(Patriot.Buzz) – The prevalence of homeschooling in the United States is escalating at an unprecedented rate, eclipsing the growth seen in both public and private educational institutions, as per a recent investigation by The Washington Post.
This trend, which gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, did not wane in the 2022-23 school year as was expected by many experts. Instead, it has sustained its growth, contradicting the forecast that students would return to traditional schooling models. The Washington Post’s study utilized data collected from approximately 7,000 school districts nationwide.
In his discussion with the publication, Nat Malkus, the education policy director at the American Enterprise Institute, emphasized the remarkable surge in homeschooling despite the significant challenges that parents encounter in taking direct responsibility for their children’s education.
“The personal costs to homeschooling are more than just tuition,” Malkus noted. “They are a restructuring of the way your family works.”
The Washington Post’s findings indicate that homeschooling’s increasing popularity is evident across political affiliations, geographical locations, and demographic groups.
The investigation drew upon data from 32 states and the District of Columbia, accounting for over 60% of the nation’s school-age children. It’s noteworthy that seven states have inconsistent records of homeschoolers, and 11 states, such as Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and Illinois, do not mandate parental notification to the state when opting for home-based education.
The analysis revealed a 51% surge in the homeschooling population over six school years in states with reliable data, a growth rate significantly higher than the 7% increase in private school enrollment. During the same timeframe, public school enrollment experienced a 4% decline.
Before the pandemic, the National Center for Education Statistics reported 1.5 million homeschoolers in the U.S. The Washington Post estimates current figures to be between 1.9 million and 2.7 million.
Only Georgia and Maryland have witnessed homeschooling figures revert to pre-pandemic levels. Conversely, states like Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and South Dakota have seen continued expansion.
New York State exhibits the most rapid growth in homeschooling, with the number of homeschooled children more than doubling since 2017 to almost 52,000. Within New York City, 24 of the 33 school districts have experienced increases of at least 200% over six years. In certain districts of Brooklyn and the Bronx, the growth has exceeded 300%.
The expansion of homeschooling has garnered applause from its advocates, who cite the high achievement rates of homeschooled students. Nevertheless, there are voices of concern regarding regulation and oversight.
“Policymakers should think, Wow — this is a lot of kids,” Harvard Law School’s emeritus professor Elizabeth Bartholet told The Post. “We should worry about whether they’re learning anything.”