Liquidating Public Schools

Email of the Day:

I just read that Corporate America is trying to liquidate public school. My question is what’s that going to do to our homeschool laws, compulsory laws, truancy laws…


What’s happening to make journalists and pundits theorize that corporate America is doing this is twofold: 1) Failing schools are being defunded and 2) The schools that are coming in to replace them are variations of charter schools and magnet schools that are running (at least partially) on private funding. (In most cases, they are also receiving the public funds that the school that just closed would have received). Education is a huge money maker for curriculum companies and others who supply goods, and now services, to public schools.

I say all of that to provide some framework for the answer to the question about how that impacts homeschoolers. In general, it doesn’t. The underlying incentive for these companies is access to a captive audience. If the folks I’m selling my product or service to have to “buy” it, that’s a good thing for me as a company. Therefore, I’m not about to upset the compulsory attendance apple cart — because that’s how I make my money as a company.

Unless a company were really really really greedy, I can’t see them coming after homeschoolers by messing with our laws — we’re growing, sure — but we’re still only about 2.83% of the population. We’re also available in the middle of the day in the middle of the week to go march on Olympia. So if our legislators decided that they wanted to start messing with the homeschool law, we’d send out an email blast, asking you to join me in writing letters, and then we’d all show up in Olympia to testify against whatever bill was being proposed, and the tide would turn pretty quickly. Honestly — no one wants to wake the sleeping giant that is the homeschooling community — it’s better just to mostly leave us alone.

There’s one other, secondary piece: what we’ve seen in WA with the ALEs, and virtual academies that once not only welcomed, but targeted homeschoolers into their programs is a shift against allowing part time attendance. So it’s certainly possible that a privatization of local public schools could erode homeschoolers’ rights to part time attendance and/or ancillary services. That’s the more likely scenario, at least initially.

~ Jen GS, Advocacy Chair