Fueling the death spiral

Glenn Reynolds notes that homeschools are putting one of America’s most enervating evils at risk, the public school:

For “notoriously inadequate” public school systems, as I argue in a new “Broadside” from Encounter Books, The K-12 Implosion, the risk is that the outflow of kids will turn from a trickle into a flood. At some point, it’s a death-spiral: As kids (often the best students) leave because schools are “notoriously inadequate,” the schools become even more notoriously inadequate, and funding — which is computed on a per-pupil basis — dries up. This, of course, encourages more parents to move their kids elsewhere, in a vicious cycle.

Does this mean the end of public education? No. But it does mean that the old model — which dates to the 19th Century, when schools were explicitly compared to factories — is at risk. Smarter educators will start thinking about how to update a 19th Century product to suit 21st Century realities. Less-smart educators will hunker down and fight change tooth and nail.

Who will win out in the end? Well, how many 19th Century business models do you see flourishing, here in the 21st?

The risk is to be embraced with enthusiasm.  I’ve been arguing for years that the very concept of “school” is completely and utterly outdated.  It’s inefficient, ineffective, and intellectually crippling.  Although there are many ominous signs on the horizon, there are a few bright rays of light shining as well, and one of them is the continued rapid growth of parents deciding to homeschool their children.