Diary

Government 'Remote Education' Orders Have Been Driving People to the Private Schools

(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Or at least that’s happening for those who can afford it.

The private religious schools have been fighting Governor Andy Beshear’s (D-KY) orders to close; the public school teachers’ unions are fighting to keep the schools closed . . . at least as long as they are still getting paid. The only surprise to me is that the enrollment decreases are so small.

Think about this: these aren’t parents just looking for daycare. Enrolling your kids in private school costs serious money. Home schooling takes time out of your day that could be spent earning money, and once you start home schooling, it’s not that easy to say, well, the public schools just reopened, so I can send my kids back there.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

COVID-19 cutting school enrollment? Hundreds of kids leaving Fayette schools.

By Valarie Honeycutt Spears | December 29, 2020 | 10:51 AM EST

Morgan Dezarn is moving her first grade daughter in January from Fayette County Public Schools to private school. She is among hundreds of Lexington parents leaving the district during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our daughter missed several months of kindergarten when schools closed in March and I just do not have faith in FCPS at this point to put a plan in place that gets kids back to school five days per week,” Dezarn said. School district officials have said they won’t return to widespread in-person learning, which shut down in March, before Jan. 11. Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that no Kentucky school in a critical “red zone” county resume in-person classes before Jan. 11.

As we have previously noted, the Supreme Court denied the private religious schools the injunction they requested, stating that the Governor’s executive order was set to expire on January 4th anyway, and there was “no indication that it will be renewed.”

Uhhh, yes, there is, and was at the time, such an indication, as the Governor ‘recommended,’ but did not actually order, schools to remain closed for another week, until January 11th. The Governor may be vindictive and venal, but he isn’t stupid: he knows that he can make it an order on Saturday, January 2nd, and it would once again force the private schools closed. The Supreme Court said that, if the Governor renewed his order, they could appeal once again, saying:

Under all of the circumstances, especially the timing and the impending expiration of the Order, we deny the application without prejudice to the applicants or other parties seeking a new preliminary injunction if the Governor issues a school-closing order that applies in the new year.

That, of course, just costs more time and money, and allows the Governor to keep denying the people’s constitutional rights. Back to the Herald-Leader original:

Numbers obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act show that after growing in all but one of the last six years, Fayette County Public Schools has seen a decrease in enrollment in the fall semester of 2020 that officials are attributing to COVID-19.

Enrollment dropped from Dec. 1, 2019, to December 1, 2020, by 730 students, from 41, 251 to to 40,521.

With the exception of the 2017-18 school year, when Kentucky’s kindergarten entry date changed from Oct. 1 to Aug. 1, enrollment in Fayette County grew every school year since at least 2014-15. . . .

What is happening in Lexington is similar to a national trend. The Denver Post reported recently that public schools enrollment in that state is down for the first time in 30 years.

Enrollment in Missouri and North Carolina for example, are down 3 percent to 5 percent. “At New York City Public Schools, the country’s largest district, 31,000 fewer students — a 3.4 percent drop — are on rosters this year, according to Chalkbeat.” And in a survey of more than 60 districts, NPR found the average kindergarten enrollment dropped by 16 percent, the Post reported.

Remember: taking your children out of the public schools does not mean you get to stop paying property or other taxes to support the public schools. Mrs Dezarn, from the original story, will still be paying taxes to support the public schools, while, according to Private School Review, the average private elementary school tuition in Lexington is $9,216.

That’s not cheap. With a median household income of $54,896, the median tuition rate works out to be 16.8% of that, which makes the private school option out of reach for most Lexington families.

‘Remote education’ has been going on since the middle of last March. With Governor Beshear’s orders, as they currently stand — and I would be more surprised if he didn’t extend them than if he did — that’s eight solid months out of a ten month school year, months that have basically been lost, as student failures in schools have doubled and even tripled. And with Anthony Fauxi Fauci, the grossly overhyped director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, having claimed that even with the vaccines, if the coming vaccination campaign goes well, we could approach herd immunity by summer’s end and “normality that is close to where we were before” by the end of 2021, there’s no guarantee that the public schools will open for in-person classes for the rest of the current school year.

COVID-19 is serious, and it can be fatal, but it is not the only serious thing out there. Losing an entire year of education is also serious, and that is what our oh-so-very-concerned governors have cost us.
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