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 FoxNews.com. “They feel like they are losing control of what their kids are learning.”
An official for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, which oversees the state’s public schools, says that the uptick in home-school enrollment has had no negative effect. In fact they say it is the opposite.
“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 FoxNews.com. “Since 2012-13, our statewide enrollment has increaased by 27,512 students.”
But the rise in homeschooling is continuing to grow, and the rollout this fall of Common Core is giving it added momentum, according to Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum.
“The uptick in homeschooling has become a trend across the nation over the past couple of years, even in states like New York and California,” Wright said. “Americans have rejected the Common Core initiative because they are tired of unaccountable federal bureaucracy, especially when it comes to their child’s education, and because they are seeing first-hand the poor quality and content of the Standards that are meant to prepare children for the workforce instead of giving them a well-rounded, superior education.”
Proponents of homeschooling say nearly 2 million students are being homeschooled nationwide.
“It’s not surprising that we are seeing a lot of this as of late,” William Estrada, director of federal relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, said. “When it comes to Common Core, we see a hastening by parents. For them, it’s the final straw after many concerns about the education of their children.”
“There’s been a battle for a long time, where parents feel that they do not have enough of a say when it comes to their child’s education,” he added.
Although 46 states initially signed on to all or part of Common Core, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have repealed it and similar movements are under way in Missouri, North Carolina and Louisiana. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia never signed on. Most of the participating states implemented the standards at the beginning of the current school year. In addition to objecting to national control over curriculum, critics have complained that a creeping left-wing agenda has made its way into Common Core approved curriculum, including textbooks and lesson plans designed to conform to the standards.
Tar Heel state lawmakers have formed the Academic Standards Review Commission, which intends to replace the Common Core standards with an alternative plan should the state repeal its participation. But even if states such as North Carolina scrap Common Core, skeptical parent groups may not be satisfied. In Indiana and Oklahoma, parents groups have accused the states of simply replacing the national standard with a similar one, under a different name and using the same lesson plans.