By Guy Page
Applications to home school Vermont children are up by an estimated 75% over this time last year, an aide to Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) Secretary Daniel French said Tuesday.
“Last year by 7/15 we had about 900 applications. As of 7/15/2020, we have about 1,600,” AOE Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs Ted Fisher said.
On June 17, AOE issued Health Guidance for Vermont Schools, a 25-page document outlining stringent testing, hygiene, social distancing, and masking requirements. In particular, all students, staff and visiting parents will be required to wear masks on school buses and inside school buildings: “All staff and students are required to wear facial coverings while in the building, as well as outside where physical distancing cannot be maintained. … Adults doing drop-off and pick-up should wear facial coverings.”
Home schooling has long been popular among parents whose educational, societal or religious views make them wary of public schools. However, stringent new Covid-19 guidelines apparently have pushed hundreds more Vermont parents to consider the home schooling option.
The AOE oversees home study. Aug. 1 is the AOE deadline for the Minimum Course of Study (MCOS) home study application. Home study information and application can be viewed on the AOE website.
A former Vermont state senator who is an outspoken opponent of aggressively secular, socialist curriculum in the public school system is recommending concerned parents check out a website called Public School Exit.
“Parents act like they have no choice, but the reality is there are lots of options,” former Sen. Mark Shepard (R-Bennington) posted on Facebook today. “The issue is not a lack of choice, but misplaced priorities. If your children are a top priority, you will not send them to be educated for 13 years in schools that operate with wrong-headed curriculum. The curriculum problems are well documented for decades now, only wilful ignorance can explain why people do not know.”
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