I have a homeschooling observation. Prior to getting into homeschooling I assumed that homeschoolers mostly did it out of religious reasons. I was OK with that. I happen to believe that religious reasons, not liking public school, or even the anti-establishment hippie homeschoolers I had came across all should be allowed to make the choice of how to educate their own kids. Had I put a name to it, I would have said that home schooling was a parental choice, a civil right even. I would have admitted thought that it was mostly a religious issue for most people.
I would have been wrong.
Here in Wyoming there is a very accepting attitude towards home schooling. There has been for a very long time. This acceptance has more to do with practical issues than parental rights. We are a state with very large amounts of land and not lots of people. It is possible to have a child spend 3 or more hours a day on a bus to get that kid to school and back home. That's why the state has always been very open to letting the kids use alternative methods to get a high school education. It is possible in Wyoming to never attend class in a public high school and still get a diploma from that school. I've learned that other states are the same way.
Last night I saw a commercial for a program featuring web based Public School Education from home. This got my interest and I learned that this is a fast growing trend in American education. Apparently parents are fleeing the physical public schools. I find this intriguing. It's not just the creationists and religious folks that want out of the system. The trend is big enough now that companies are making money offering a "public school" in a virtual environment.
I researched this a bit and it seems that these companies can, at least in some states, collect the $3,000 to $6,000 per year in public funds for "teaching" the kids with online facilitators so long as they are state certified teachers and use the state approved curriculum. When the kid finishes the self paced program, he receives a public school diploma from the state in which he lives. In most cases the diploma is issued by the school district that the kid lived in, just as if the child had attended 4 years of school.
This isn't just a Wyoming program. It's available in 38 states. It happens to be available here but our local district has its own remote learning program, set up originally for ranch kids but anyone can use it.
I'm sure the companies doing this are making a profit. Which means that they have to have customers. From what I can tell, they have lots of them. How bad have American schools gotten that parents are willing to give up the built in babysitter system in order to get the kids a functional education?