Homeschools Come Under Closer Scrutiny
Epoch Times reports that increasingly – as public schools continue to lose enrollment to homeschools —homeschooling is coming under attack by government.
A recent case of alleged child abuse has prompted the State of Michigan to call for more regulation of homeschools. A Democrat legislator in Michigan said that not being regulated by government, “abusive parents are taking advantage of that to avoid being found out. . . Michigan cannot allow this loophole to continue.”
Given government schools’ loss of enrollment, it was only a matter of time before coercive policies were to be proposed.
Homeschooling parents claim a single case of abuse shouldn’t diminish parents’ freedom to educate their children in the way they deem most appropriate. Jen Garrison Stuber, Advocacy Chair for the Washington Homeschool Organization was quoted, “”The allegations in this matter are heinous and egregious.” She said that homeschooling parents are increasingly under attack by authorities, often aligned with the public education system, who often use a broad brush in an attempt to smear an entire group.
“No one would argue that abuse isn’t terrible, but we should acknowledge that abused kids also go to public school and, sometimes, even at public schools teachers don’t notice,” said Stuber. “This discussion shouldn’t be about homeschooling—but about child abuse.”
The Michigan case of abuse involved two families who the state allowed to take on the care of 30 foster children, who they were homeschooling. The state’s decision to allow the families so many foster children is what should be questioned, claim the homeschool advocates.
Homeschooling increased across the nation 11.1 percent in 2020 and government school enrollment fell 3 percent between 2019 and 2020.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as schools re-opened post-pandemic, public school enrollment did not rebound but remained flat in the 2021-2022 school year. The trend has continued causing some schools to cut staff.
A 2023 study by Thomas S. Dee of Stanford showed that the switch to homeschooling accounted for 26 percent of the 1.2 million decline in student enrollment at public schools nationwide for the 2021-2022 school year.
Florida saw an increase of 37,000 students in the 2021–22 school year, larger than the previous 10 years of growth combined. Data from the Texas Education Agency showed 29,765 students withdrew from public or private schools in the 2021–22 school year and switched to homeschooling.
Epoch Times stated, “Parents’ perceptions of public schools changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to school closures, health officials forcing children to wear masks, and parents discovering agenda-driven curricula not aligned with their values have all been reasons cited for the downturn.”
Stuber stated, “If the public schools want to retain students, they should focus less on smearing homeschooling parents and focus more on reforms that would make their schools more attractive options to parents.”