The Chinese coronavirus is impacting every aspect of American life, with forced quarantines and business closures occurring nationwide.
And after government schools began closing in state after state, parents started to spend more time with their children.
And now teach union bosses are petrified this could be the end for them.
In state after state, as the Chinese coronavirus spreads and the death toll rises, stricter actions are being taken to slow down the spread of the virus.
In many states this has meant the closing of all government schools, either for a few weeks, or for the entire school year.
Hundreds of thousands of school aged children are now stuck at home with either no school, or some online learning.
Teachers are finding new ways to earn a living or are earning extra income while the schools pay them though there is no teaching being done.
And parents are spending more time than ever with their children, in many cases working with them or even learning how to homeschool.
The initial reactions are mixed, but an overriding theme seems to be that this homeschooling stuff isn’t so bad after all.
Unfortunately for teacher union bosses and government schools in general this could be a bad outcome.
Homeschooling, like any form of learning and teaching, has its challenges. And this is especially when families are forced into it with little or no warning.
But many families are already finding out that the benefits of homeschooling far outweigh the costs. Many experts expect the number of permanent homeschoolers to rise as a result.
This of course means the number of children in government schools will decrease. By how much, no one is certain, but one thing is certain; the less students in the public schools, the less power the teacher unions will have.
The push for government control of education began in the 1830s when a group of reformers decided the state’s involvement was needed to ensure children from all walks of life got a better, and more uniform education.
They argued that a centrally planned and government-controlled system of taxpayer funded schools would be superior to the private, independent, and home schools that existed.
These early government school pioneers promised that taking schooling away from parents and local communities would result in better teaching methods, more centralized and unified lessons, greater efficiency, and even predicted a better nation.
One of these pioneers, Horace Mann even predicted that if public schools were widely adopted and given enough time to work, “nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete.”
These goals, of course, didn’t work out. But unfortunately for the American people they were successful in forever linking the public-school system to “learning” in most Americans’ minds.
Just a quick look at literacy rates shows the damage that has been done by government control of and union boss command of the school system.
In 1840, before compulsory public schools existed, literacy rates in the United States were about 90 percent.
They have steadily decreased year after year.
Today, according to the Literacy Project, 45 million Americans are functionally illiterate, unable to read above a 5th-grade level and half of all adults can’t read a book at even an 8th-grade level.
And in states with the strictest government control it’s even worse. In California for example, 25 percent of the state’s 6 million students are functionally illiterate.
They say every cloud has a silver lining. Maybe the silver lining to the Chinese coronavirus will be a return to private, locally controlled schools. Or better yet, a resurgence in homeschooling.