As teachers’ unions and their Democrat allies keep looking to the federal government for billions more in taxpayer funds before they consider reopening government schools, creative American parents are pushing past the politics and inventing their own ideal learning environments for their children — many of which involve some form of home education.
Good Morning America (GMA) and the New York Times are just two sources of stories on how parents in the United States are refusing to engage in the coronavirus political wars when what is at stake is their children’s education.
At GMA, the topic last week was the “growing trend” of “microschooling,” a home-based education option in which several families share the responsibilities of teaching their multi-aged children.
The Microschool Coalition (MSC) is helping parents to “transform education” by assisting with learning design and resources. Parents visiting the MSC website can get help with how to open their own microschool.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Ed.D., MSC founder, said microschools “are in demand with waiting lists because smaller and more communal makes kids get served better.”
“In this time of pandemic, it’s an added bonus,” she told GMA. “They can be much safer than larger schools. Their social distancing, the six-feet apart, is much more doable.”
The Times reminded its readers that “not everyone hates school at home.”
“While some parents are counting down the days till they can get their kids back into the classroom, a growing number of families are thinking about home schooling this fall,” the Times observed.
Other media, meanwhile, are introducing their stories about the battle over reopening schools with headlines that suggest parents never knew their child’s education was their responsibility.
The Star’s “Desperate US parents take their children’s education into their own hands,” and Ms. Magazine’s “There is No Plan for Opening Schools; Parents Must Fend for Themselves,” are just two examples.
“With the new school year right around the corner, it’s time to accept that the leadership parents were waiting on to execute a safe plan for the fall semester isn’t coming,” Ms. Magazine announced, appearing to be stunned that the government failed to come through for parents.
While Ms. Magazine views this moment in time as a calamity, U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE), a national coalition of parents that grew out of the anti-Common Core movement, says it believes parents are actually “in the best position to decide how their children should be educated, not just this fall but all the time.”
“We are in a time of great opportunity,” the USPIE leadership team optimistically explained to Breitbart News:
This battle is very political. Individuals from the federal government are demanding schools open or lose federal dollars. The teachers’ unions are demanding single-payer healthcare, universal basic income, defunding police and shuttering charter schools before they go back. Our children should not be held hostage for political gain.
American parents certainly have enough to distract them from creating their children’s fall education plans.
While they are taking charge, for example, House Democrats, backed by the teachers’ unions, have already demanded $305 billion in coronavirus aid, claiming the funds are necessary to reopen government schools “safely.”
“States will have to be spending 20 percent more on schools,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, according to CNN. “If they don’t, it means we’ll have more remote education next year.”
“Anybody who’s not seriously negotiating right now doesn’t really want to reopen schools for children,” she added.
Union demands, however, reflect a liberal social justice agenda that does not appear directly related to reopening schools.
For example, the North Carolina teachers’ union is demanding universal health care and welfare for illegal aliens as a prerequisite for reopening schools.
Leaders of the #RedforEd movement and the Arizona teachers’ union are lobbying against school openings. Breitbart News reported the Arizona Education Association (AEA) is escalating the political battle surrounding the reopening of schools in the state with a list of seven demands.
In Florida, teachers’ unions are suing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), seeking to block an order that schools reopen in August.
In Los Angeles, the city’s teachers’ union is demanding the police department be defunded, with those monies redirected to government schools. The union is also demanding a federal “Medicare for All’ program and a “moratorium” on all charter schools as well.
“The union’s demands are profoundly unserious,” the Washington Examiner editorial board wrote and added:
This malingering will hurt rather than help Los Angeles’s students … Young children, especially those with special needs, are facing serious setbacks that will take months, maybe even years, to address. A Reuters analysis last month found that fewer than half of 57 public school districts were even taking attendance. And in Los Angeles, UTLA made it so that schools could not mandate face-to-face online instruction.
“As this back-to-school bandying continues, more parents are saying ‘enough is enough’ and are opting out of conventional schooling this fall in favor of homeschooling,” wrote Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow at Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom.
McDonald explains what families can gain from home education:
In addition to children being happier and less stressed, and families having more freedom and flexibility over what, how, when, and with whom their children learn, homeschooling can also lead to better overall learning. Curriculum and educational tools can be tailored to a child’s distinct needs and interests, and many free, online learning resources can enhance academic outcomes.
The USPIE leadership team said its goal is ultimately “to eliminate all federal education mandates and return control to parents and local communities.”
“However, public schools have had a dismal track record in teaching kids to read, write and do arithmetic,” the team continued:
The most promising solution is found in the increasing trend to home school, which can be accomplished in many ways. Parents can opt to teach their own children, partner with relatives and friends to create a co-op style or pool their resources to hire a teacher. These strategies enable parents to ensure their children are learning to read, write and do arithmetic and are not being influenced by people who do not share their values, while minimizing cost and optimizing use of time.
“The current times are a great opportunity to remind our elected officials, bureaucrats and media, that parents are the undisputed primary educator of their children,” USPIE observed.
McDonald agreed that, as politicians and teachers’ unions continue to battle, many parents are finally experiencing what it is like to take charge of their children’s education.
“They are reassuming control of their children’s education, finding innovative ways to facilitate learning, and connecting with other parents for support and collaboration,” she added. “Where central plans flounder, individual solutions flourish.”