The silver-lining of the CORONA virus pandemic is the opportunity for parents to get into the driver’s seat of their children’s education.
USPIE has already opined on reopening schools, but because things have escalated and the landscape is changing, leadership is compelled to pivot the conversation toward the opportunity that presents itself. Teachers and their unions do not want schools to open and parents do. President Trump said recently that if the schools do not reopen, perhaps the money should go to parents. USPIE believes that parents are more open than ever to seizing every opportunity to direct the education of their children.
USPIE advocates for teachers and parents working together for the best interest of children. In this case, parents and teachers are in opposing camps like the battles against Common Core. Led by the National Education Association and state and local teacher unions, teachers say they fear for their health and are insisting that virtual schools are the only option. In many cases, unions are taking advantage of the situation to push their liberal agendas, which always starts with more money. According to a spokesperson for a 35,000-member California teachers’ union, their demands for reopening government schools include the defunding of police, a federal bailout of their schools, the abolition of charter schools, and “Medicare for All.”
USPIE believes teachers and parents who are fearful of reopening schools are responding to sensationalism by the media and false assertions about the risk involved. A well-cited article published by the Children’s Health Defense led by Robert Kennedy Jr. and flanked by an impressive Scientific Advisory Committee, is endorsed by USPIE as a critical resource for parents to evaluate safety for their children resuming school attendance.
Parents who are considering government school alternatives, USPIE recommends homeschooling as the best option. Inquiries about homeschool options have increased dramatically since the pandemic, and USPIE has developed resources for parents who are interested in this alternative. Micro schools are also a new and innovative option for parents including home-school parents whose co-ops have decided not to resume their operations.
Parents who decide to continue in government schools are encouraged to take charge of their children’s education, and attend local school board meetings to advocate for safely reopening schools. If the Board is not responsive to parents, then elect like-minded people to the school board. School board elections typically have low turnout and with a few hundred active parents working to elect board members, parents can upset incumbents to regain control of what and how their children are taught.
Financial resources could be a hurdle for non-government school options. USPIE supports tax credits for parents by increasing the current federal child tax credit – a simple check-the-box on your income tax return, “My child(ren) do not attend public school.” Parents could use this money as they see fit to educate their children without ineffective and wasteful government regulations. To offset the “cost” of this tax credit, money directed to the states for education could be reduced. The Federal government should eliminate all Federal education programs, shut down the U. S. Department of Education and put parents and local communities back in charge of education.
There is a silver lining in this CORONA Virus pandemic. It is the chance to transform the American education system into an efficient and effective model where parents are in charge and children actually learn.