Saturday, The Wall Street Journal had an op-ed piece by David Feith on “The Radical School Reform Law You’ve Never Heard Of.” Apparently, some parents of children in failing schools in Califronia are no longer waiting for superman but, in fact, have become superman. Perhaps a more apt image would be Dirty Harry in that these parents advocate “pulling the trigger” on failing schools. In Los Angeles, where a high school student has only a 50% chance of graduating and a 10% chance of going to college, it is hardly surprising that an activist group called Parent Revolution is demanding reform. If 51% of parents sign a petition, they can force administrative changes, invite a charter school to take over the school or shut it down. Amazing . . .
Thousands of parents have already pulled the “parent trigger” by opting out of the public education system to homeschool. At homeschool fairs, I’ve met hundreds of parents who in order to “save” their children had to withdraw them from the public schools. Some are parents of special needs children whose needs were not attended to, some are African-American parents who do not want their children particularly their sons “socialized” by their public school peers and others are parents who are fed up with the bureaucracy.
Go to a homeschool curriculum fair and you will be surprised by children who are genuinely interested in learning and unfailingly polite to adults. Is it because these children spend more time with adults or because their teacher-parent devotes one-on-one quality time with them? A homeschool parent knows if his or her child is falling behind in math or reading or acting out in class and can remedy the situation. We need to replicate the homeschool experience by having classes with fewer students and weeding out those who are hell-bent on not learning and thus keeping others from learning and making a teacher’s life impossible. Another benefit: homeschooling gives families great flexibility in scheduling extracurricular activities such as sports or music lessons, visiting museums or taking family vacations.
The assumption is that homeschool families are typically middle-class and can afford to homeschool. That is not the case. Many families struggle to get by and still homeschool. They feel the material sacrifice is well worth it. I doubt that in their home, their children have a “50% chance of not graduating from high school and a 10% chance of attending college” as David Feith states is the case for the average student in Los Angeles.
I applaud the parents of the Parent Revolution. It is time the public school system made our day by being accountable and putting the needs of children ahead of their own.
To read the article, go to: online.wsj.com/…/SB10001424052748704462704575609781273579228.html –