This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 2, 2022:
Public schools are opening across the country but, as The New American has reported, many students aren’t returning. And that, as the Associated Press noted, is causing many public schools major budgetary difficulties.
In Houston, for example, 11,000 students haven’t returned, forcing the district to cut $60 million from next year’s budget.
In Olathe, Kansas, 800 students haven’t returned, forcing the district to cut 140 jobs.
In Albuquerque, so many students are being homeschooled that the school district is facing a budget shortfall of $25 million. In Minneapolis, the school district has lost more than 4,000 students, resulting in a budget deficit of $27 million.
In Lawrence, Kansas, school officials are being forced to deal with a $7 million shortfall, while in Des Moines, 1,600 students haven’t returned, causing a $9 million deficit.
Strategies for dealing with these shortfalls range from laying off substitute teachers and aides, merging upper and lower age classes, cutting athletic and other budgets, closing schools altogether, and some districts are even selling school buildings to raise revenue to cover the deficits.
The one exception is Florida, where the influx of young families has offset the loss to homeschooling. As Jazz Shaw, writing for Hot Air, noted:
School enrollment is actually up in the Sunshine State and school revenue has increased with it.
Could that be because of the state’s policies requiring schools to involve parents in decisions affecting their children? Could it be the fact that so many people fleeing failing cities in blue states are heading for Florida? It’s probably a combination of both.
Although many districts are blaming Covid shutdowns, that is likely only a partial answer. Many public schools have turned from education centers to indoctrination centers, and parents were shocked to learn just what their students were being subjected to. As Keri Ingraham noted in the Washington Examiner:
[Homeschooling] parents were especially delighted to have their children escape the far-left political indoctrination that dominates today’s K-12 public education classrooms (the daily promotion of the LGBT agenda, critical race theory divisiveness, and woke academics).
Their children have been freed from the political agenda of teachers’ unions and school personnel using them as pawns in their power plays.
In addition, as public schools attempt to implement “equity,” they have cancelled TAG (talented and gifted) programs and honors classes.
Those being homeschooled often get better educations. As homeschooling parents have learned, their youngsters become motivated to learn more as their learning styles are recognized and teaching strategies are tailored to fit them.
Instead of sitting at a desk for six hours a day, homeschoolers enjoy field trips, socialization with other homeschoolers, and an agenda more in line with what their parents believe is the best for them. The recovery of family time is a bonus.
In just one year, the percentage of students being homeschooled across the country jumped from three percent to nearly 12 percent. And as that option becomes more widely recognized as viable and financially attractive, its growth is likely to continue apace.
Parents who have enrolled their youngsters in Freedom Project Academy, an online classical education program affiliated with The John Birch Society, have been delighted with the change:
This is our first year with FPA and we’re extremely happy. You have a wonderful program and my children are learning more than they ever have in a public school setting.
We can’t wait to register for next year!
[Our son] is thrilled and oozing with confidence. As an FPA student, he has learned how to learn. He has been surrounded by teachers that care and willing to give him a second chance while expecting him to rise to the challenge.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This is our first year at FPA. We were a little anxious to move our kids to a private online school. As the school year started our anxiety was relieved quickly. FPA does an excellent job with the classroom environment.
As English King Henry VI said in the Shakespeare play Henry VI, “Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.”
Covid may have been a “ill wind” indeed, but it is resulting in the happy exit of millions of young students from public schools and into true learning experiences that can only bode well for the future.