Why do parents remove their children from public schools? Why do they switch to homeschooling, private, or charter schools? What makes them believe that technology is the answer to their child’s problems? Sometimes, it’s simply because they prefer other settings, and they have no complaints about public schooling.
But parents who remove their children from public school, could have concerns about public schools and teachers.
This is exactly what billionaires who support choice and charters want. They hope to convince parents that public schools fail. They want to privatize public schools. Many of the reforms that they’ve put in place due to their wealth and influence, cause the changes that drive parents out of public schools.
It’s imperative that we listen to why parents leave public schools. We must try to understand their needs when it comes to their children.
It’s also important to remember, that most parents still prefer their local public school more than other settings. Ninety percent of America’s students attend public schools.
Because public schools should reach out to all students, I reviewed the literature and social media to find complaints. Here is what I found.
Parents who remove their children from public school, often feel deprived of services they believe their children should have in order to thrive. Their child has been identified with some type of exceptionality. Students with dyslexia, autism, learning disabilities, behavioral difficulties, gifted students or a combination of exceptionalities have parents who sometimes are unhappy with services, or the lack of services, for their student.
This is troubling because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (once PL 94-142) should involve Individual Educational Plans that parents approve of and instruction that addresses the needs of their children.
Some states and school districts have intentionally denied students their rights. Texas is a good example of this, instituting caps on the number of students they permitted to have services, but other states, like Michigan, also fail students with exceptional needs.
Here are complaints from parents.
- Students don’t get the reading instruction they need.
- Teachers are not prepared to teach exceptionalities.
- There’s little assistance in inclusion classes.
- IEPs are inadequate.
- A child is labeled or mislabeled.
- Class sizes are large.
- There’s bullying.
- Children might not make enough improvements.
- Resource classes are not helpful.
- Some believe specific reading programs should be used.
- Common Core troubles parents.
- There’s fear of online data collection.
- Parents worry about technology.
- The school denies a child inclusion.
- There isn’t enough phonics.
- Some believe online classes are better.
- Charter schools might appear more flexible.
- Public schools look like they cater to college-bound students.
- There’s fear children won’t get the skills they need to attend college.
- Some worry their student won’t get a real diploma.
- What happens after high school graduation?
- Do public schools value their child’s abilities?
- Too many tests are given and students feel punished.
- The school atmosphere is negative.
- There are few electives.
- There’s little art or music.
- Staff are not friendly or helpful.
- The building is old and overcrowded.
- Teachers do not address the needs of their student.
- Students do not receive the attention they need.
- Complaints take too long to resolve, and parents can’t afford legal representation.
If I have neglected some, parents, feel free to comment.
Mostly, these complaints involve problems that could be solved with several possible solutions to make schools more welcoming.
- Lower class sizes so students get better individual attention.
- There needs to be less testing.
- End the collection of unnecessary online collection of personal data.
- Online programs in school should be understood and approved of by parents.
- Improve teacher ed. programs, and ensure that online programs are held accountable.
- The arts and other electives need to be a part of the curriculum.
- Decently fund special education.
- Support general and special education teachers.
- Listen to parents and be sensitive to their needs.
Parents must find the best placement for their child, and sometimes they believe that means going outside public education.
Charter school selection remains worrisome, because many charters aren’t always what they seem. Charters might make promises that they’re not able to deliver, but by the time a student and their parent realize this, it’s too late. And many private schools don’t accept students with disabilities, or they are not rated well.
It’s also concerning that while many students from charter schools graduate, they fail to go on and graduate from college. These concerns come from charter groups who want to better those statistics.
We live in difficult and challenging times. Public school officials must try to understand why parents reject public schooling, and try their best to remedy the situation. Many politicians never liked PL-94-142, and still dislike IDEA and spending money on students with disabilities.
This falls into reform plans. Deny parents services for their students, and drive them to charters, private or parochial schools. Few of these schools provide the services students need. And parents will give up what few rights they have under IDEA.
We need to provide services promised under the law, for our students with special needs. There’s a reason for IDEA. Schools must address the needs of all students!