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Common Core Fallout: Homeschooling Rates Are Rising

Despite the (at times) acrimonious debate surrounding Common Core, the federal government’s national solution to improving education outcomes, it’s worth noting that the controversial program is drawing some level of bipartisan support.

Most notably, perhaps, presumptive 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush is very much in favor of it, as are a number of other prominent Republicans. Nevertheless, as Fox News reports, many parents are outraged and alarmed by Common Core, which they perceive is creating a progressive-friendly and impossible-to-understand new curriculum. As a result, it seems, they’re pulling their kids out of public schools in droves:

The home-schooling boom is getting a new push due to opposition to Common Core, the controversial national education standard that some parents’ claim is using their children’s public school lessons to push a political agenda, according to critics of the Washington-backed curriculum.

North Carolina, already a home-schooling hotbed, saw a 14 percent rise last year in the number of students being educated at home, according to a report from Heartlander Magazine. Similar increases have been seen in Virginia, California and New York, according to education activists. “If you look at national, and even state polls, you can see that the more familiar people become with Common Core, the more they dislike it,” Bob Lubke, a senior policy analyst for the North Carolina-based Civitas Institute, told “They feel like they are losing control of what their kids are learning.”

Be that as it may, North Carolina’s state government is brushing away concerns that the state’s enrollment rates are plummeting:

“We have experienced a statewide increase in enrollment over the past few years,” Vanessa Jeter, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, told “Since 2012-13, our statewide enrollment has increased by 27,512 students.”

In other words, the rise in homeschooling practices is, at least for now, having a negligible impact on enrollment rates. Nonetheless, there is no denying that homeschooling has become an increasingly viable option for many families. And this isn’t just because of Common Core, either. There are many reasons why parents choose to educate their children in the home -- greater flexibility, autonomy, and oversight to name just a few -- and therefore it should be a choice left to individuals, not the state.

So while it seems evident that Common Core is, in some instances, the final straw for some parents, let's also not forget that home schooling has been popular for many, many years. And thus, one assumes, it will only continue to be, especially as concerns about Common Core grow and become more visible over time.

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