the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, according to Kerry McDonald is a Senior Contributor for Intellectual Takeout , ” Parents are fed up. As mass schooling becomes more restrictive, more standardized and more far-reaching into a child’s young life, many parents are choosing alternatives. Increasingly, these parents are reclaiming their child’s education and are refocusing learning around children, family, and community in several different ways.”
It started as a trickle but now over two million U.S. children will be avoiding the school bus altogether in favor of homeschooling, an educational choice that has accelerated in recent years among both liberal and conservative families.
On top of homeschooling, an additional two million children will be educated this fall in charter schools. According to recent U.S. Department of Education data, the number of students currently enrolled in charter schools increased from 0.9 million in 2004 to 2.7 million in 2014, while the number of children enrolled in traditional public schools declined by 0.4 million during that same period. Taxpayer-funded but administered by predominantly private educational organizations, charter schools allow parents flexibility in choosing a school that is better aligned with their expectations and their child’s needs. Charter schools are often exempt from district policies and collective bargaining agreements that can halt innovation and experimentation, allowing them more instructional and organizational freedom. Demand for charter schools often outweighs current supply, with statewide charter caps, admissions lotteries, and long waiting lists leaving many parents discouraged and angry.
When Gov. Chris Christie leaves office , one of his clear legacies will be the growth of charter schools in New Jersey, with school enrollment more than doubling in his eight years in office.In July , his administration finished the job, announcing the final approval of five more schools to open this fall. That brings to 89 the number of charters that will be open when Christie steps down in January.
There will be close to 50,000 students enrolled in charters this fall, according to the state, up from less than 25,000 when he took office. More than 56,000 seats will be authorized with the latest approvals.
Advancing technology has also played a key roll . As online learning improves and expands, more parents are choosing virtual schools for their children over traditional public schools. Data from the non-profit organization, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, find that 310,000 young people in grades kindergarten through 12th grade participated in fully online programming in 2013, up from 200,000 in 2010. In addition to homeschoolers, charter school students, and virtual learners, more than four million children will avoid a traditional district school this fall to attend a U.S. private school.