In the most unsurprising development of 2020, Massachusetts reports that public school enrollment has plummeted 4 percent this year, which might not sound like a lot, but is huge compared to the overall trend in the last decade.
While most of the decline came from families holding back their kids from kindergarten—because why enroll them in kindergarten so they can stay home anyway and act up in front of a Zoom call—there are a lot of families trying out homeschooling.
And that’s not remote schooling, but instruction led by a parent: “Many families are also giving homeschooling a try this year, with 7,188 students withdrawing from public schools to receive instruction led and chosen by their parents or another adult, compared to 802 the previous year.”
This is significant for public school districts because state aid to schools is calculated on a per-pupil basis. It’s perhaps more significant for homeschooling and private schools because once families get a taste of the freedom, not to mention the superior education that homeschooling can provide, they’re not going to go back. And the more homeschooling families, the more political clout homeschooling will have.
And not just political clout, but societal clout too. For example, while many institutions like museums offer special homeschooler programs and discounts, not all do. But if you increase the pool of homeschoolers, they become a more significant customer base.
I’ve written before about positive outcomes from the pandemic, like more people working from home, and this would be another one because, frankly, anything we can do to reduce the hold of the political-educational-industrial complex on the children and families of this country, the better.