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Educational shifts are happening all around America. A new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that parents are looking for alternatives to state-led public education, and are shifting towards more traditional methods to educate their children.
When the report was first conducted in 1999, it found that 850,000 American children were homeschooled. In 2003, this number had grown to 1.1 million children and, in 2007, that number was up to 1.5 million. This year, the first year the study has been conducted since 2007, that number has risen to 1.77 million. That means that the number of children homeschooled in America has more than doubled since 1999. There are a variety of reasons that parents are increasingly moving to homeschooling.
Homeschool parents were asked for the top reason they chose that route to educate their children, and the top result (25%) was “A concern about environment of other schools.” This was not the top reason for every parent but, for 91% of respondents, it was listed as “important.” Other reasons these parents considered important were “A desire to provide moral instruction” (77%) and “A dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools” (74%). This increasing sector of American parents are displeased with available alternatives (even private school enrollment is shrinking) for education, and taking matters into their own hands. One homeschooling mom told me that she sees all other types of education to be “institutionalized schooling,” and that children were better off learning in other ways.
If the federal takeover of American education continues, one can assume that this upward trend will continue. Common Core standards are acting as a Trojan Horse to get the federal government even more deeply entrenched into local schools. With that backdrop, states which enjoy the autonomy protected by the Tenth Amendment are providing parents with more options through school choice. Clearly, homeschooling is one school choice option that American families are embracing.