Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nationalized Education Guidelines Causing More Homeschool Initiatives

Michael F. Haverluck

The proliferating numbers of homeschoolers in America — estimates place the population at more than 2 million — have been boosted even higher of late due to increasing agitation from parents over the federally imposed Common Core in public schools from coast-to-coast.

Public uproar over this nation’s newly enforced controversial national education standard have brought to light what many consider to be the promotion of a political agenda — enforced through the Washington-funded curriculum currently being taught in public school classrooms.

With homeschooling becoming a more popular form of alternative education across the country, states with some of the highest numbers of homeschoolers are seeing the greatest jumps in their numbers. North Carolina is one of these states, which Heartlander Magazine reports experiencing a 14-percent climb in students being educated from home. California, New York and Virginia are other states that have also witnessed significant spikes in homeschoolers.

As many parents decide to homeschool their children because of beliefs and agendas taught in the classroom that run contrary to their faith, morals or philosophies, an upsurge in those exiting the public schools was anticipated. This has reportedly been spurred by the elevated discontent surveys have noted from citizens who have taken the time to examine what the Common Core is all about.

“If you look at national — and even state polls — you can see that the more familiar people become with Common Core, the more they dislike it,” Civitas Institute Senior Policy Analyst Bob Lubke explained to “They feel like they are losing control of what their kids are learning.”

This potential for declining numbers is recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), as well. But officials within the institution, which is in charge running public schools throughout the Tar Heel State, contend that the increase in the number of homeschoolers statewide has not adversely affected public school enrollment at all — as the reverse seems to be true.

“We have experienced a statewide increase in enrollment over the past few years,” NCDPI Spokeswoman Vanessa Jeter expressed to “Since 2012-13, our statewide enrollment has increased by 27,512 students.”

In fact, putting to rest the complaint of many public school superintendents who blame homeschooling for taking away funding from public education, homeschooling is argued by National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) Founder and President Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., as saving taxpayers $16 billion annually.

An exodus in the making?

The trend of homeschooling being on the rise is something that is not expected to go away any time soon. Experts in the field of education express that the Common Core’s introduction into public schools this fall semester is continuing to upset parents after they see the extent of the changes and politically motivated curriculum within.

“The uptick in homeschooling has become a trend across the nation over the past couple of years, even in states like New York and California,” asserted Eagle Forum Executive Director Glyn Wright. 

“Americans have rejected the Common Core initiative because they are tired of unaccountable federal bureaucracy, especially when it comes to their child’s education, and because they are seeing first-hand the poor quality and content of the Standards that are meant to prepare children for the workforce instead of giving them a well-rounded, superior education.”

With official estimates of homeschoolers ranging from the United States Department of Education’s 1.8 million to NHERI’s latest approximation of 2.3 million, students educated at home are beginning to comprise a more significant percentage of American students. Currently, approximately 50 million children attend America’s public schools, with another 5 million attending conventional private schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). As more and more parents become familiar with the Common Core, the disparity between publicly schooled and homeschooled students is expected to gradually even out.

“It’s not surprising that we are seeing a lot of this as of late,” expressed Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Federal Relations Director William Estrada. “When it comes to Common Core, we see a hastening by parents.”

Getting fed-up

Estrada emphasizes that parents already on the brink of losing their faith in public education got the final bump that they needed to propel them into home instruction by the launch of the Common Core.
“For them, it’s the final straw after many concerns about the education of their children,” Estrada continued. "There’s been a battle for a long time, where parents feel that they do not have enough of a say when it comes to their child’s education.”

Originally, 46 states signed on to implement the Common Core in their statewide public school curricula. The four states that never signed on to the controversial curricula are Texas, Alaska, Virginia and Nebraska.

However, this number has already lowered to 43, as Oklahoma, Indiana and South Carolina have repealed the Common Core in their states. The number of states consenting to the Common Core is expected to dwindle even further in the near future to 40, as North Carolina, Louisiana and Missouri have also launched movements to repeal the controversial federally backed curricula.

In preparation to repeal the Core Curriculum from North Carolina public schools, the Academic Standards Review Commission was established. Its primary function was designed to form alternative curricula to replace the Common Core if the state’s efforts to oust the federal standards are successful.

However, many parent groups disgruntled with the Common Core contend that they will still opt to homeschool their children if and when their respective states repeal Washington’s education standards — due to skepticism over the way parental input has continued to be steamrolled by both the state and federal governments. For instance, parents in both Oklahoma and Indiana have contended that public school officials have merely switched federal standards with new ones that are virtually indistinguishable. They complain that the alternative curricula are carbon copies of Washington’s lesson plans, with the only changes being in the name of the materials.
Disgruntled parents from every state have been standing up to the Common Core both before and after its launch.

The 2014 fall semester marked the launch of the new federal standards in school curricula in virtually all of the states that initially signed on with the Common Core. But since September, parents, educators and policy makers have increasingly voiced disapproval over more than Washington’s control over the nation’s curricula. These skeptics have also challenged the objectionable content found in students’ textbooks and lesson plans, which they say have been devised to indoctrinate children into the political mindset embraced in the standards that were devised by federal bureaucrats.

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