Drop in public school enrollment reflects homeschool boom

Enrollment of students in public schools has taken a nosedive as parents’ disgust for COVID-19 school policies, student learning losses and controversial education policies have exploded. As a result of this enrollment implosion, home education has exploded across the country.

At the start of the current school year, the US Department of Education estimated that 1.5 million students had left public schools since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If students don’t enroll in public schools, where do they go? The figures show that many former students of public schools are now homeschooled.

The US Census Bureau found that the percentage of homeschooled households more than doubled in 2020, from 5% in the spring to 11% in the fall.

In Virginia in 2019-2020, approximately 38,000 children were homeschooled. A year later, in 2020-2021, state data showed the number had risen to nearly 60,000.

According to a recent University of Michigan study, from 2020 to 2021, Michigan public school enrollment fell by nearly 46,000 students, a drop of more than 3%. Among kindergarten children, there was a decrease of over 11%.

The study found that home schooling rates had increased significantly by fall 2020, with home schooling accounting for “the majority of Michigan students who did not return to the public system.” Importantly, the study noted that “national trends in home education follow a similar pattern.”

The increase in homeschoolers is not just coming from a narrow segment of the American population. An analysis from the University of Washington Bothell found that “the diversity of house-students in the United States reflects the diversity of all students nationwide,” including all racial, religious, political and income groups. .

For example, the Census Bureau found that among African American households, the increase in home schooling was much larger than in the country as a whole, from 3% to 16%, a five-fold jump.

This increase in African American home schooling is not surprising given recent research from McKinsey & Company which found that “students in predominantly black schools have ended the [2020-21 school] year with six months of unfinished learning.

Demetria Zinga, one of the top African American YouTubers in the country for home schooling, says, “I think home schooling is growing and exploding among African Americans, and there will be more and more home students. “

She believes that this growth will be facilitated by “more resources available, in general, but also with regard to the African-American community, in particular, especially online which makes it easier for people to homeschool.”

Homeschooled mom, Magda Gomez, an immigrant from Mexico, has become a home schooling activist in the Hispanic community.

She observes, “We Hispanics as a culture are generally very protective and loving towards our children. However, I explain that love is not enough to raise our children. We need to educate ourselves in different areas [of education], especially since we are not in our [native] countries but are immigrants.

“It is my dream,” she said, “to see more Hispanic families home schooled.” Her dream is coming true with home schooling doubling among Hispanic households, from 6% to 12%.

In addition to the racial diversity of homeschoolers, in 2021, school choice organization EdChoice found: “Many parents of children with autism, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders report that schools institutions cannot effectively meet the specialized learning needs of their child.

Unlike the rigid structure that schools often impose on children with special needs, home schooling allows parents to meet the special needs of their children.

Pediatric nurse and home school mom, Jackie Nunes, deregistered her daughter with special needs from public school, saying, “There just weren’t enough things that mattered – the time, attention, patience, perseverance, passion, support. “

Seeing the growth in home schooling, Yvonne Bunn, Head of Home Schooling in Virginia, said, “I think this will definitely change the landscape of education. I don’t think it will ever go back to the way it was before.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed all of the flaws of one-size-fits-all public schools, which is why the home schooling boom is shaking up American education.

• Lance Izumi is Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the author of the new book The Homeschool Boom: Pandemic, Policies, and Possibilities.

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