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 encourages parents to seize every opportunity to direct the education of their children. Parents have a chance to transform the American education system into an efficient and effective model where parents are in charge and children actually enjoy learning.
For example, 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 with great flexibility and viability for learning throughout the day on any given day.
Since the COVID lockdowns, homeschooling has become more popular. A recent survey found that over 50% of Black parents would prefer to homeschool. In many states, government schools are planning to remain closed, while some private schools are opening up. Parents want their children to have a good education and many are realizing that is not what they are getting in government schools. Parents want to choose something else.
Many Americans support parental rights in selecting educational options for their children. But parents are frustrated that they pay high taxes in support of government schools and then pay out of pocket for private schools or homeschooling. In response, many elected officials are interested in providing parents a government-sponsored financial means to choose something other than government schools. Unfortunately, most of these programs provide a means for a power grab to usurp even more parental, local and state control over education.
USPIE believes the best solution would put the money into the pockets of parents with no strings attached. We firmly believe parents are the undisputed primary educators of their children and are empowered with the authority to choose what and how their children learn unencumbered by Federal mandates.
Accomplishing this is quite simple. The Federal Income Tax form could be revised to allow parents to check a box, “My child(ren) do not attend public school.” This then entitles them to an additional tax deduction of say $6000 per child. No further information or justification would be necessary. Lower income earners who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit would get a tax refund bump. The only regulatory requirement would be a report from the local government school confirming the list of students opting out of the government system.
If the lawmakers want a means to recoup the “cost” of this tax deduction, the Federal dollars directed to each state could be reduced by the amount parents retain. This seems reasonable in that the state’s government schools would be serving fewer students while retaining some Federal funding per child.
We have reviewed ideas being floated in Congress, including Rand Paul’s SCHOOL Act and Lamar Alexander’s School Choice Now Act. Both attempt to provide funding to parents with limited strings, but both have qualifiers on how the money can be spent, which in itself is a string. Parents should not need anyone’s permission to choose curriculum or programs.
Sadly, our society has become one with little faith in parents. Many will argue that if a program such as the one just described were implemented, some parents would do a bad job, and maybe even abuse their children. Quite frankly, in many large urban school districts not a single child is reading or doing math at grade level. It is hard to imagine parents could do worse. And USPIE believes the Comprehensive Sex Education programs, Gender Ideology and White Privilege being taught in government schools today are in fact child abuse.
The pandemic has clearly shown, the current model for funding and controlling schools has failed. A new model must be embraced, one that eliminates failed bureaucracies and top-down policies to one that puts parents in the driver seat.
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