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Education Revolutions on the Edge will become Mainstream

Homeschool Numbers Will Skyrocket

There Will Be a Revolution

The permanent homeschool population (pod and micro schooling included) will likely triple or quadruple over the next year from about 3 million up to potentially 12 million students or about 20% of all K-12 kids in America! Homeschooling would become the number two choice for families behind public school enrollment, eclipsing charter school, private school, and parochial school enrollment - a seismic reordering of a major economic sector in the United States.

At the same time, public schools are beleaguered by high teacher turnover, persistent achievement gaps, unequal distribution of resources, stagnant student performance and graduation rates, and declining parent satisfaction.

Things will change, right? Given the unprecedented upheaval in education, things have to change, right?

Well, for over a generation, on the edges of the education space, there have been amazing revolutionaries inciting change. We are not asleep at the wheel. The entrepreneurial American spirit has been alive and thriving in the education space. Subscribe to Getting Smart, Edsurge, and the Christensen Institute newsletters. Immediately, you’ll connect to an energy, an optimism, and an innovative spirit from educators who are tirelessly working towards the simple goal of better serving our children. Teachers, entrepreneurs, parents, business leaders, and philanthropists have been formulating ideas and trying them out for 20+ years (and even longer if you consider the charter school movement as a quasi-competitive agitator to the status quo).

Nationally recognized charter schools like High Tech High and Envision pioneered true project-based learning. KIPP forged ahead creating a new distinct culture of high expectations, strict scheduling, and compassionate support. Acton Academy is experimenting with an opposite approach, wherein kids largely direct their own day and even collectively formulate their school culture with minimal input from one adult guide on site.

The Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation have funneled over $1 billion into research, public charter school ventures, and teacher training programs.

The AltSchool has come and gone. Fresh and new spins on the Montessori approach have sprung up. Billions of dollars have been poured into EdTech ventures.

Yet, despite all of this innovation, money, and the best of intentions, the 50 million kids in traditional public schools, comprising 80% of our K12 population, plus the millions more in charter and parochial schools, which may not be innovating on newer learning models, are still in schools with high teacher turnover rates, persistent achievement gaps, unequal distribution of resources, stagnant student performance and graduation rates, and declining parent satisfaction.

The revolutions have remained on the edge. Something is not clicking in our society.

Why Now?

What is to say the current upheaval, due to COVID-19, will usher in foundational, core-level, massive-scale change for the 50 million American kids in public schools? How will the exploding homeschool and micro-school movement impact public schools, post-COVID? What will be different this time?

The answer is that this time, there are 2 new phenomena occurring that weren't ever occurring before and that these may be the catalysts, which trigger foundation level mass-scale change.

  1. A cultural shift in how America sees the teaching profession: As teachers start their own pods and microschools and control their own schools (and lead community schools spawned by public districts), the esteem of the teaching profession will rise to the level of doctors and lawyers. With a new reverence for and an emphasis on education, we will be propelled into the top-performing nation in the world.

  2. A new awareness of what it takes to deliver high-quality academic experiences: As most students were forced into distance learning from home for the majority of 2020, every parent in America has now witnessed what teachers do day in and day out. And parents are only corralling their own, not a full classroom of kids! We saw that the best ed-tech apps, video lectures, or LMS platforms are not the ultimate key to inspired learning. The way to drive deep learning is through a curriculum that allows students to progress at their own pace and also provides the opportunity to collaborate and solve problems collectively. For busy, under-resourced teachers, this is not always possible. And our kids are left bored and dejected from school.

Throughout history, the quality of a nation’s education system has been a function of the cultural value placed on education. Policies and practices follow culture, not the other way around.

We are at a tipping point. COVID-19 has induced a cultural shift in how we value the teaching profession and how we value creating highly stimulating academic experiences for our kids.

What will necessarily follow, backed by policy and practice, are highly valorized, well-resourced teacher-entrepreneurs delivering high-quality curriculum driving the most diverse student population on earth to the top!

This time, the education revolutions will not remain on the edge.

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