This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 10, 2014:
This time the headline underreported the news. From the Charlotte NewsObserver came this: “Homeschooling rate Accelerates in North Carolina.” A better headline would have read: “Homeschooling goes Exponential in North Carolina.” In 1985, the year that homeschooling was legalized in the state, there were about 2,300 home-schooled students. Two years ago there were 77,300 home-schooled students, which jumped to 85,900 last year. This year the number is closing in on 100,000, a gain of 27% in just two years. At that rate there will be more than 200,000 homeschooled students in North Carolina in less than five years. That’s exponential, with a vengeance.
It’s not surprising, given the federal pressure to adopt Common Core standards and curricula across the land. The greater the pressure, the greater the desire to opt out. Said Beth Herbert, founder of Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association, “Common Core is a big factor that I hear people talk about. They’re not happy with the work their kids are coming home with. They decided to take their children home.”
Kelly Swinney, a retired homeschool mom, was much more direct: “Common Core is bad, plain and simple. It’s a one-size-fits-all program and kids just aren’t that way.” The pressure to opt out of Common Core has reached North Carolina’s General Assembly which just voted in July to create a commission to figure out how to do it.
Similar numbers are coming in from Freedom Project Education (FPE), backed by the John Birch Society. In three years the number of students in its K-12 program, based on the Constitution and free market economics, has grown from 22 to more than 700. Alan Scholl, director of FPE, told this writer that he had to turn back 130 additional students who asked to be enrolled after the August deadline had passed. He estimates that his school will have 1,000 students next fall, a gain of 4,500% in three years.
When asked how much of that was due to people trying to escape the clutches of Common Core, Scholl said: “At least half!”
Even before Common Core entered the classroom, parents were increasingly disenchanted with what was going on in their children’s schoolrooms. They didn’t like their school’s environment, the quality of the academic teaching, the curriculum that was increasingly dumbing the kids down while leaving out critical parts of American history, the bullying, the inevitable peer pressure to conform, and the lack of moral or religious instruction. They were tired of hearing how homeschooled students were outperforming their kids in every discipline. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the average homeschooled student outperformed his public school peer by between 30 and 38 percent across all subjects. This was confirmed by Education News, which noted that “Homeschooling statistics show that those who are independently educated typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on the [standardized assessment] exams, while those attending traditional [public] schools average at the 50th percentile.”
And when they hit college, they outperform their peers there as well. As Dr. Michael Cogan of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota noted in 2010, homeschooled students going to college achieve a higher first-year GPA than their peers, and that advantage is retained all the way through their college experience. In addition they have a higher graduation rate when they complete their studies.
And when they graduate from college, homeschoolers are much more active and involved in their communities, such as coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association. In addition they are much more likely to be involved in political and civic affairs and vote at a much higher percentage than their peers. According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI): “76% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 voted within the last five years, compared with only 29% of the corresponding US populace. The numbers are even greater in older age groups, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared to the high of 53% for the corresponding US populace.”
But it’s the pressure to conform to Common Core standards that have turbocharged the homeschool movement. The Common Core standards came about when Bill and Melinda Gates first began funding their vision for national education standards with their grant to the James B. Hunt Institute. So far the Gates have given more than $27 million as seed money, which led to the development of the Common Core Standards State Initiative and the Council of Chief State School Officers, two Washington, DC-based trade organizations. As noted at the FPE website:
In brief, each of the 50 states has been bribed by the federal government to accept the copyrighted and thus unalterable Common Core standards – even though most Americans have no idea what they entail – by offering those states millions….
To date, 46 states have accepted Common Core money, ceding curricula control to the federal government and taking it away from parents, teachers, and local school boards. Beyond the educational mediocrity the Common Core standards will further enshrine in public schools, there are elaborate plans to use the required national assessments within the Common Core standards as a tool to institute massive data collection about American schoolchildren that has nothing to do with education, and everything to do about government intrusion and control.
Emile Zola put it very well:
If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it burst through it will blow up everything in its way.
So it is with Common Core and the exponential response from parents who are increasingly aware of the danger and who want to see that their kids get a good education. Coupled with online schooling through the Internet, these concerned parents are increasingly opting out by doing it themselves and teaching their kids at home.
Charlotte NewsObserver: Home schooling rate accelerates in North Carolina
Education News: Number of Homeschoolers Growing Nationwide
The New American: Homeschooling Continues to Grow in Popularity Nationwide
FPE: What is Common Core?