Labor Watch

Teachers Union Chief Plays Dumb on Reasons for Homeschooling Surge

Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, recently posted an article from Axios entitled “What’s behind the increase in homeschooling” on X (formerly Twitter). The statement can also be seen as a question, which didn’t escape the comments section, which began answering her with such ridicule that she turned off comments on the post. The Axios article gives a few surface reasons but pretends the significant issues don’t exist.

So, why parents have shifted to homeschooling in such numbers?

The Real Reasons

Gee, whatever could be the reason? It couldn’t be the fact that parents, since the COVID shutdowns, saw the insanity that is being taught to their children? Maybe it’s the pornography that passes as sex ed nowadays, with books too graphic and disturbing for school district meetings among adults but somehow OK for grade school children. Maybe it’s the critical race theory in the curriculum that divides our innocent children by racial group and places blame on whole races while teaching others that they are lifelong victims because of their melanin levels. Perhaps it has something to do with parents being a tad bit cautious about public school teachers secretly transitioning their children into another gender behind their backs and the unprecedented rise in children identifying as trans.

Or maybe it boils down to simple expectations that schools actually . . . I don’t know . . . teach academics? Crazy concept, right? Why would parents want to pull their kids from public schools while literacy rates and standardized test scores plummet? It boggles the mind.

I’m obviously being sarcastic, but these parents aren’t blind. They know educational failure when they see it. For example, in Illinois, only “32% of high school juniors could read, and 27% do math at grade level.” And these disturbing trends aren’t isolated to one state. Nationwide, literacy rates are down, with 40 percent of students unable to read at grade level, according to the National Literacy Institute.

Some of this is undoubtedly due to the pandemic and closed schools, but our nation’s public schools were not exactly thriving before the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, only 34 percent of 8th graders were proficient in math in 2019, a number that dropped to 26 percent after COVID. On top of it all, Common Core has come in with newfangled academic ideas that have failed our nation’s children and confused a whole generation of parents used to simpler, more effective methods.

Weingarten can play dumb, but we all know the reasons parents are opting out of government schools. It’s plain to anyone with eyes and a brain.

Observing the Shift in Real Time

I saw the shift happen in real time when the country moved to the COVID-induced distance-learning model of public education, and I began teaching online. Parents saw what was in their students’ books. They saw for themselves the often low-quality education and high amounts of indoctrination, and they also learned from that forced experience that teaching at home is possible.

The teachers unions did this to themselves. They wanted the schools closed. They gave parents a trial run on teaching their children at home, and by this selfish act they signed their own professional pink slips. Now, parents see it’s possible, and many are simply not sending their kids back.

I don’t believe Weingarten’s spiel; she’s not dumb. She’s pretending not to know why public schools are hemorrhaging students and families are flocking to homeschooling options, but like a politician, she’s just repeating her lines. If she can pretend it’s some great mystery that has led to the growth of homeschooling, perhaps the real issues will go unnoted. Maybe the blame can be placed on the usual leftist whipping boys, such as homeschool parents being bigots, fundamentalists, or some other nonsense accusation.

Thankfully, the public knows our government schools are failing indoctrination centers, and they are voting with their feet, whether Weingarten pretends to see the reasons or not.

Kali Fontanilla

Kali is serving as CRC’s Senior fellow, particularly focusing on topics related to K-12 public education. She has 15 years of experience as a credentialed educator working in public and…
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