The percentage of American parents who want to homeschool their children is at an all-time high, and they’re citing violence, drugs and bullying in public schools as the main reason why.
The 2019 Schooling In America survey, conducted by the school choice nonprofit EdChoice over the summer, details several interesting trends in education, including insight into what’s driving the explosive growth in homeschooling in recent years.
Don’t have time to read the full 2019 Schooling in America report? Get all the key findings fast here: https://t.co/SNyo2L582D
— EdChoice (@edchoice) October 24, 2019
“We have asked parents about their school type preferences for eight years, allowing us to analyze trends over this time period. Since 2014, current school parents have expressed slightly greater preferences for private schools compared to public district schools. The proportion of parents who would opt for home schooling is at an all-time high (15%), and the percentage of parents who would prefer a public charter school (14%) increase 3 points since last year,” according to the report.
Data shows that the percentage of parents who wanted to homeschool was at only 5 percent in 2012, and it steadily increased over the last seven years, with the exception of a spike to 13 percent in 2014.
The top five reasons homeschooling parents said they pulled their children from the public school system were “Safety/ Less Drugs, Violence/ Bullying” at 24 percent, “Individual Attention/ One-on-One/ Customized” at 14 percent, “Academics/ Curriculum/ Standards/ Results” at 13 percent, and “Better Education/ Quality” and “Discipline/ Structure/ Consistency,” both at 5 percent.
The EdChoice survey results jive with data from the National Home Education Research Institute that shows a steady increase in the numbers of parents who are educating their children at home.
“ …. There were an estimated 2.3 million (homeschool students) in spring 2016, and this was up from one estimate of about 2 million home-educated children (in grades K to 12) during the spring of 2010 in the United States,” according to the nonprofit. “It appears the homeschool population is continuing to grow at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years.”
The National Center for Education Statistics reports “from 1999 to 2012, the percentage of students who were homeschooled doubled, from an estimated 1.7 percent to 2.4 percent,” with more recent estimates suggesting growth has tapered.
But NHERI in-depth analysis of the data reveals the growth of homeschooling in NCES figures is likely understated, providing figures from more than a dozen states that shows why.
“While the overall school-age population in the United States grew by about 2.0 percent from spring 2012 to spring 2016, data from 16 states from all four major regions of the nation showed that homeschooling grew by an average of about 25 percent in those states,” NHERI reports. “If the data from these states are representative of what happened in other states during those four years, then homeschooling is continuing to grow in both absolute numbers and as a portion of the overall school-age population.”
The growth is bolstered by countless studies and analysis that show homeschooled students consistently perform better on standardized tests, are more tolerant of their peers, score higher on college entrance exams, and are generally more successful after school, on average, than students educated in public schools.
But lawmakers in numerous states, including Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia and others, are working with special interests to demand restrictions and regulations for homeschooling families, using rare cases of abuse at home to make their case, Reason reports.
The push to penalize homeschoolers is especially egregious in the context of daily reports of violence, drugs, political indoctrination and sexual abuse of students by educators in public schools across the country.
The EdChoice survey suggests parents understand the situation and more than ever want to educate their kids at home, which is undoubtedly a concerning proposition for politicians, bureaucrats and special interests that rely on the public school system for their livelihood.
“So government-run schools are academically inferior to homeschooling, riddled with crime and abuse, and producing graduates less tolerant than their counterparts who were educated at home,” according to Reason. “But rather than fix their pet institutions, politicians prefer to grab for power over people fleeing from their grasp.”