Public school does far more than provide education for children. For many families, it’s a safe place for children to be while their parents work. And for many children, it’s the only place they get any sort of social interaction.
But the very existence of COVID-19 has changed the face of American homes, and that extends to the educational system. In some areas, it may even mean the end of public education… at least as we have come to know it.
Lots of parents are opting for homeschooling this year, and in part, that’s because of the restrictions schools are putting in place due to COVID fears. Some teachers and students will be required to wear masks. Desks have a suggested placement of being 6 ft. apart. Lines will involve 6 ft. spacing, and even seats on the bus may be strictly spaced.
For some schools, just the effort of preparing the building itself places a heavy financial burden on already-strained budgets. It can also mean earlier school bus pick up times, more buses, more employees to drive buses… and this is all before the students even get to school.
Schools have the pressure of meeting CDC Guidelines, their state’s guidelines, and also their local guidelines, which can vary from county to county. On top of that, at every level, the difference between opinions of administrators, teaching staff, students, and parents has its own set of problems.
The amount of money that schools receive is based on the number of students in attendance. That means the total number of students enrolled, as well as the number of students who show up on a daily basis. The frequent truant? They cost the schools money.
So, what happens IF there is a surge of COVID-19 in the schools and multiple students are absent? Is it even worth the risk to the students, staff, or even those poor souls who have to try and balance the budget?
And here’s another wrench in the financial works. The SCOTUS recently ruled on the School Choice debate that allows students to attend schools of their choice, using tax credits to offset the cost… even if those schools are of a religious affiliation. Students who may have only had the choice of public schools in the past can now opt for private schooling.
Up until now, some parents avoided homeschooling because they were afraid they weren’t up to the task. Others couldn’t homeschool because they had to go to work. When the stay at home orders forced families to educate their children at home, some with the help of virtual classrooms, it was a game-changer.
Now, many don’t want their children educated any other way.
When you consider the appalling lack of education that has become so obvious in light of recent events, you might start to wonder if public schooling ever was a good choice. It was more convenient than homeschooling and took the educational burden off the parents. However, it also meant children were indoctrinated with what government entities wanted them to learn, which may not always be what they should be learning.
Our suggestion to any parents forced with the decision of how and where to educate their children this year is to look into not just the COVID restrictions, but the curriculum and resources of their public and private schools.
Weigh all options, including free homeschool resources that leave the parents as more of assistants to the teachers, as opposed to playing the role of teacher themselves. There is even the “unschool” option, which allows parents to teach their children the things they know to be important without the government guidance most public schools rely on.
Whatever you do, be sure to look into the laws regarding education in your state.
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