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Rise of Interest in Homeschooling Linked to Lockdowns

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Credit: Peter Merholz,, CC BY-SA 2.0

by Jonathon Van Maren,

Just weeks after Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet recommended a ban on homeschooling in order to counter the influence of Christian and conservative parents, a stunning new poll from RealClear Opinion Research of 2,122 registered voters shows that COVID-19 lockdowns have had an unlikely effect: 40% of families are now “more likely to homeschool or virtual school after [the] lockdowns,” with 64% supporting “school choice.”

To John Schilling, president of the American Federation of Children, this is great news. “Every single family with kids in school has been incredibly disrupted by the lockdowns,” he said in a statement. “With 55 million students no longer in their normal educational setting, families are clearly considering new options, and many are seeing the benefits of homeschooling and virtual schooling. Policymakers should note that there is a strong desire to have these and other education options available to families, with strong support for the general concept of school choice[.]”

The poll asked parents (626 respondents): “Are you more or less likely to enroll your son or daughter in a homeschool, neighborhood homeschool co-op, or virtual school once the lockdowns are over?” To that question, 40.8% indicated that it was more likely, with 31.1% saying that they were less likely to do so. Of those who indicated that they were more likely, 44.9% were of the age group 18–34, 40.8% were of the age group 35-44, and 35.3%, 45-54. Only ethnic lines, whites were 36.6% more likely to consider these options, 50.4% of blacks were, 38.2% of Hispanics, and 53.8% of Asians. Somewhat surprisingly, the party affiliation breakdown was more or less even: 45.7% of Democrats and 42.3% of Republicans.

A shift toward greater parental involvement in the education of children — and more than that, more parental responsibility — would be a very encouraging development. As polarization continues to divide the United States into irreconcilable camps, it is increasingly untenable to have a single educational system run by the federal government, with standards imposed by whoever happens to be in office. (Barack Obama’s infamous transgender directives are a good example of this.) As the chasm between the beliefs of conservative America and secular progressive America grows wider, it increasingly makes far more sense for parents and communities to pursue their own arrangements, where they can guarantee that their deeply held beliefs are passed on to their children.

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