There was one ultra-brief reference to a religion factor — in the homeschooling past — in a big block of summary material in this newsy AP report. Here is that byte of information, in context:
Once a relatively rare practice chosen most often for reasons related to instruction on religion, homeschooling grew rapidly in popularity following the turn of the century before leveled off at around 3.3%, or about 2 million students, in the years before the pandemic, according to the Census. Surveys have indicated factors including dissatisfaction with neighborhood schools, concerns about school environment and the appeal of customizing an education.
In the absence of federal guidelines, there is little uniformity in reporting requirements. Some states, including Connecticut and Nevada, require little or no information from parents, while New York, Massachusetts and some others require parents to submit instruction plans and comply with assessment rules.
The new surge in homeschooling numbers has led state legislatures around the country to consider measures either to ease regulations on homeschool families or impose new ones — debates have gone on for years. Proponents of more oversight point to the potential for undetected cases of child abuse and neglect while others argue for less in the name of parental rights.
There are some phrases in there worthy of exploration, such as “concerns about school environment” and some school critics arguing for fewer government homeschooling regulations “in the name of parental rights.”
Let’s see, where there any religion angles in the parental-rights wars during those Virginia elections that rocked the Democratic Party establishment? Do a Google search for “Virginia”, “Glenn Youngkin”, “parents” and “anger” and then look for material about religion, morality and culture.
Or how about Florida? Is there anything newsworthy going on right now in the Sunshine State linked to morality, parental rights and education? Have have there been — in recent hours, days, weeks, months and years — any arguments about religion that might send a few parents heading to the exit doors at their local schools?
This AP story included another important news development that, for me, raises some questions about a large niche of religious believers. Check this out and look for one eyebrow raising stat:
Black families make up many of the homeschool converts. The proportion of Black families homeschooling their children increased by five times, from 3.3% to 16.1%, from spring 2020 to the fall, while the proportion about doubled across other groups, according to U.S. Census surveys.
OK, I’ll ask. Was this stunning surge in Black homeschooling seen, to some large degree, among families that frequent church pews? A call to a few Black megachurches might yield information. I would also call and see if the National Home School Association has seen a rise in calls from Black churches and even denominations such as the Church of God in Christ.
In conclusion, almost anytime Americans start arguing about hot-button topics like sexuality, parental rights, race and school safety (with “safety” broadly defined) you will almost certainly run into religious issues and religious believers.
Maybe this AP story needed more than five or six words of content about religion, if the goal was to look at the motivations and actions of parents turning to homeschooling.
Enjoy the podcast and, please, pass it along to others.
FIRST IMAGE: “Connecting the dots” graphic at the business website Comptia.org.