With most schools open for full-time, in-person learning this year, it seemed reasonable to assume that parents would eagerly re-enroll their children in their local district school, tabling last year’s alternative education plans. That doesn’t seem to be the case.
The homeschooling rate in the US doubled in 2020, and tripled from its pre-pandemic level, as parents sought other options when confronted with prolonged school closures.
In my 2019 book, “Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom”, which gained even more traction throughout 2020 and 2021 as schools closed and homeschooling soared, I trace the roots of non-coercive, self-directed education back to the Enlightenment and, particularly, to the writings of philosopher John Locke.
Mandates are emerging even though children are, thankfully, not at severe risk from the coronavirus.
Public schools have made life really difficult over the last year and a half, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
It is hard for enterprising individuals to compete with widespread, “free” government offerings.
Whether it’s yesterday’s battles over prayer in school or today’s conflicts over critical race theory, public schooling causes people to fight. It’s a struggle between values and viewpoints that ends with one group imposing its will upon others. The curriculum that is adopted or the one that is shunned inevitably creates winners and losers.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, teen labor force participation plummeted from a high of 57.9 percent in 1979 to just 34.1 percent in 2011. Part of this decline is related to more emphasis on academics, extracurricular activities, and other structured programming for adolescents. But public policy may also be to blame.
Why homeschoolers often stand out on the job market.
Nearly one year to the day after the original Harvard Magazine article appeared, a new Harvard piece profiled Professor Bartholet. Her opinions remain unchanged. If anything, she has doubled down on her belief that the government must be heavily involved in child rearing and education.