Over the last few months, it has been my great pleasure to bring to Activist Mommy’s readers the latest data on rising interest in homeschooling among American parents in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the pandemic began, many vocal homeschooling advocates hoped that this could be one of the silver linings to the massive public health and economic crisis, and indeed, this has proven to be the case.
However, as a lawyer from the Home School Legal Defense Association recently told Fox News, parents are now reportedly facing difficulties in withdrawing their children from their local public schools.
“We see this across the country,” T.J. Schmidt of the HSLDA told the outlet. “I’ve had school officials attempt to prevent or dissuade parents from pulling their kids out.”
He explained that schools have been unable to process the paperwork to withdraw students from the public school system.
“There’s two main reasons … school officials are fearful of losing too many students to homeschooling, and the second reason is perhaps a staffing issue, just a lacking staffing issue to process these withdrawals. Not always an issue of trying to stop parents from homeschooling but there is a significant part of that involved.”
Schmidt, the father to seven homeschooled children between the ages of 3 and 16 and a resident of North Virginia, says that he’s had other cases in Oregon, Oklahoma, and New York, while his colleagues have had cases in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California.
“The most egregious situations I’ve had have been in Florida,” he explained of a state he says is normally grate for home educators. “But I’ve had numerous parents in a couple of different counties told ‘we’re not allowed to withdraw students right now’ … They’re trying to hold onto these students.”
Imagine being told you had no right to remove your child from the system! This is exactly the sort of thing that leads parents to take charge of their children’s education in the first place.
As mentioned in a previous post, teachers have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and Fox News notes that school districts are now requesting more money after being forced to go virtual.
The School District of Philadelphia is facing a $38 million shortfall for the next academic year, which it fears could grow to $1 billion over the next five years due to the coronavirus, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.
This comes as 215 school advocates sent an open letter to Joe Biden describing a “national teacher shortage and reduced educational opportunities for many of our students” and adding “the COVID-19 pandemic…only made public education more vulnerable. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of public education itself is at stake.”
Typically, schools are funded based on the number of students enrolled, which could explain why districts are less than accomodating to students withdrawing. As Life Site News explains, “Factoring in various types of funding, Utah spends about $7,000 per student, whereas New York, as the most costly state, spends more than $22,000. For public schools, a lot of money is involved in losing students.”
Add this to the list of reasons to homeschool your children. They should not attend a school as a rationale to keep the institution alive. Their education should be focused on them and their unique educational needs.
If you’ve ever considered homeschooling, there’s never been a better time. You’re in good company!
Isa Ryan is a homeschool mama, blogger, and freelance writer. You can find her at her blog, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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