Saturday, September 3, 2022

Well Being: Homeschooling - The teacher's union and the pandemic make homeschooling an obvious choice. - by Robert W Malone MD, MS


Why homeschool? Why support people that you know who homeschool?

Let’s start with some homeschooling statistics

  1. Homeschoolers made up 6.73% of all school-age children (K-12) in the U.S as of 2020/2021.

  2. There were 3.7 million homeschool students in the U.S at the end of 2020 and estimates show that the last two years homeschooling has increased at least 10% per year. That means an estimate of 5.5 million children are being homeschooled for the 2022/2023 is probably fairly accurate. However, the hard data has not been updated since 2018.

  3. A study led by Michael Cogan by the University of St. Thomas revealed that the homeschool graduation statistics are 10% higher than that of students from public schools.

  4. Homeschooled children score 15-30% higher than students in public schools in the standardized academic achievement exams. This is based on reports from The National Home Education Research Institute in 2015.

  5. The National Home Education Research Institute report shows that, irrespective of the parent’s educational level and financial level, homeschoolers can score well.

  6. The top reason for homeschooling is a concern about school environment.

  7. Homeschool students outperform institutional school students academically.

  8. 48% of homeschooling households have three or more children.

  9. The average cost of homeschooling is $700-$1,800 per student annually.

  10. Homeschooling saves about $56 billion of taxpayer money annually (probably more now).

  11. There are almost no studies being conducted on homeschooling best practices and outcomes. Statistics are few. Peer reviewed studies even fewer.

I am biased in favor of homeschooling. Jill and I homeschooled our two sons through middle and high school in the 2000s. At the time, this was fairly unusual and resources were scarce. That said, Jill took the lead and we have never regretted the decision. In retrospect, we should have pulled our boys out of the public school system much earlier.

We do believe that children are social animals, they need companionship. That parents must find community for their children and for themselves. I think this is partly the reason why 48% of homeschooling households have three or more children. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone or every family. A stable home life, a parent(s) who have the time and resources and a commitment to the process are important.

There are many ways to teach children. There is no one perfect way. That different children do better with different styles is obvious.

However, I believe that, given the sad state of affairs of so many public schools, homeschooling is a much better alternative at this time. There is also the benefit of teaching children family and community values.

But there is a big why, that “why now” question. Why are so many parents unhappy with their children’s school? Was it just the pandemic, or does it go deeper? Is there something going on at a deeper level?

This question led me down the path of more research. I read a WSJ opinion piece called “The Teachers Unions Go Woke: The NEA and AFT get behind progressive political indoctrination” that shocked me. The article was Published July, 2021 and was written by the WSJ editorial board. Frankly, my thought was that surely this can’t be right! I needed to do more research.

Having read the WSJ piece, I had to find out for myself. So I went into the National Education Association annual meeting webpage (which has been removed, but can be found in a website archive). First, what is the National Education Association?

Per Wikipedia

The National Education Association ( NEA) is the largest labor union and the largest white-collar representative in the United States. It represents public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers.

With that background established, I then faced the task of verifying what motions actually did pass at their annual meeting? Is the corruption of the NEA as bad as the WSJ articles implied?

Having done the research, looked up the receipts, I have to conclude that the answer is yes. What the National Education Association is doing is even worse than the WSJ article lays out. As much as I would like to comment on each of these motions, which affect almost all of our children in public schools - I am just going to cut and paste text from their website. Please also go to their website and read their annual meeting minutes.

The items below have been voted on, passed/approved, and will be implemented by NEA teachers throughout schools in the USA. Remember, the National Educational Association is the largest teacher’s union in the nation.

New Business Item 33

The NEA will call for mandatory safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for all students and staff before returning to face-to-face instruction in the fall, subject to medical exceptions in accordance with existing law, and will widely publicize this position via social media. We will further call for and publicize that safety measures such as social distancing, masking, and proper ventilation be mandatory for all.

New Business Item 39

The NEA will, with guidance on implementation from the NEA president and chairs of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Caucuses:

A. Share and publicize, through existing channels, information already available on critical race theory (CRT) -- what it is and what it is not; have a team of staffers for members who want to learn more and fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric; and share information with other NEA members as well as their community members.

B. Provide an already-created, in-depth, study that critiques empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society, and that we oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.

C. Publicly (through existing media) convey its support for the accurate and honest teaching of social studies topics, including truthful and age-appropriate accountings of unpleasant aspects of American history, such as slavery, and the oppression and discrimination of Indigenous, Black, Brown, and other peoples of color, as well as the continued impact this history has on our current society. The Association will further convey that in teaching these topics, it is reasonable and appropriate for curriculum to be informed by academic frameworks for understanding and interpreting the impact of the past on current society, including critical race theory.

D. Join with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project to call for a rally this year on October 14—George Floyd’s birthday—as a national day of action to teach lessons about structural racism and oppression. Followed by one day of action that recognize and honor lives taken such as Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and others. The National Education Association shall publicize these National Days of Action to all its members, including in NEA Today.

E. Conduct a virtual listening tour that will educate members on the tools and resources needed to defend honesty in education including but not limited to tools like CRT.

F. Commit President Becky Pringle to make public statements across all lines of media that support racial honesty in education including but not limited to critical race theory.

New Business Item 41

NEA will work with its partners and affiliates to raise money for and create an awareness campaign to address the recent wave of state legislation that prohibits educators and courses from including certain concepts and facts because, according to the lawmakers sponsoring this legislation, they have the potential to make some people uncomfortable. As a part of this awareness campaign, NEA will work with coalition partners to raise funds to create a variety of public messages and will reach out to its members and well-recognized actors, musicians, and sports figures to solicit their input and help. This campaign will focus on the importance of teaching our students to be able to evaluate the influence of the intersections of identity, including but not limited to, exceptionality, ability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status, based on the experiences of peoples, groups, and events.

New business Item 54

The National Education Association from this point forward will no longer hold its Representative Assemblies or any of its national conferences in any state that openly supports voter suppression, including states that revoke voting rights for people who are convicted of felonies who have completed their sentence.

New Business Item 18

NEA shall identify, compile, and share on NEA EdCommunities, existing “decolonizing the curriculum” resources to educators seeking to be anti-racist in their classrooms and use existing communications and social media to promote it through their affiliates so that rank and file educators can utilize the resources in the classrooms.

Is there any linkage between policies such as these and the decision of many parents to leave public schools? I suspect that the answer is self evident.

How are these new teachings by public schools going to affect our future and future generations?

Let’s discuss.