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October 26, 2021
The U.S. Census Bureau released data showing that there was a massive jump in the number of children being homeschooled in the U.S. since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
The Bureau put out an experimental poll called the “Pulse Survey”. The survey showed a jump in the percentage of students being homeschooled at the start of the pandemic and several months later when the next school year began. From April 23-May 5, which was the first phase of the survey, 5.4% of respondents were homeschooling their children. Between September 30 and October 12, 11.1% of households were homeschooling their children.
The USCB clarified that the word ‘homeschooling’ represents true homeschooling and not virtual learning. The jump from 5.4% to 11.1% was across the entire United States, meaning that there were varying changes among states, metropolitan areas, and racial differences. For example, Florida, Alaska, and Vermont were among the states with the highest increase in homeschooling rates, with 13.1%, 17.9%, and 12.8% changes respectively.
Conversely, some states were relatively stable, and two states decreased (Iowa, -0.6% and Kentucky, -1.6%). While each major metropolitan area increased its homeschooling rates, the Detroit and Phoenix areas had huge jumps, whereas the Seattle area only saw a 1% increase. In terms of race, Black parents were most likely to begin homeschooling their children, with a jump from 3.3% to 16.1%.
White and Asian parents had the lowest rates of moving their children to homeschooling, with about a 4% increase. The conclusion made by the USCB is that parents are more likely to homeschool their children during times of uncertainty. Whether parents were doing it for health reasons or other reasons, is unclear.
There are some who believe more parents are choosing to homeschool because they don’t want their children being taught Critical Race Theory. Another theory that has been posed is that parents are unhappy with the “new normal” of face masks and vaccines and want to pull their children out to avoid those mandates.
Whatever the case may be, the growing homeschooling rate is causing lowering enrollment in school districts, with principals and superintendents claiming 58% of declining enrollment is due to students being homeschooled, moved to charter schools, or placed in “pandemic pods” (EdWeek).
ARTICLE: RITA VOGT
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MICHIGAN RADIO