The face of homeschooling is changing rapidly, and public school officials don’t like it one bit. The more people choose to educate their children at home, the less money gets put toward public education. That means less money for teacher’s unions which means less money for Democrats which means less indoctrinated liberalism from the federal government. You can probably sense why they’re so afraid of this growing trend.
In West Virginia, the alarm bells are ringing. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, school officials in the Mountain State are scrambling to get parents to reconsider their choice. Naturally, they’re doing it through scare tactics and intimidation. The Ritchie County superintendent ordered a campaign designed to put those homeschooled children back into public school desks.
As a result, many West Virginia homeschooling families have received called in the last few months, many of them with rather pointed criticisms. With the Ritchie County superintendent’s staff acting as telemarketers on behalf of the public school system, many parents are feeling harassed about their choice to keep their kids home.
It’s not limited to Ritchie County. The HSLDA reports that school officials all over West Virginia are concerned about the homeschooling trend. It’s not just West Virginia, either. An investigation into the causes behind the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shootings earlier this year recommended that homeschool curriculums be more closely monitored. Yes, they are that desperate.
A Rising Trend
For a long time, homeschooling was a viable option for deeply religious families alone. The general perception was that homeschooled children were weird, the parents hardly educated themselves, and the curriculums little more than a joke. That has changed. Parents now choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons. The cost of private education, the benefits of individualized teaching, and the chance to spend more time with their kids have all turned into alluring carrots for many parents.
With divorce at an all-time high and two-income households common among the married, homeschooling will never be a viable option for everyone. But as Common Core grows more disturbing and unpopular, as schools become more violent, and as parents grow more concerned about just what their kids are learning from both peers and teachers, the trend may still have room to thrive.
I think Republicans should make homeschool rights one of their major issues in the coming years. It fits perfectly into a conservative philosophy, and it gives them another weapon in the fight against unions and federalization. It doesn’t have to take on a religious flavor, although it wouldn’t hurt for Republicans to maintain an interest in protecting religious freedoms. Whether you happen to believe in creationism or not, millions of Americans still do. These parents would enjoy the right to raise their children according to a traditional belief system, and they should be encouraged to do so.
If Democrats realize that conservative families are choosing home education over public schools, they may be forced to repeal some of the worst of their educational excesses. In that way, the homeschool trend can benefit us all.