Education Disruption

Education Disruption

Education Disruption

middle school charter school

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted many things here in America. As every parent knows, one of the major disruptions took place in the realm of education. News has been coming out that among the disruptions in education has been the number of parents choosing to homeschool their kids. Now, we’re not talking about the quasi-homeschooling that all kids experienced when their schools closed and all the kids went to Zoom School. We’re talking about folks who have decided to unenroll their students from public or private school and teach their children themselves, most using a curriculum and resources crafted for homeschooling.

In March, the Census Bureau released results of their Household Pulse Survey. The Survey said…

By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12). A clarification was added to the school enrollment question to make sure households were reporting true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school.

That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year. 

In Georgia, the Survey additionally reported that a staggering 16% of households were homeschooling last fall. This is also the number of African-American households homeschooling nationwide (up from 3% pre-pandemic!). It will be interesting to see if data for the 2021-2022 school year reflects a return to public and private schools as school buildings reopen, or if these parents decide to continue homeschooling.

The reasons people choose homeschooling vary. Joyce Burgess of the National Black Homeschool Association explains why some African-Americans are choosing to homeschool: 

They’re making these conclusions that peer pressure, they don’t have to be bothered with unnecessary racism, they don’t have to be bothered with bullying, they don’t have to be bothered with negative peer pressure. Some parents have chosen to bring their children home because the virtual setting, some parents just aren’t able to navigate that,” said Burgess.

A recent guest post in Bari Weiss’ Substack provides further insight to why some parents chose homeschooling 

When the covid lockdowns hit in March 2020 — in a matter of a few weeks, some 124,000 public and private schools with 55.1 million students shut down  American families suddenly had to adjust to school-via-screen.

The parents weren’t just upset about all the screen time their kids were logging. They were upset about what they saw on those screens. For the first time, millions of moms and dads could watch, in real time, their children’s teachers teaching.

It was a moment of “parent empowerment,” said Kerry McDonald, a senior fellow at the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education. That’s one way to put it. 

Here’s another: “My kindergartener was getting maybe twenty minutes of instruction per day,” said Pauline, a house cleaner in Durham, North Carolina, who prefers using only her middle name to stay anonymous. 

Pauline and her child lasted about two weeks in remote school before she decided it was a waste of everyone’s time. After a summer of lockdown, Pauline opted for a “homeschool co-op” with four other families. She was planning to send her now seven-year-old back to public school this year. “Being isolated made my kid miserable,” she said. “And I like public school. I was excited to send my kid there.”

The Delta variant, combined with her husband’s asthma, and the fact that there is no vaccine requirement for teachers in her district threw a wrench in that plan. What started as a short-term solution has morphed into a new normal. 

As my colleague Jamie Lord and I recently discussed, this demonstrates the real beauty of the concept of school choice: whether you want kids masked, or unmasked, have your school teach a certain curriculum or not, all parents, no matter their income status or location, should have choices in how and where their kid is educated.  

We at the Georgia Center for Opportunity will continue to fight for the right of all parents to choose the best method of educating their children. 

 

The Georgia Center for Opportunity has signed on to a letter in favor of the EQUAL Act

The Georgia Center for Opportunity has signed on to a letter in favor of the EQUAL Act

The Georgia Center for Opportunity has signed on to a letter in favor of the EQUAL Act

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The Georgia Center for Opportunity has signed on to a letter with 37 organizations across the ideological spectrum in favor of the EQUAL Act now pending in Congress.The EQUAL Act would end the federal prison sentence disparity between crack cocaine and powdered cocaine offenses—that is not grounded in evidence and contributes to over-incarceration, particularly within communities of color.

GCO’s take: “This important bill in Congress would correct a harmful policy put in place 35 years ago,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “A crucial part of criminal justice reform is identifying unfair and harmful laws on the books and correcting course. We urge Congress to pass this bill and restore equal justice under the law when it comes to cocaine offenses.”

 

Buzz - statement Equal Act

Eviction Moratorium Expired and the House of Representatives Left Town. What now?

Eviction Moratorium Expired and the House of Representatives Left Town. What now?

Eviction Moratorium Expired and the House of Representatives Left Town. What now?

eviction family

Late on the evening of August 3rd, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control announced it was extending its eviction moratorium for people in an area of “substantial and high transmission” of the COVID-19 virus. This was followed up by the astounding statement by President Biden that he suspected any attempt to extend the moratorium would be legally doomed even as his administration celebrated the CDC action. Nevertheless, government attorneys argued this was not an extension but rather a new order that would not be set aside by the courts. 

The Supreme Court recently ruled the original policy illegal, but allowed the original deadline of July 31st to stand to give Congress a chance to act prior to the expiration of the order, if it chose to do so. In keeping with the dysfunction we’ve seen in Congress, no legislation was passed, the moratorium expired, and the House of Representatives left town. 

Setting aside the legal questions surrounding the CDC’s eviction moratorium, many people across the nation are facing eviction now and will be again in 60 days when the moratorium expires. The Household Pulse Survey indicates 52,167 Georgians say they are very likely to be evicted and 155,302 say they are somewhat likely. These renters are overwhelmingly African-American and many of these families have children. Should all or most of these folks be evicted, it would be an unimaginable tragedy.

Despite $46.6 billion in federal emergency rental assistance passed into law last December and March,  relatively little money has made it into the hands of people who need it. According to a press release from the U.S. Treasury, nationally only $1.5 billion was delivered to eligible households in June, which exceeded the amount delivered “for all three previous reporting periods combined.” That’s a paltry 3.2% of the funds distributed in six months.

The situation in Georgia is not much better, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:“As of July 20, only about 6% of the $710 million that Georgia and select local governments received in federal aid had gone to households at risk of eviction or behind on rent.”

 The U.S. Treasury is relying on state and local housing assistance agencies to reach the people in need. According to a count by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are 484 state and local programs charged with determining eligibility and dispensing the benefits nationwide.

The Treasury fanned out responsibility to counties and cities with populations over 200,000 plus state governments. Each governmental unit set up their own system for administering the program funds, which can be by the state agencies or county governments themselves, or through public housing authorities or non-profits charitable organizations.

In Georgia, for example, responsibility fell to 13 governmental units: Atlanta City, Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Forsyth County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Hall County, Henry County, and the State Department of Community Affairs. 

These governmental units structured their responses differently, creating new administrative structures or funneling the money through non-profits that were quickly overwhelmed. Many people report complicated paperwork and some landlords have refused to take partial payments on back due rent.

It appears unlikely the situation for tenants will improve much before the extended eviction moratorium expires in 60 days. And we haven’t touched on the millions of small landlords who are behind on mortgage payments, taxes, and other liabilities. Sadly, this situation has the markings of a slow-moving economic and humanitarian disaster.

 

 

What can be done? 

For the long term, the solution is clear. The entire fiasco could have been avoided if our vision of a fully integrated eligibility system were in place. Georgia is partially there with the Georgia Gateway that coordinates applications for food stamps, Medical assistance, child care, and two other programs. Rental assistance also needs to be part of the Gateway.

Moving forward, Georgia should continue to add additional safety net programs to its Gateway unified eligibility system. Federal housing programs are not currently part of the system. Adding these programs would allow for a much swifter determination of eligibility and distribution of emergency money in times like these. 

Clearly, governments must speed up the distribution of aid money to tenants and landlords. Governments can also extend the same grace to landlords they are demanding landlords extend to tenants. Additionally, Congress should resist the urge to extend enhanced unemployment benefits and remove other disincentives to work such as the exacerbated benefit cliffs found in the emergency SNAP benefits. The problem of looming evictions will only continue to grow until more people return to work and are able to pay rent on their own. 

 

 

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Voted to Cut Charter Schools Program Funding

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Voted to Cut Charter Schools Program Funding

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Voted to Cut Charter Schools Program Funding

middle school charter school

Lawmakers Stifle Learning 

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee recently voted to cut $40 million from the federal Charter Schools Program, in addition to placing new burdensome restrictions on how charter schools operate. In response, the Georgia Center for Opportunity has signed on to a letter—along with 70 other organizations—urging Congress to restore the funding.

 

Buzz media statement