COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to the global education industry, as countries around the world shut down their brick-and-mortar schools in an effort to minimize the spread of this deadly virus. It’s estimated that upwards of 55 million US students have been displaced from their normal educational environment due to the coronavirus, which has forced both students and educators to rapidly adapt to alternative learning platforms.
Families Want Educational Options
With traditional brick-and-mortar schools being shut down, teachers and students turned to online learning to continue the educational process. This “forced” transition to online schooling has been a boon to the homeschooling industry, as millions of students and their families have now experienced the effectiveness and flexibility of virtual learning platforms.
According to a recent survey by RealClear Opinion Research, it appears that the homeschooling experience has proven to be popular with many families. The RealClear survey showed that 40% of responding families were likely to pursue homeschooling opportunities after the end of the COVID-19 lockdown. The survey also showed that 64% of the respondents support school choice and 69% support the federal Education Freedom Scholarships proposal.
Another survey that was conducted by EdChoice and Morning Consult showed similar gains in the popularity of homeschooling. According to this survey, 52% of respondents said they now have a more favorable view of homeschooling and 28% said they have a much more favorable view of homeschooling.
Education industry experts view the results of these surveys as a clear message that many students and families are frustrated with their current school options/situation. They are frustrated by the fact that their traditional brick-and-mortar schools have been closed for months, and that when they eventually reopen, they will look completely different due to the new guidelines and protocols implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a look at some of these proposed guidelines, which are focused on a singular premise, which is to keep students separated:
- Desks spaced six feet apart
- Staggered attendance
- Masks and other protective gear
- Plexiglas barriers
- Distancing marks on playgrounds
The implementation of the above guidelines, and others like them, will result in a learning environment that is unlike anything students and families have ever experienced. When student safety concerns are taken into consideration along with the radically new and different school environment, its easy to see why homeschooling has become such a popular education option for students and their families.
The Calls for Reform Grow Louder
As the frustration levels of students and families grow, so do the calls for change. John Schilling, President of the American Federation of Children, recently spoke out on behalf of the frustrated when he stated the following
“This is the time for leadership and for desperately needed bold reforms to be implemented across our K-12 education system. Millions of families are seeing the inadequacies of school districts that are too inflexible. We owe it to our nation’s families and students to give them more flexibility and additional educational options. Moreover, policymakers owe it to the taxpayers who are footing the $800 billion K-12 education bill to maximize their investment by ensuring every child has access to quality education and outcomes are improved across the board.”
It’s apparent that students and families want change. They want access to alternative educational options such as homeschooling, online schools, and public charter schools, all of which have proven to be effective learning platforms. While the effects of COVID-19 have been devastating, a potential silver lining may be its impact on the future of education, and, more importantly, the educational options that are made available to students and families.
Since 2004, Global Student Network has been a leader in providing innovative online curriculum to homeschooling families and partnering schools throughout the world. GSN offers a wide range of online curriculum options. We have over 2000 course offerings including Honors, AP®, World Languages, and Career and Technical Education courses. Our program has been used by homeschool families as well as public, private, and charter schools, both nationally and internationally. Learn more about or try a demo of GSN’s curriculum here: https://globalstudentnetwork.com/curriculum