In this article from New York, although homeschooling is said to be a smaller factor in the decline of rural school enrollment, the only family profiled in the article homeschools.Â Why is it the homeschooling thatÂ garners such attention when the article creditsÂ a greater number ofÂ children in private schools?
- Auburn Citizen, Auburn, New York, 2 July 2006, School choice adding to enrollment declineÂ Â Â Â
Turck estimated 90 school-aged children residing in Southern Cayuga attend private schools in other districts. A smaller number of families, he added, are opting to home-school their children.Â Â …Â Â
On the flip side of that coin, the superintendent said the committee should also know about reasons behind families’ decisions to school their children.
… or perhaps the reasonsÂ behind families’ decisions to send their children to private schools?Â Does the committee want to know about that, too, or is there some kind of professional courtesyÂ only within the education industry so that schools don’t poach on each others’Â populations?
The decrease in the number of enrolled children in this New York area apparently is local/regional as a 2005Â article from Ohio paints a picture of aÂ growing number of school-age children in the country as a whole, with an emphasis on, “increasing numbers in western and southern areas of the nation …”
- The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, 23 June 2005, Report Puts Education goals on Iffy GroundÂ Â Â Â
These and many other interesting statistics can be found in the latest annual issue of “Condition of Education,” the congressionally mandated national educational statistical report released by the Department of Education.Â Â
An analysis of this huge volume points to demographic shifts and student population trends that will have far reaching effects on public education. Elements sparking change include:Â Â
â€¢ A 25 percent increase in the annual birthrate since the mid-1970s means more schools will be needed.
In any region with a significant population (say, a small town-worth of citizens), the need for schoolingÂ will have to be addressed, especially givenÂ our democratically compulsoryÂ model of a ‘free’ public education.Â This ‘freeness’ is a euphemism for the transfer of some of the wealth, via taxation, from those who have more to spend to those who have much less to spend.Â ‘Free’ schooling in the United States is paid for to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars each yearÂ (Ctrl F and search for “trillion”).
I don’t find this transfer objectionable, in theory, because I usually think encouraging people to become educated and awareÂ is a good thing to do, although every silver lining has its cloud.Â Â Despite not objecting to the wealth transfer that funds the American elementary and secondary education industry,Â I’d be interested in reading objective observationsÂ on the dynamics of mass-schooling andÂ the sum of theÂ effects on a population practicing such things.Â Finding the control-group to compare this mass-schooled population against may be difficult, althoughÂ one group springs to mind.Â Â However, catching and bandingÂ them might prove difficult.
What I do find objectionable is the focusÂ on homeschooling in theseÂ kinds of articles, even though it’s flattering to be a member of such a talked-about subgroup (are we cool yet?).Â Â IfÂ homeschooling isÂ a factor in public school policy then, ultimately,Â soÂ are the birth-control practices of any adult in the catchment area, meaning that if any fluctuation, for whatever reason, in the feeder population is valid for consideration, then all reasons for fluctuation in population are valid.
If ‘families and their reasons-for-leaving a public school system’Â are to be showcased, then examples from both kinds of families should be used.Â To do otherwise indicates a bias in considering the culpability of the leavers (if such a thing exists in a free country where Choice is extolled as a great good), and creates the impression, yet again, that children serve theÂ education industryÂ instead of the other way around.
It is encouraging that this public school systemÂ is trying to find the reasons why people are voting with their feet, but the complexity of the industry thatÂ schools human children en masse, and the ebbs and flows endemic to doing this,Â can’t be distilled to ‘Public v. Home’ concerning schooling.