Faced with growing problems in the public school system (falling test scores, over-crowded classrooms, etc.,) NEA officials continue to gloss over the issues and encourage parents and teachers to "suck it up and deal." Rather than admitting and working to solve the problems that no one argues actually exist, the NEA just keeps chanting a mantra that goes something like this:
"As bad as the schools are, they're still better than homeschooling."
A recent mydesert.com post, As Class Sizes Rise, So Does Homeschooling, provides a mixed bag of opinions concerning public schools and homeschooling. The article addresses the problems facing public schools, namely growing class sizes, and suggests that a growing number of parents are choosing to homeschool in order to escape the problems that school officials seem unable to solve. While generally speaking, the post manages to provide a mostly positive view of homeschooling and homeschoolers, the NEA senior policy analyst that was interviewed for the article makes a typical "head-in-the-sand" statement that reveals the disconnect that exists between public school officials and public school parents' growing dissatisfaction with the status quo.
“The NEA believes home- schooling lacks regular interaction with caring, trained professional educators, which we believe greatly aids a child's social, emotional and intellectual development,” said Bob Tate, a senior policy analyst with the NEA. “(Home-schooling) provides no assurance of regular face-to-face interaction with peers in the structured setting of a school, which we believe is an important part of a child's development that cannot be fully realized through online or informal neighborhood interactions,” he added.
The assertions of public school officials that interaction with "trained professionals" is more important for a child's social, emotional, and intellectual development than interaction with his own parents is downright insulting. And their continual insistence on the necessity of school-based socialization is laughable. Their constant harping on these two factors in light of growing evidence to the contrary (see studies in linked article,) proves both their unwillingness to address the real issues that face their schools and a complete lack of concern for the needs of the students and families they are paid to serve.
There is an adage that expresses the belief that "blowing out someone else's candle won't make your candle burn brighter." The NEA and many local unions and school administrators have long relied on the practice of attempting to blow out the shining candle of homeschooling in an attempt to brighten the glow of their own fading light. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Parents aren't being fooled and increasingly, they are giving up on the schools. They can see beyond the illusion. As a growing chasm develops between the success of schools and the success of their homeschool counterparts, parents are waking up to the reality that the mantra doesn't ring true...simply chanting it doesn't make it so.
Parents are beginning to demand solutions from our nation's school administrators and from the unions that control the money. And until the self-proclaimed experts of "the system" stop ranting about the supposed short-comings of the competition and begin to own up to their own significant problems AND offer real solutions, the defection will continue.