I was recently involved in a discussion with educators online related to the Pearson testing spying debacle (articles here, here, and here). I brought up that I thought testing had done more to accelerate the movement toward homeschooling than anything else I had witnessed in the past twenty years. Multiple teachers jumped in and said they were either already homeschooling or planned on homeschooling because there was no way they were going to subject their own children to what is currently going on in public (and, in many cases, private) schools.
One of the very experienced and savvy public school employees made this observation which I share here with her permission:
In biology, there’s a descriptor – “indicator species”. An indicator species may be unusually sensitive to environmental changes, and biologists monitor the indicator species for signs that something is amiss in the environment.
I wonder when somebody is going to notice that teachers are an indicator species. When we leave public schools with our children, people should consider that there’s something amiss.
Since I began creating learning materials to sell on Teachers Pay Teacher and my own site, I’ve interacted with hundreds of different teachers and homeschoolers. I’ve lost track of how many teachers-turned-homeschoolers I’ve met. Many. One of the current top sellers on TPT is a homeschooling mom.
My last year of teaching was when I had the epiphany that I would not want my own child to be in my classroom even though I was a very good teacher. I think even at that point God was preparing me to be a homeschooler because He knew that the gifted daughter I would eventually have eight years later would never thrive in a traditional classroom. Now I am thoroughly convinced that the pressure of testing would be completely wrong for her and our family. Like many of those teachers in the forum, there is much I loved about teaching but I could never teach in the current climate. And if I wouldn’t want to teach in it, why would I want to subject my own child to it?
When the teachers start leaving their chosen profession to homeschool their children, people need to take notice that something truly is seriously amiss. I think my TPT friend is correct that these talented, dedicated teachers who become homeschoolers are the indicator species and they are speaking loudly and clearly about the health of the educational environment.