Over the course of the pandemic, alternative schooling options have become more attractive to parents in the midst of COVID-19 regulations and constant school closures.
The U.S. Census Bureau released data in March of last year, noting that the coronavirus pandemic pushed a renewed desire for many to homeschool their children. According to the bureau, “national homeschooling rates grew rapidly from 1999 to 2012 but had since remained steady at around 3.3%.”
In the spring of 2020, around 5.4% of households in the United States with school-age kids said they were homeschooling. By the time fall hit, 11.1% of households with the same age kids said they were homeschooling.
“That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year,” the Census Bureau added.
The report also noted that race seemed to be somewhat of a factor in the schooling choices. It stated, “[i]n households where respondents identified as Black or African American […], the proportion homeschooling increased by five times, from 3.3% (April 23-May 5) to 16.1% in the fall (Sept. 30-Oct. 12). The size of the increases for the other Race/Hispanic origin groups were not statistically different from one another.”
The jump was also seen more in certain states, such as Massachusetts, which saw an increase from 1.5% to 12.1% in homeschooling rates.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in California, almost 35,000 families filed an affidavit with California to start a private home school for five or fewer kids during the 2020-2021 school year. That number was more than double the amount of affidavits filed in 2018-2019.
Homeschooling numbers also differed in certain cities.
“Among the 15 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), for example, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA, went from 0.9% in the spring of 2020 to 8.9% by the fall,” the report noted. “In contrast, the rate in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA, MSA was not significantly different (4.2% and 5.2%) for the same period.”
Parents in America are more and more interested in alternative forms of schooling as many schools continue to threaten closures or force students to wear masks in the midst of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
“There is dissatisfaction with how folks were being taught and treated in schools,” said Martin Whitehead, spokesman for the Homeschool Association of California.
California policies might lead more parents to make similar decisions about schooling for their children, as they have already.
As The Daily Wire reported, Democratic state Senator Richard Pan “proposed a bill on Monday that would add COVID-19 vaccinations to the state’s list of inoculations for grades K-12 in a move that would require all students to be fully vaccinated starting in 2023.”
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom (CA) “has also announced an executive order that will require students 12 and over to be vaccinated for COVID-19 once the vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
“Newsom’s executive order allows for medical and religious exemptions. Pan’s new bill, however, does not currently include a religious exemption,” The Daily Wire added.
Another piece of legislation introduced in the state last week would permit students 12 years of age and up to get the COVID-19 vaccine without parental permission.
“Giving young people the autonomy to receive life-saving vaccines, regardless of their parents’ beliefs or work schedules, is essential for their physical and mental health,” California Democratic State Sen. Scott Wiener said, per an Associated Press report.
“It’s unconscionable for teens to be blocked from the vaccine because a parent either refuses or cannot take their child to a vaccination site,” he added.
Voters are also responding to school measures and policies by electing new leadership. Newly-elected Republican Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates if they do not want their children to wear a face covering in school.
However, Youngkin has been met with resistance from school officials who have defied his order.
The Daily Wire reported, “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand on Friday issued a 34-page ‘Principal Briefing’ PowerPoint presentation at a meeting with school administrators that ordered them to suspend students who refuse to wear a mask.”