Shut downs and social-distancing is difficult for all types of schooling happening in America’s homes. Traditional homeschoolers are not able to go to their co-ops, to parks, to the library, to plays, to museums, on play dates, etc. In fact, many homeschool families typically spend more time away from home than they do at home while learning hands on in the real world. Their education delivery is very social contrary to popular myths that suggest otherwise.
Millions of American children are participating in COVID-19 government schooling in their homes due to mandatory school closures. What parents of government-schooled children are being forced to do is far from the typical or ideal homeschooling experience. Homeschooling is a choice families make unlike the unparalleled COVID-19 government schooling forced on families today.
The government determines everything about COVID-19 government schooling where most children learn from electronic devices, attendance data is collected and instruction is teacher-led with mandated times, and parents are merely curriculum enforcers without flexibility. Moreover, COVID-19 government schooling parents, who have more than one child, struggle to keep up with multiple lesson plans and communication with multiple teachers.
Homeschool parents direct their children’s education and choose what to study, when to study, and what approach to use. Homeschooling families learn which subjects can be group lessons allowing younger children to absorb intellectual topics at their pace, and older children mentor younger children. Homeschool parents are also able to adjust their schedules allowing great flexibility and viability for learning throughout the day on any given day.
Even more troubling than the stress for families from school closures is the unfortunate power grab by the government to usurp even more parental, local and state authority over education due to pandemic-induced government restrictions from the top down.
Federal education stimulus money is being pumped into states giving the federal government more control of America’s classrooms when the opposite is what is needed. Federal guidelines coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend in reopening schools desks at least 6 feet apart, no assemblies, recess, or field trips, and lunch in classrooms instead of cafeterias to name a few.
Some State School Superintendents are making edicts about class schedules and other regulations for reopening schools without any consideration or input from parents and their duly elected representatives on local school boards. For example, South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman surveyed school districts without input from local school boards about reopening schools. Berkley County South Carolina School Board member Anne Conder says, “I don’t think Ms. Spearman has the Constitutional authority to make these decisions.” She plans to challenge this authority and is seeking advice from the Board’s legal counsel.
Parents and local elected officials need to stand their ground and remind the state and federal government that education decisions are best made at the local level and defend their legal authority to make these decisions.
USPIE believes parents are a child’s first teacher and should have absolute say in what and how their children learn. Join the movement to restore local control of education and sign the petition to the President to end federal intrusion in American schooling.