This morning’s Wake Ed blog raises concerns about the steady drop in Wake County Public Schools market share of the county’s school-age children. According to the article, Wake County’s share shrunk from over 90 percent in the early 90s to approximately 83 percent today.
Funny. For all the talk about diversity, it’s amazing how much of the education establishment believes the concept doesn‘t apply to schools. Many public school leaders believe all children should have a public school education, and that’s that. Come to think of it, it’s hard to find many public school advocates who even support public charter schools.
When children come from so many different family backgrounds and have a variety of talents and educational needs, why are all children funneled to the same type of school? Private schools –both religious and non-religious — and parental run home schools continue to not only serve the educational needs of thousands of North Carolina children, but also save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Earlier this week, the Office of Non-Public Education reported North Carolina families educated about 81,509 students at home last year. In 1988-89, the first year the state kept records, home school enrollment was a little less than 1,400 students. Parents vote with their feet. By that measure, homeschooling is a rousing success.
Yes, Wake County Public Schools can and do offer wonderful educational opportunities for thousands of students. However, students have a variety of educational needs. More and parents are finding that their ‘child’s needs are better served elsewhere – and oftentimes, at less cost.
That Wake County’s market share of school age children is declining, is recognition of a simple fact: the one-size-fits-all delivery system of public education isn’t for everyone. Parents exercising their right to send their children to other schools – be they public, private or home schools is a good thing for parents, students and the schools involved.
Should the steady decline in the percentage of school-age children being educated in Wake County public schools be an issue? Only if you think all students should be educated in the public schools. It’s time to dispel that notion, end policies that discriminate against families who choose other educational options and work toward true educational diversity.