To Teach His Own: The Rise of Homeschooling


To Teach His Own: The Rise of Homeschooling

May 18, 2020

It didn't look like recess. It looked like an elementary school jail. Instead of carefree children running around outside, the images from French journalists are almost tragic: little boys and girls, each sitting glumly in their own chalk-outlined box. To some parents, it was a sobering picture of what public education might look like in the fall. But to millions of others, it was confirmation -- the time to homeschool is now.

There's very little about life that the coronavirus hasn't changed. For everyone in the world, it's been a transformative time -- but for parents of school-aged children, it's been especially disruptive. And while having these routines turned upside down has been challenging, it's not necessarily been negative. Moms and dads have had a chance to look at the traditional learning model and consider: is this really the best option for our kids? For all the frustrations about being stuck at home, it's finally forcing parents who might never have thought about public school alternatives to take stock of what their children are being taught and how well they're performing.

And guess what? The longer this goes on, the more parents seem convinced that at-home learning is better. In at least three new polls, anywhere from 15-40 percent of families say they're ready to make the switch to homeschooling after the lockdown is over. Now, maybe that's health driven, Mike Donnelly, senior counsel at Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) says, or maybe families have really started to embrace the flexibility and autonomy of learning at home. Either way, he told Sarah Perry on "Washington Watch," America could be looking at a "500 percent increase in the number of people homeschooling in the fall, which could top 10 million kids." The numbers, he agrees, "are stunning."

For a lot of parents, the uncertainty about what the school setting could look like in the fall is concerning. They've been told things are about to get more complicated with block schedules or half-days on, half-days off. "Add that to the mandatory sanitizing every 30 seconds," Mike points out, and it's all just a headache waiting to happen. It's all helping to drive surveys like RealClear Opinion Research, where the swell of people who support educational choice is exploding across every demographic.

Of the 40 percent of families who said they'd be more likely to homeschool or virtual school after the country re-opened, a slim majority -- believe it or not -- were Democrats. A lot of people, Mike agrees, have mistakenly thought of homeschooling as a "traditionally conservative model." But that hasn't been the case for a long time. If anything, school choice is becoming a more unifying issue. In this same poll, almost 60 percent of Democrats sided with Republicans in their overwhelming support of school choice. Asked if the consensus surprised him, Mike responded, "maybe a little bit."

"What we found over the years is that the homeschooling movement has diversified broadly. It's diversifying across income, ethnicity, philosophical [and] religious beliefs. You're seeing a transformation happening in this coronavirus. It seems like it's accelerating [the support]. And we're excited about that. I know that... there are people struggling for a lot of reasons right now... But, you know, this is a time when families can come together and become families. And I'm seeing that even with my own homeschool family, we're together a lot more than we ever have been."

Over the years, there've been a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling that HSLDA is trying to debunk. Before the pandemic, Mike points out, most people thought homeschooling was just about that: staying home. "That's just not true. We're as busy -- maybe busier -- than others." There's a whole three-dimensional level of learning with co-ops, outdoor activities, sports, and field trips that he hopes people will begin to see as part of the homeschool platform once some of the restrictions are lifted. Add that to the ability to control the messaging on hot-button topics like sex ed, biology, gender, creation, and sexuality, and it's no wonder homeschooling is winning every popularity contest.

For the far-Left, who's desperately trying to keep kids in the grip of their radical curriculum, the surge in homeschooling is their worst-case scenario. They know as well as we do: the future of the liberal agenda depends on generations of children living under the daily drumbeat of extreme indoctrination. "Public education remains the single biggest monopoly in America," Cal Thomas warns. At least in this sense, the rise of homeschooling, "the coronavirus might be a blessing in disguise."


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


CNN Buries the Trump Lead

May 18, 2020

Election polling is big-time news these days. Unless the media doesn't like the results. Then, apparently, it's not news at all. Take CNN, NRO's Kyle Smith says. They just spent a pile of money to ask voters what they think of President Trump. Believe it or not, his approval ratings have never been higher -- not that viewers would know it, since CNN virtually ignored the numbers altogether.

It took RealClearPolitics to break the story on CNN's poll, since the network decided that a Target shopper without a mask was of more national consequence than the president making a statistical comeback. Only digging under dozens of other headlines did Kyle Smith find a single reference to the results. "CNN seemed oddly unenthused about its own poll. And the story to which the homepage linked doesn't even mention that Trump had never scored higher in a CNN poll... But the single most surprising and newsworthy detail of the poll was that Trump holds a seven-point lead over Biden in 15 battleground states."

And here's where it gets truly comical. The outlet is so desperate to downplay Trump's surge that it draws attention to the "small sample size" and insists that "it's difficult to determine... whether the movement is significant or a fluke..." Funny, CNN didn't seem to think any of its Biden-leaning polls were a coincidence. Yet now, when the president has an advantage, the results must suddenly be wrong. Is it any wonder Americans have such little confidence in the mainstream media? Agendas like this one only fuel the country's distrust.

Unfortunately for the liberal media, the president's numbers aren't just improving overall, they're suggesting a stark contrast on issues that matter the most. Asked who they trusted to handle the economy, 54 percent of voters said Donald Trump. Far fewer -- 42 percent -- said the same about Biden.

Obviously, this polling -- or any polling -- isn't the end-all, be-all for Trump. There are plenty of obstacles for the White House to overcome, including a crisis environment where even a sneeze in the wrong direction can mean a full news cycle of blame. As anyone who paid attention in 2016 knows, surveys only tell one part of the story. A lot like the mainstream media, it appears.


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Colorado's Signature Issue

May 18, 2020

It wasn't the news pro-lifers wanted to hear. After weeks of crisscrossing the state, knocking on doors, and rallying hundreds of volunteers, Colorado's petition gatherers were officially 10,000 names short. The announcement from the secretary of state's office hit organizers hard. The "Due Date Too Late" campaign thought they had more than enough signatures to put a 22-week abortion limit on the ballot. Now, in a race against the clock, they're hitting the ground running -- trying to find the signatures they need to save lives.

It's a big job, but "Due Date Too Late" spokeswoman Lauren Castillo isn't deterred. Like a lot of pro-lifers, she felt like there was "an incredible amount of momentum" collecting petitions earlier this year. Now, with more than 400 volunteers ready to hit the pavement for new names, she's convinced the movement is up to the task.

They have 15 days to close the gap on Initiative 120, which would give Colorado voters the chance to outlaw abortions in the late-second and third trimester. With help from the Archdiocese of Denver, the group has set up a whopping 80-90 signing stations that will be open at different times through May 28. (For an interactive map of locations, click here.) "This is a chance to put restrictions on abortion in Colorado for the first time since 1967," Deacon Geoff Bennett from Catholic Charities of Denver said. "To not make a stand here would be tragic."

Based on the national polling, Colorado's pro-lifers definitely have a shot. Second- and third-trimester abortions are hugely unpopular in America, even among self-described "pro-choicers." When Gallup asked Americans last year, they were surprised to discover just how conservative the country's views are. Only 13 percent think the procedure should be legal in the third trimester, and not many more -- 28 percent -- agree on the second. Those are dismal numbers for Initiative 120's opponents. Even liberal media outlets like Slate have warned that the Left is on shaky ground when it comes this debate. "Even the most pro-choice people," they admit, "aren't sold on abortion rights beyond the first trimester."

If you live in Colorado and haven't signed the petition, please find a nearby location and make your voice heard. November's election isn't just about saving America -- it's about saving lives.

Meanwhile, if you're wondering where your state stands on banning later-term abortions, check out FRC's Pro-Life Map. As you'll see, Colorado is one of 22 states allow abortion on demand right up until the moment of birth -- and one of only seven without even nominal "mental health" restrictions. It's time for voters to change that this fall!


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.



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