Education

Alternatives to Public School Becoming More Attractive

Written by Nicholas Vetrisek

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, families are now using alternate methods of education, such as virtual schooling. As a result of this, one thought is consistently coming to mind: “we’re really not missing much.”

Since the concept was adopted out of necessity, everyone has at least seen what alternative education looks like. As a result, many parents will inevitably take their children’s education into their own hands and away from the state. Online education will become more popular and since it’s currently required and people are now used to it, the prior stigma will have largely evaporated.

Education officials claim that alternatives like online learning, charter schools, and homeschooling give students inferior education. Even if that was true—it’s not—it wrongly assumes that public schools are actually an effective way of teaching students.

The value of a public school education is vastly overrated, generally speaking. Seeing most 18-year-olds leaving high school, it’s a serious question if they actually did learn anything. This is especially the case when compared to just about any private school, as the difference is laughable.

Even aside from the anecdotal evidence of seeing graduates without a clue about what they are doing, the data backs this up as well. Private schools and homeschooling blow public school test scores out of the water, and it isn’t even close. Furthermore, like all government programs, the public school system is a massive money hole with no real discernible results. Test scores have remained stagnant for 50 years despite more and more money being poured into public education.

Opponents of alternative learning methods claim that you have to be rich to get a decent education. Once again, even if that were true—it’s not—the same can be said about public schools. Take San Diego, for example. If you are one of those lucky souls that could get into Canyon Crest, a school that receives large amounts of funding due to high property value in the neighborhood, then maybe public school isn’t so bad, but everyone else feels differently. Ask anyone that went to Lincoln or Madison High School whether they feel that they truly received a worthwhile education. The answer is probably a resounding no. 

The economist Thomas Sowell has frequently spoken about social policy intellectuals and how they respond to data. He said that if you show them that public school has poor results, they will not ask “what is the problem and how can we fix it?” Instead, they will argue that “if this is what happened as a result of public school, imagine what would have happened had it not been there.” This type of problem avoidance and refusal to acknowledge the root cause is the reason why the system isn’t improving.

Traditional public schooling, like traditional universities, are quickly becoming a relic of the past. They are the cavalry charge on the western front of World War I, an archaic practice cut down by new technology.

For any parents reading, you should take the initiative and get ahead of the curve. The coronavirus kickstarted an inevitable chain of events and you should find a new way to educate your kids before the bottom falls out for public education.