The huge momentum behind homeschooling today is mostly fueled by the huge disappointment of public school. Academic research shows estimates that homeschooling in the US growing at up to 15% a year. Increasingly, competent parents see conventional education as an antique practice designed only to get kids out of the house.
But it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that rich kids no longer have to suffer through the questionable goals and tactics of conventional education.
1. Educated families are pulling their kids out of school.
In North Carolina, the number of kids homeschooling has surpassed the number of kids going to private school. In New York CIty the middle class are fueling the meteoric rise of homeschoolers. The most expensive, prestigious schools are implementing homeschool models to attract parents who are rich enough to outsource homeschooling to professionals. (The Avenues lets parents stay in school all day, The High School of Performing Arts has no school calendar, and Horace Mann focuses on grit instead of testing.)
It used to be that smart parents saw the inadequacies of public school but they tried to ignore it, because the only alternative was private school which is too expensive for all but the most wealthy families. Today those parents see homeschooling as an alternative, fueling a mass exodus of educated families from public school.
2. Social media makes ignoring reality too difficult.
Last week the public blew up over the National Football League’s inadequate response to ubiquitous violence against women and children. And, a few weeks before, the NFL was forced to admit that at least 1/3 of all football players would have compromised brain function due to workplace head collisions.
This is not news to people who follow the sociological and mental health impact of football. In the past ten years there have been more than 300 arrests in the NFL, and players have been suing the NFL over brain damage for decades.
What is new is that social media has made the story impossible to ignore. Players can circumvent media gatekeepers and take their mental health stories straight to the public. And stories of domestic violence are much more difficult to sweep under the rug when we have such easily-shared videos of violence.
The same is true for education. Social media allows kids to gain power in the classroom. Video gives us behind-the-scenes evidence of the absurdities of our education system–some that we might never really believe without the video to prove it.
In the same way that public uproar over the NFL reached critical mass last week, I hope for public uproar over education to reach critical mass. USA Today said that this week will be a turning point for the NFL: will we look at this as the time when things went downhill fast or will we look at this as a time when we overhauled our idea of football?
It’ll be the same for education when that time comes, and either way, public school will never be the same. The rich kids will be gone.
3. Public school is a tool for brainwashing.
The rate of vaccination among rich people in Silicon Valley is the same as the rate of vaccination in rural Sudan. Which is to say that rich people don’t care that the medical community says there’s no connection between Autism and vaccines. Rich people aren’t taking a chance, and anyway, there are a lot of things we cannot prove but we know that they’re true: Like, my menstrual cycle always matches the woman’s in the cube next to mine.
The medical community is in an all-out war with parents who do not vaccinate their kids. I know because I did not vaccinate my own kids and every single checkup, we receive fifteen-minute lectures about how important it is to “catch the kids up”.
And the medical community doesn’t stop there. School uses movies about how important vaccinations are expressly so that the kids put pressure on their parents. This is a blatant example of how the kids are in school to promote someone else’s agenda, regardless of what the parents want.
Maybe the parents are wrong. But there is no law in this country that parents have to be right about everything. Parents only have to do their very best at being good parents with no criminal intent. And withholding vaccinations certainly falls into the category of legal.
Public school was founded on the assumption that people are too stupid to take care of their own kids, and we’ve come full circle, back to the idea that parents are incompetent and kids should look to schools instead of their parents for social and emotional skills and leadership.