if they overhear lessons on controversial subjects like gender and sexuality. He thinks these conservative parents would hinder teachers’ ability “in the work of destabilizing a kid’s racism or homophobia or transphobia.”
In a leaked April 2021 Zoom call, a California high school teacher was caught berating students over “parents trying to tell educators how to do their job.” She told the students that if their parents want to talk to her about her profession or her work performance, they need to “come at me.”
Indeed, all sorts of things are occurring in this grand Zoom-school experiment worldwide.
According to The Boston Globe, Massachusetts school officials have reported dozens of families to the state’s social workers for suspected child abuse or “general neglect” because students failed to show up for their Zoom classes. In Canada, several school boards across the country have presented written rules for parents that forbid them from complaining about teachers on social media, recording the classes, and interfering in the instruction. Across the pond, British primary school teachers in Birmingham were caught swearing and joking about pupils and their parents.
Overall, teachers are outraged that parents are getting an inside look into how their sons and daughters are being instructed for six hours a day. This is perhaps the first time in decades that moms and dads got a peek into what and how their children are being taught. Parents, of course, are not immune to criticism: yelling at teachers or drinking and smoking in the background is unacceptable behavior, it would be entirely fair to say.
Is there a solution to the post-pandemic madness?
School Choice is the Only Answer
From 1970 to 2018, the real cost per pupil, according to the Department of Education, has increased by over 256%. It now costs approximately $13,000 to educate each pupil in America, ranking the country fifth among 37 other developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Teachers, meanwhile, have some of the highest salaries in the world. So has this been a worthwhile investment?
The studies and results vary. A Business Insider report ranked the country 38th in math and 24th in science. The Program for International Student Assessment, which tests 15-year-olds across the globe, placed the U.S. 11th in science and 30th in mathematics. For years, the efficacy of America’s state-run education apparatus has been on a decline. The reasons vary, from a lack of school choice for parents to classrooms metastasizing into woke indoctrination centers. Can something be done?
Perhaps more school choice is the answer to this quagmire. Conservatives and many libertarians have presented the case for private institutions and charter schools. Homeschooling, if parents possess the resources and capability to participate, is another alternative that can be as effective as, or superior to, what American families are left with today. The data might not be as extensive, but from what is presently available, the numbers highlight the strong academic performance of homeschooled boys and girls.
A 2010 Widener Law Review empirical analysis review titled Evidence for Homeschooling: Constitutional Analysis in Light of Social Science Research concluded: “Homeschooled children achieve levels of academic achievement similar to or higher than their publicly schooled peers.” The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) reported in 2017 that “78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools.” A 2020 study by the University of St. Thomas discovered that homeschooled students graduated college at a 66.7% rate, 10% higher than students who attended public schools.
The Census Bureau notes that homeschooling rates have risen about 3.3% per year since 1992. The pandemic substantially increased this figure to as high as 28% in certain states. Will it stay this way moving forward? The pandemic might make it a permanent trend.
Giving Parents What They Need
It may have been impossible for most families a decade or two ago, but the marketplace has produced a vast number of options for households to ensure kids receive a well-rounded education. Be it the Khan Academy to the Ron Paul Curriculum, there is a lot to choose from. Liberty Nation‘s GenZ is one of these other premier resources that provide parents the tools to teach their little Einsteins about American history and politics, containing plenty of lesson plans, activities, and quizzes and tests. Indeed, GenZ is just one of many reservoirs for desperate families fleeing the status quo to tap. The essential aspect is that millions of Americans have the professional assistance they need to foster a learning environment that replicates or even supersedes what transpires in public schools today.
Read more from Andrew Moran.