Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten Appears Mystified By Rise of Homeschooling

AFGE, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, shared an article that attempts to tackle why there is an increase in parents opting for homeschooling their children versus traditional public school.

The irony is that the woman at the helm of shutting down schools during the pandemic, which lifted the veil for parents to see the truth behind public education, seems confused by the increase in homeschooling.

Naturally, a woman of such power and public presence felt the need to shut down the ability to comment on her post on X. Perhaps this decision was made out of some public relations forethought or because she lacks the internal fortitude to take the valid criticism that has been doled in her direction.

As a homeschool parent myself and a lifelong critic of the public education system, it would be effortless to spend my time ripping on Randi for her perpetual lack of self-awareness and inability to own in her culpability for the state of public education today. Instead, I will focus on the arguments presented by homeschool detractors and just how off-base they are in their attempt to marginalize parents like myself.

Incomplete data

Randi Weingarten shared an Axios article on X titled:

“What’s behind the increase in homeschooling?’

In response to the predictable backlash she received, she replied with her reasoning for this educational phenomenon:

“Look at the data: if we dealt w/ gun violence, had robust anti-bullying programs & provided more services for special needs students, many of these parents wouldn’t feel compelled to homeschool.”

The Axios article, which draws its data from a Washington Post piece, does touch on what some parents have stated as their motivations for homeschooling, including gun violence, bullying, and lack of services for special needs students. However, it, and Randi, conveniently breeze over one of the biggest catalysts for the increase in homeschool numbers – the pandemic school shutdowns.

Advocacy chair for the Washington Homeschool Organization, Jen Stuber, touched on this:

“The initial set of folks who came to homeschooling during the pandemic largely did so because ‘Zoom school’ was a complete and total failure for them and their families.”

Who is it again that we can thank for ‘Zoom school’? Oh, that’s right, Randi is one of them.

But to be fair, it wasn’t just a failure because of the logistics and technical aspects of ‘Zoom school’; it was a failure for public schools because it showed parents how little their children were learning and how dangerous some of the curriculum was.

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Crazy right-wingers!

In September of this year, the Washington Post, in conjunction with George Mason University, conducted a poll on homeschool trends. Unsurprisingly, they found that 46% of families said they chose homeschooling because:

“Local schools are influenced too much by liberal viewpoints.”

In the Washington Post article cited by Axios, the writer reduces this idea to:

“…home education’s rise has coincided with the fracturing of a nation unable to agree on the results of the last presidential election or how to fight a pandemic that has killed more than 1.1 million people.”

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The idea that parents from coast to coast have opted in droves to pull their children from public schools because of the last presidential election and pandemic mitigation lacks basic analytical critical thinking skills. I didn’t opt to homeschool my children because I thought the election was rigged, nor did I do it because of the pandemic.

My husband and I decided to homeschool our children because we want to guarantee that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to survive in the world once they leave our nest and thrive.

Go back to school

It used to be that the prominent concern people had about homeschooling was the lack of socialization that is mistakenly assumed to happen for children educated within the home. While that is still mentioned, the latest argument is that parents are too stupid to educate their children, and only the government can ensure the quality of education children receive.

The Washington Post article states:

“Many of America’s new homeschooled children have entered a world where no government official will ever check on what, or how well, they are being taught.”

I fail to see the problem with that arrangement. The government has yet to do much to make sure America’s children are taught what they need to know to function in the world, as evidenced in the latest National Report Card that has shown record lows in reading, mathematics, history, and civics.

But the truth is these downward trends in educational prowess have been in the making for decades. 

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Hillsborough County School Board member Lynn Gray told the Washington Post:

“I can tell you right now: Many of these parents don’t have any understanding of education. The price will be very big to us and to society.”

The price of trusting a government-run system to educate children is high; we even know an estimate. Pandemic learning loss is estimated to cost each child affected $70,000 in lifetime earnings.

Why they are scared

Randi and her ilk are scared of the homeschooling boom for many reasons, including losing funding and what it says about their ability to deliver on the one job they’ve been charged with – education. But they are really frightened of how homeschooling threatens to loosen their grip on society at large.

The Washington Post frets that homeschooling could:

“…undermine the role that public schools have traditionally played in American life.”

President of the Kentucky Education Association, Eddie Campbell, explains:

“If you got to any public school, it’s the heart of the community in which it is situated.”

Public schools shouldn’t be the heart of our communities. Public schools, and by extension the federal government, have been the rudder that steers our societal and cultural evolution for too long. 

Instead of Americans equipped with tangible skills and basic knowledge, we have a workforce that can’t handle criticism or understand basic concepts like hard work and perseverance. Instead of young Americans filled with hope and promise for their future, we are crippling them with narratives of perpetual victimhood and labeling them forever oppressors. 

I homeschool because I believe in my children’s future, and it’s ultimately up to me to ensure they are prepared for the trials and tribulations they will face. And Randi, you made it easy to sell homeschooling, and for that, I say, Thank You. 

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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