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Home schooling increasing significantly
Posted by: mcq on Friday, March 03, 2006

Just as customers dissatisfied with a particular store or company will seek an alternative, so more and more parents are turning to home schooling because of dissatisfaction with public education:
Nobody is quite sure exactly how many American children are being taught at home. The National Center for Education Statistics, in a 2003 survey, put the number that year at 1.1 million. The Home School Legal Defense Association, which represents some 80,000 member families, says the figure now is quite a bit higher — between 1.7 and 2.1 million.

But there is no disagreement about the explosive growth of the movement — 29 percent from 1999 to 2003 according to the NCES study, or 7 to 15 percent a year according to HSLDA.
The "why" is a bit more diverse, but all address a perceived failing in pubic schools:
Parents cite many reasons for deciding to opt out of formal education and teach their children at home. In the NCES study, 31 percent said they were concerned about drugs, safety or negative peer pressure in schools; 30 percent wanted to provide religious or moral instruction while 16 percent said they were dissatisfied with academic standards in their local schools.
Obviously not all parents are good teachers, but anecdotal evidence suggests that there are certainly some children who benefit greatly from homeschooling:
Home-schooled children regularly show up in the finals of national spelling competitions, generating publicity for the movement.
Identified as a mostly white and middle class movement, it is spreading to other demographic groups:
The movement remains overwhelmingly white and middle class but it is growing fast among black and Hispanic families and becoming more politically and religiously diverse as well.
Couple this with the story in yesterday's WSJ about blacks in Minneapolis voting with their feet and enrolling their children in charter schools and it underlines the deep dissatisfaction to be found in public education today:
Something momentous is happening here in the home of prairie populism: black flight. African-American families from the poorest neighborhoods are rapidly abandoning the district public schools, going to charter schools, and taking advantage of open enrollment at suburban public schools. Today, just around half of students who live in the city attend its district public schools.
Unlike other cities (and states), Minneapolis allows students to choose their schools. As a result, they're refusing to participate in what they preceive to be a less than adequate education system:
Black leaders like Louis King have had enough. He has a message for the school board: "You'll have to make big changes to get us back." He says the district needs a board that views families as customers and understands that competition has unalterably changed the rules of the game. "I'm a strong believer in public education," says Mr. King. "But this district's leaders have to make big changes or go out of business. If they don't, we'll see them in a museum, like the dinosaurs."
Note the highlighted passage. If we want to save and improve public education, that's the route to success. Until that sort of a program is implemented, we can throw all the money in the world at the problem and nothing much will change. Until teachers and administrators have a vested interest in producing a satisfactory product for their customers, homeschooling will continue to explode. As the Minneapolis experience shows us, when given the chance, students will abandon failing schools for a chance at better education. Allowing that to happen may seem to be a painful process, but it is a necessary process if we hope to see primary education standards rise to the necessary level of excellence to keep the US competitive in a global economy.

We see the benefit of competition daily in our own lives. Why that seems to be such a hard lesson to sell to education leaders remains a mystery.
 
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With stories like these, we need to ask ourselves, Is we educating our children good?
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Has anyone done a survey on how private school enrollment has changed over those years? We own two homes in the same county in Georgia yet we send our daughter to a private school. The primary reason for doing so? Accountability. If I have an issue with something at the school, I can meet with the teacher, the school director, the Headmaster or the board and get answers. They are vested in me as much as I am in them. We have a partnership and an agreed upon path for educational success that I do not see with government run schools.

From Boortz yesterday -
By the way ... and I will NEVER miss the opportunity to remind you of this ... the same government that is doing such a wonderful job of screwing up almost everything it touches; Social Security, Medicare, Katrina relief ...... is the same government that you think is educating your child today
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Meagain, I think accountability is probably in the top 3 reasons why people resort to homeschool/private school/charter schools rather than put their children in traditional public schools. It is very empowering to be able to have a say in your child’s education in realtime.

The PTA is the school equivalent of the U.N.: an organization designed to speak windily about important issues without actually doing anything about them. But other than joining that feckless organization or persuading the teacher or principal, there’s nothing a parent can realistically do when their child isn’t being given what they need in school. And most of the time, teachers and principals can’t be persuaded; they don’t dare so much as wipe their noses without permission from the district office, which won’t do anything on its own either. In an environment like that, where your child will be given their generic canned education whether it’s what they need or not, is it any wonder that parents are increasingly turning to options where they have more power?
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
One clarification, though, on Boortz’s comments: the Federal government handles Social Security and all those other things, but state and local governments administer schools. So it’s not exactly the same government that screwed up on all those other issues. The Feds’ role in education is mostly that of Sugar Daddy; key decisions are by and large made at the state or local level.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
is the same government that you think is educating your child today
No, teachers are educating children. People...not a faceless bureaucracy. People who interact with the children daily and care about their futures. That is much different than the SS and Medicare systems in which the workers and the "customers" have no personal connections.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
where your child will be given their generic canned education whether it’s what they need or not, is it any wonder that parents are increasingly turning to options where they have more power?
Speaking as a public school teacher and a parent of private school children, I disagree. I have yet to see a private school change their "canned" curriculum to meet the needs of an individual student. On the other hand, public schools are required by law to meet individual needs for many students (to the detriment of the majority).

What I like about the charter school/private school/public school option is that it gives a community the chance to offer a variety of curricula and methods that will likely meet different needs. I’d rather see a variety of restaurants that offer specialized menus than a whole bunch of Burger Kings that give you crap in order to make sure you can get it "your way."

 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG - the same government is making the rules and doling out the cash. Wacky makes a good point that it is state and local that are interacting with the kids and setting the agenda, but they had better not upset their Sugar Daddy if they want to keep getting their fix. So though their is more interaction between teachers and children than with SS recipients and the SS beurocracy, it is still the big bad Fed making the rules and doing a poor a job.

Even if you forget the government piece of it, you still have the Unions to deal with. And therein lies a huge issue. Yes, there are good teachers to be found in all sorts of places, but when the system itself does not reward or punish behavior, what are you left with? At my school, teachers are granted contracts on a year to year basis. They have the year to educate and prepare their charges for the next step. Kind of like a pass/fail grade for the teachers. You would be amazed at the quality of the teachers and the aptitude of the students. Funny how that works.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Speaking as a public school teacher and a parent of private school children
Why send your to private if public is ’all that’?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Waiting for a school teacher to criticize an outrageous-though anecdotal-incident is like waiting for a moderate Muslim to criticize deaths in the cartoon demonstrations. I would be more supportive of teachers that were increasingly willing to admit to shortcomings and to criticize the often inane procedures that they must kowtow to.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I have yet to see a private school change their "canned" curriculum to meet the needs of an individual student. On the other hand, public schools are required by law to meet individual needs for many students (to the detriment of the majority).
Once again I’m going to have to disagree with JWG. I have personally attended not one, but two private schools that offered individualized curricula. If JWG’s school offers individualized curricula, or at the very least offers ability level grouping, I would dearly love to send my daughter there. She’s bored out of her skull in school because they refuse to meet the needs of students who are more advanced than the rest of the class. If she were mentally retarded, though, they’d be bending over backwards to accommodate her and her special ed dollars.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
Waiting for a school teacher to criticize an outrageous-though anecdotal-incident is like waiting for a moderate Muslim to criticize deaths in the cartoon demonstrations.
Is it really like that, Mr. Scott?
If I were a school teacher, I certainly wouldn’t respond to you. Comparing a school teacher’s lack of self criticism to moderate Muslim’s lack of self criticism…
Talk about outrageous.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Note the highlighted passage. If we want to save and improve public education, that’s the route to success.
Wrong - as usual. As a child, I attended public schools in the Minneapolis suburbs. These schools were some of the best schools in the country. Indeed, there were no private schools in the area better than these schools. And they didn’t need competition. My high school was probably one of the best in the country. Indeed, it won an award to that effect. There was no competition, but it was still a great school.

Where do you see the demand for charter schools and vouchers? In the inner cities. Do you see the demand in the suburbs? Not really. Why is that? If McQ’s theory were correct, one would see the demand for charter schools everywhere.

The reason why public schools fail is because the community fails them. Because parents don’t get involved in the governance. Because the community flakes out. Of course these problems result from problems affecting the community itself. Unemployment, crime, etc. Problems that tend to affect inner cities. The problem is not lack of compeition.

But to deal with these problems would require dealing with much larger problems. And it is much easier to rail against hard working people in public education (they get their summers off, after all) than it is to deal with the real problems with public education.

***

(Oh - and by the way, JWG., I read your response to my last post about the NRLC. You cite a source from 1998 on the NRLC website. It is written by two doctors. It is not the official position of the NRLC. It is not stated as an official position. It is not even stated as a position. And even if it were, two years later the NRLC said Bush was pro-life even though he thought rape and incest abortions were ok. If anything, you proved my point: the NRLC is against abortions for rape and incest, and that is their pro-life position, except when they are not, and they endorse candidates who ok with abortions resulting from rape and incest. After all, they supported Bush. If you believe all abortion is murder, how do you support a candidate who is ok with murder, unless you have no principles at all, which was again my point.

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.)
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Mr Mahone, I thought about using the example of the thin blue line but decided against it because cops are less reluctant to criticize "badge bullies" or abusive cops than teachers are to criticize their group. I wasn’t lookng for a moral equivalancy-I was looking for a large group with a great reluctance to criticize the group to which they belong.
I’ve noted this on several blogs and have asked teachers to respond with the actions they’ve taken, ie, letter to the editors etc, and I’ve yet to hear from any teacher. From a Seattle Times investigation on sexual abuse of school children:
When The Seattle Times asked the Bellevue School District for information about teachers and coaches accused of sexual misconduct, school officials and the state’s most powerful union teamed up behind the scenes to try to hide the files.
“There is no reason we would ever want to drag current or former employees through public attention to such matters — even those who were found to have committed misconduct,” Sharon Howard, an attorney and an assistant Bellevue schools superintendent, wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Times.
And here is how they handled sex abuser teachers in New York according to an investigation by the New York Post.Pervert Dumping Grounds.
Parents with kids in Martin Luther King Jr. HS in Manhattan, Edward R. Murrow HS in Brooklyn and Lehman and Theodore Roosevelt high schools in The Bronx have cause for concern - these schools are considered the "dumping grounds."
In the past 30 months, eight accused sex abusers have worked at Martin Luther King, where the Manhattan high-school superintendent has a third-floor office.
Lehman HS and Murrow HS have accommodated seven alleged sex abusers each. And whenever Lehman gets too crowded, they’ll dump ’em at Theodore Roosevelt HS, which took in three.
Over the past 21/2 years, 45 suspected child molesters were transferred to district offices inside schools. Forty percent allegedly were repeat offenders, who had been warned or reprimanded, according to statistics compiled by The Post.
My request is still open to teachers to point me to their public protests or, better yet, their demands to the unions to stop protecting kiddy diddlers. Maybe the Catholic priests should have unionized. And Mr Mahone if teachers don’t want to respond to this it’s because they have no response.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Wrong - as usual. As a child, I attended public schools in the Minneapolis suburbs. These schools were some of the best schools in the country. Indeed, there were no private schools in the area better than these schools. And they didn’t need competition. My high school was probably one of the best in the country. Indeed, it won an award to that effect. There was no competition, but it was still a great school.
LOL!

If you are an indication of their product, nothing else I can say here will better make my point.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Where do you see the demand for charter schools and vouchers? In the inner cities.
The reason why public schools fail is because the community fails them.
Isn’t "inner city" code for the black community? Is Mkultra saying that the failure for public schools is because black parents fail the school? To paraphrase Pogue Mahone, "If I were a black parent, I certainly wouldn’t respond to you."
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Mkultra, for once you make a reasonable point (community failure is partially responsible), but it would be nice if you could be objective and acknowledge that schools do have many crummy teachers (I’ve had them and I’ve seen them) who are not easily terminated. They are not all hard working. They do not all deserve to be teaching and it’s not a small percentage. Even strong public schools have too many bad teachers.

Furthermore, poor schools are not solely the result of crime and unemployment. Of course you would ignore the deleterious effect of the unions, but they have done as much as any entity to harm public education. Because of collective bargaining excellent teachers are not rewarded financially and bad teachers are treated the same as good ones. Imagine how it must feel to be excellent in your field and yet be paid no more than someone who is terrible. What sort of message does that send about the expectation of excellence? I agree that the community should be outraged by this and demand better.

Minneapolis may have been as you say when you were there, but these days there are many strong private schools and the inner city schools are mostly crap. Many of the suburban schools are still very strong as well. However, there are many schools outside of metro areas that are not so great (I went to one) as well.

I also disagree with your assertion that there was no competition in the Minneapolis area. For people who can move easily (middle class and up) it was not and is not hard to relocate to a different suburb so that your children can attend your school of choice. I know many people in the Twin Cities who live in their burb because of the school, not because of a job. Unfortunately for the poor, they can’t move so easily.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
And Mr Mahone if teachers don’t want to respond to this it’s because they have no response.
Well. Mr. Scott. I don’t know of your past experience regarding other schoolteachers on other blogs, but it is a gross mischaracterization comparing schoolteachers not criticizing the hand that feeds them to moderate Muslims not criticizing Islamic extremists.
No?

But as far as JWG is concerned, to my experience, the schoolteacher is usually no-holds barred when critiquing the public school system.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
But as far as JWG is concerned, to my experience, the schoolteacher is usually no-holds barred when critiquing the public school system.
Thanks. On that note I’ll add that my wife and I are both public school teachers who are not union members. Why do we send our kids to private school? Because the environment is better suited to our desires. The students are taught manners and values that match our own, the classes are smaller, the parents are all highly supportive, and the students are respectful and academically oriented. I don’t want my kids influenced or bothered by many of the kids I have to deal with everyday (created in the image of their disengaged parents).
If JWG’s school offers individualized curricula, or at the very least offers ability level grouping, I would dearly love to send my daughter there.
No you wouldn’t. Individualized curricula is mandated by law for various levels of students in special education who are required by law to participate in all regular classrooms. All my time is spent remediating the lower half of my classes rather than challenging the upper half to their full potentials. If I am to be judged by statewide standardized tests, then why am I going to spend most of my time on students who already pass the tests? I should mention that I used to teach in a very affluent school district in which 94% of the students went on to 4 year colleges. It was a very easy job because everyone was motivated and the parents had high expectations. Yet, I am a much better teacher now because I’ve had to expand and enhance my performance qualities to keep the majority of kids to stay on task for more than 5 minutes. Yet, I look like a worse teacher because many more of my students are not proficient in reading or math.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Oh - and by the way, JWG., I read your response to my last post about the NRLC. You cite a source from 1998 on the NRLC website.
1) It is still prominently linked in their site.

2) Their series "When They Say... You Say..." is still featured at their conventions.

3) Are you going to make an argument that their statements that were originally articulated in 1998 are no longer valid because of some time limit?
It is written by two doctors. It is not the official position of the NRLC.
1) It was written by Olivia Gans who directs American Victims of Abortion (AVA), an outreach project of the National Right to Life Committee and Mary Spaulding Balch who is the director of state legislation for National Right to Life. They are both NRLC spokespersons.

2) Please provide any documentation demonstrating their "official position" supporting rape/incest exceptions.
And even if it were, two years later the NRLC said Bush was pro-life even though he thought rape and incest abortions were ok.
Yes, they believe in supporting viable candidates that advance their ultimate goal of banning abortions, even if that politician doesn’t hold all of their identical beliefs.
If you believe all abortion is murder, how do you support a candidate who is ok with murder, unless you have no principles at all
1) Because you have to choose among the candidates that are offered.

2) Because it doesn’t help your cause to tear down those who will take you closer to your goal.


Again, I am always willing to view a document from the NRLC in which they state they are against an abortion law that doesn’t provide an exception for rape and incest to counter my linked NRLC document that criticizes abortion in cases of rape and incest.

 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
As a child, I attended public schools in the Minneapolis suburbs. These schools were some of the best schools in the country. Indeed, there were no private schools in the area better than these schools. And they didn’t need competition. My high school was probably one of the best in the country. Indeed, it won an award to that effect. There was no competition, but it was still a great school.
Translation: I attended great public schools, so what are the rest of you complaining about?

Can I use that argument when it comes to health care, MK?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
JWG:
All my time is spent remediating the lower half of my classes rather than challenging the upper half to their full potentials.
And I feel your pain, I really do, since I’m a teacher too. I deal with this situation all the time. And that is why I’m so in favor of ability level grouping. The more advanced kids get stimulated, and the less advanced kids get more attention. It can be done without hiring additional faculty, and at minimal cost. Unfortunately there are many educators out there who think ability level grouping is wrong because it acknowledges that there are differences in ability, and we can’t have that, can we?

mkultra:
Where do you see the demand for charter schools and vouchers? In the inner cities. Do you see the demand in the suburbs? Not really. Why is that? If McQ’s theory were correct, one would see the demand for charter schools everywhere.

The reason why public schools fail is because the community fails them. Because parents don’t get involved in the governance. Because the community flakes out.
Again, I beg to differ. The Salt Lake City area has thousand-student waiting lists at every single one of its charter schools, most especially in the acclaimed Jordan district, which is a suburban (and predominantly white) area with a very, very good district which also allows for intramural school choice (i.e. you can choose any school in the district). The charter school my daughter attended before our move was in a rural district— again, one of the better districts in the state— a place where parental involvement is high. I’d estimate about one third to a half the parents there were already supplementing their children’s education with homeschool materials, summer school, etc. The parents and the community were not failing these schools. And yet the charter school was so popular that they opened a second campus within a couple of years. The district where I live now is a smaller district where parents have a greater chance of being able to actually get involved, and again it is a very good district even better than Jordan, and yet a lot of people I’ve spoken to would jump at the chance to put their children in a charter school.

I won’t say the school choice movement has nothing to do with how good the schools are, but I would venture a guess from my own experience that it doesn’t play all that prominent a role. Here in Utah, at least, it’s by and large not an issue of school quality or parental concern; it’s an issue of parental power. The parents have no power in a traditional public school system; whatever the administration says, goes. Saying that parents shouldn’t complain about their lack of power if the current school administration is doing a good job, is like saying that if you live under a benevolent dictatorship, you shouldn’t want democracy.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
The parents have no power in a traditional public school system; whatever the administration says, goes. Saying that parents shouldn’t complain about their lack of power if the current school administration is doing a good job, is like saying that if you live under a benevolent dictatorship, you shouldn’t want democracy.
Well put Wacky. That sums up my stance exactly.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The parents have no power in a traditional public school system
Who elects the school board? Who can run for the school board? Who sits on the textbook adoption committees? Parents have as much input into a school’s curriculum as they want to pursue. The problem is that too few parents want to put in the work; they’d rather hand their kids off to others and complain about the results.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"they’d rather hand their kids off to others and complain about the results."

That’s why they hire superintendants and pay them a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year, and other well paid administrators. For that kind of money, I expect results too. After all, these professional educators claim to have the knowledge and expertise to run a school system. It is not unreasonable for the parents to expect someone with all those qualifications and certifications to do a fairly good job.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Criticizing a parent’s supposed lack of power and criticizing an administration’s results are two different things. Parents can attend and speak at school board meetings and demand to know what administrators are accomplishing. Parents can influence and push the school board — their elected officials and most likely parents themselves. My point is that parents DO HAVE power in the current school systems. They choose not to wield it.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

 
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