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Public School Enrollment Plummets as Private Schools See Gains

This article was originally published by Kerry McDonald at the Foundation for Economic Freedom. 

Ongoing and renewed shutdowns of public schools across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in astonishing public school enrollment drops.

NPR recently reported that public school districts in at least 20 states have seen shrinking numbers of students this fall, with Orange County and Miami-Dade County in Florida down 8,000 and 16,000 public school students, respectively. Los Angeles public school enrollment has dropped by nearly 11,000 students.

Families are increasingly turning away from public schooling and toward private education options during the pandemic—a trend that is likely to continue even after the virus fades.

Since March, US parents have been put back in charge of their children’s education in unprecedented ways. Zoom schooling has given them a peek into what their children are actually learning (or not learning) in their classrooms, and ongoing school closures have encouraged families to pursue education options beyond their assigned district school. Many families have withdrawn their children from a district school in recent months in favor of independent homeschooling or private schooling, or have decided to delay their child’s kindergarten entry.

According to a recent Gallup poll, the rate of homeschooling has doubled since last year to nearly 10 percent, while the rate of children enrolled in a district school declined seven percent to 76 percent of the overall US K-12 student population.

New state-level data offers more insight into this exodus from public schooling. In Connecticut, officials report that public school enrollment is down more than 15,000 students or about three percent, with much of that drop due to fewer children enrolled in public kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs. At the same time, homeschooling numbers in Connecticut are more than six times higher than they were last year, with over 3,500 children opting out of public schooling for homeschooling this year alone.

Other states are seeing similar shifts away from public schooling this fall. In Utah, public school enrollment has dropped for the first time in 20 years, while homeschooling numbers in the state have tripled this year. In Arizona, public school enrollment is down 50,000 students, or about five percent of the school-age population, with an associated uptick in homeschooling. The state has also seen a 14 percent drop in kindergarten enrollment. In Montana, public school enrollment is down approximately 3,300 students over last year and homeschooling numbers are up. School officials there are worried about state funding cuts as public school enrollment falls.

Indeed, this is a prime moment to advocate for education choice policies, such as education savings accounts, that enable education funding to follow children wherever they learn, rather than funding the bureaucratic school systems that more families are rejecting. Critics argue that the flight from public schools toward private options during the pandemic deepens inequality, but expanding education choice mechanisms ensures that all parents have the opportunity to select the learning option that works best for their children.

The Reason Foundation’s Corey DeAngelis has written extensively about funding students, not systems. He explains: “This is exactly how we fund many other taxpayer-funded initiatives, including Pell Grants for higher education and prekindergarten programs. For these programs, funding goes to families who can then choose from a wide array of public or private providers of the service. The same goes for food stamps. In these scenarios, the power is rightly in the hands of families rather than institutions.”

It is clear that growing numbers of families are opting for private education options during the pandemic, and many more would likely leave their assigned district school now and in the future if they could access some of their education tax dollars that are currently ensnared in public school systems.

Some private schools are seeing enrollment jumps during the pandemic, even as public school numbers fall. According to a recent analysis by the Cato Institute, nearly one-quarter of private schools surveyed indicated that their enrollment has grown over last year. Catholic schools and independent private schools in some states have also seen enrollment boosts. These schools have been more responsive to parental demand for in-person learning while public schools remain closed, often due to teacher union pressure.

In Boston, interest in Catholic schools soared over the summer when Massachusetts teacher unions announced a push for remote learning only, while the state’s parochial schools committed to in-person learning. Thomas Carroll, the head of Boston’s Catholic schools, said the enrollment demand from parents was immediate. In an interview with Boston NPR, Carroll explained: “When it hit the evening news, our phone(s) started ringing off the hook all across all of our 100 schools…I joke that we should send a thank you note to the school districts, because of their tone deafness, in terms of what the parents were looking for.”

The reopening of in-person learning in these Catholic schools has not led to widespread coronavirus infections. Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker, recently praised them as an example for public schools to follow. “The kids in schools are not spreaders of Covid,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Baker. “I mean, there’s no better example of that right now than the parochial schools in Massachusetts. They have 28,000 kids and 4,000 employees who have been back in-person learning since the middle of August, and they have a handful of cases.”

Parent demand for in-person learning during the pandemic is prompting an expansion of private education possibilities, including low-cost options that are more accessible to more families. Pandemic learning pods are widely popular, allowing small groups of children to gather together in private homes with a hired teacher, or with parents taking turns facilitating instruction. As these affordable, versatile pods take more children away from district schools, it’s perhaps not surprising that bureaucrats are declaring war on them with regulatory burdens. But parental demand for flexible, high-quality, low-cost learning options is unlikely to wane, particularly as parents gain a greater appreciation for private education during the pandemic.

Thales Academy, for example, is a North Carolina-based network of low-cost private schools that is expanding during the pandemic even as public school enrollment in the state plunges. Founded more than a decade ago by entrepreneur Bob Luddy who was frustrated with the bureaucracy and poor outcomes of North Carolina’s public schools, Thales Academy has grown to 11 campuses in three states, enrolling more than 3,600 students at an annual tuition cost of about $5,500 a year, plus generous scholarship programs to off-set the cost even further for many families.

The pandemic has disrupted families’ lives in countless ways, and the impact of school closures and remote learning has been particularly challenging. Many parents are embracing homeschooling and other private education options that are more flexible and responsive to their needs. With an assortment of innovative, low-cost, high-quality private education options attracting more families, plummeting public school enrollment during the pandemic may become permanent.

The post Public School Enrollment Plummets as Private Schools See Gains first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Our Society Is In The Process Of Breaking Down All Around Us

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The End of the American Dream. 

Have you noticed that people don’t treat one another with the same level of respect and civility that they once did?  Everywhere I look, people are treating one another badly, and this should greatly alarm all of us.

Perhaps we can blame some of this on the pandemic because the restrictions that authorities have implemented around the nation have definitely put people in a bad mood.  And of course, the fact that this is an election year is certainly not helping things.  But I am seeing people that are supposedly on the same side treating each other with extreme contempt.  Conservatives are fighting with conservatives, liberals are fighting with liberals, Christians are fighting with Christians, and over the past year, I have been seeing families break up all over the place.  Hearts are growing so cold, and all of the strife and discord that we are witnessing makes me wonder what things will be like when economic conditions in this nation really start falling apart.

There is so much anger and frustration in the air right now, and we are definitely seeing this being reflected in the crime numbers.  For example, it is being reported that burglaries in San Francisco have risen 42 percent so far this year…

In San Francisco, burglaries are up 42% in the first 9 months of this year, compared to the same time period in 2019. In the Northern District, which includes Pacific Heights, the Marina, North Beach, and Cow Hollow, it’s up 59%. In the Mission, 79% and in the Richmond up 50%.

In some neighborhoods, the same criminals are returning over and over again, and things have gotten so bad that one local resident recently admitted that she “cannot sleep at night anymore”

Thieves are returning to the same homes and neighborhoods within the same week, sometimes only one day apart.

“It’s a big wave of crime right now. it’s home burglaries and this is scary. I cannot sleep at night anymore,” said Iryna Gorb.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like lying in bed wondering if this will be the night when the burglars will return again.

In addition to home invasions, San Francisco is seeing an alarming number of stores being hit as well

And it’s not just happening to homes. Video from a Pacific Heights’ Food Market a week and a half ago shows a suspect’s seen setting up a blow torch on the store’s glass.

When it doesn’t budge, he comes back and tries a throwing a planter to break in.

We are seeing similar scenes play out all over America on a nightly basis these days, and it is only going to get worse in the months ahead.

Over on the east coast, New York City has also seen a 42 percent rise in burglaries so far in 2020, and the number of shootings is up 91 percent

Year-to-date, there has been a 91% spike in citywide shooting incidents, a 42% increase in burglaries and a 33% decrease in hate crimes.

Considering the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have already moved out of New York City, there shouldn’t be that many people left to shoot, but these are the numbers that authorities are giving us.

And sometimes people are being murdered without a gun being used at all.  I have to admit that I was greatly disturbed when I recently heard what happened to one man on a Manhattan subway platform

A man has died after he was repeatedly stabbed in the legs following a dispute on a lower Manhattan subway station in New York City on Saturday, officials revealed.

The attack unfolded just before 3pm on the northbound J/Z train platform in Chambers Street Station, near to City Hall, where the victim, in his 20s, had been ensnared in an argument with another man, said to be in his 30s.

How cold does your heart have to be to attack someone like that?

Sadly, acts of extreme violence are happening in our major cities so frequently now that they barely make a blip in the news.  In the middle of the country, murders and shootings in Chicago are both up over 50 percent in 2020, and it is being reported that “dozens of children” under the age of 10 have been shot over the last nine months…

The Windy City – like others across the country – has seen an uptick in violent crimes this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, mass layoffs and nationwide unrest. Murders and shootings are up 52% from the same time last year, according to police data, and dozens of children under 10 years old have been shot, some fatally.

This is what America has become.

We have become a place where children under the age of 10 are being shot on a regular basis.

Most of us depend on the police to protect us from this sort of violence, but they are being shot on a regular basis too.  Here is just one example that was in the news today

A shooting over the weekend left one Myrtle Beach police officer dead and another injured, according to a news release from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The officers were responding to a domestic violence call Saturday night. Authorities say shots were exchanged between them and a suspect after a confrontation.

The thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis is steadily disappearing, and it isn’t just happening in the big cities.

Some of the worst crimes of all are happening in less populated areas, and if you doubt this just check out this example.

For decades, we have been raising children in an environment in which traditional moral values have been relegated to the fringes of society, and so we should not be surprised that our society is now literally coming apart at the seams all around us.

And if you think what we have experienced so far is bad, just wait until we get a few more years down the road.

Chaos and violence in our streets has become the norm, and our society now teaches us that it is perfectly okay to hate one another.

Treating others the way that you want to be treated is such a simple concept, but it works.

Unfortunately, most of the population has rejected the simple values that once united our nation, and so our society will continue to fall apart all around us as we plunge into a deeply uncertain future.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream, and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial, or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and anyway that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post Our Society Is In The Process Of Breaking Down All Around Us first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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