Government programs for public school funding fall into two main categories:
Federal Aid to Local Unit School Districts
Federal Aid to Local Unit School Districts, which means that funds come from the federal government and are distributed according to a complex formula based on a number of factors. The majority of states require local districts to offer basic education, such as first grade reading and math, in their schools. This includes elementary and secondary education, although some states allow for supplemental instruction, like tutoring, for those who can’t afford it.
State-level programs offer a wide variety of assistance to low-income families. Some states require parents to have children to be enrolled in a public school, while others provide school funding directly to the local school district.
While many argue about which is better, the reality is that all public school funding, including home schooling or charter schools, depends upon a complex and somewhat contradictory system of funding. Most states have differing school funding formulas, and in the end each public school district will have to make an educated decision regarding what’s best for his or her community.
Now, some people would question whether or not parents should be allowed to send their children to private schools, since the children of local public school districts are struggling. If only the local school districts would be forced to provide adequate funding, this argument might be valid.
How Home Schooling Can Affect Public Funding
However, it doesn’t take an expert in economics to realize that if more people, including parents, did homeschool, the public school system would never be able to continue operation. This is because any school, public or private, requires resources, both financial and human, in order to operate properly.
We are fortunate, however, because we live in a country where there are so many private schools available to all, but many school districts have been known to support certain types of public education. For example, many wealthy neighborhoods prefer private schooling over a public school, because they can get the best teachers and the best schooling, which result in a less successful student body. You can only dream about the system of selective education in the small town of rural New England.
As a result, we must also consider how to ensure that all schools receive the same kind of resources from the local school district. If there are higher standards than what is required by the state, then the public school will always be more expensive. That means that, ultimately, parents must ask themselves if their kids deserve to be in the public school system.
Even though a public school system may charge more for supplies, a neighborhood school with a greater demand for extra curricular activities may require the same. While this may sound absurd, we have to ask ourselves, should our state system of funding public education be so different than the funding provided to homeschoolers?
It is the responsibility of a parent to keep the public school district in check, but do homeschoolers have the right to be treated differently than public school kids? If so, what is the difference between a homeschooler and a public school student?
Parents must be able to explain to the state that their homeschooling experience is not just any other public school experience, and that the environment is different than that of public schools. When parents’ rights are threatened by the state, how can the state then protect the interests of the school system?
At this point, if the schools are backed into a corner and forced to close, the only one who wins is the homeschooling parents. Only in this way can the public school system survive.