Weekly NewsBriefs 4/11/22 - 4/17/22

News Clip

 

Homeschooling surge continues despite schools reopening - By Carolyn Thompson, AP News

The coronavirus pandemic ushered in what may be the most rapid rise in homeschooling the U.S. has ever seen. Two years later, even after schools reopened and vaccines became widely available, many parents have chosen to continue directing their children’s educations themselves.

Homeschooling numbers this year dipped from last year’s all-time high, but are still significantly above pre-pandemic levels, according to data obtained and analyzed by The Associated Press.

Families that may have turned to homeschooling as an alternative to hastily assembled remote learning plans have stuck with it — reasons include health concerns, disagreement with school policies and a desire to keep what has worked for their children.

In 18 states that shared data through the current school year, the number of homeschooling students increased by 63% in the 2020-2021 school year, then fell by only 17% in the 2021-2022 school year.

Around 3% of U.S. students were homeschooled before the pandemic-induced surge, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rising numbers have cut into public school enrollment in ways that affect future funding and renewed debates over how closely homeschooling should be regulated. What remains unknown is whether this year’s small decrease signals a step toward pre-pandemic levels — or a sign that homeschooling is becoming more mainstream.

 

Governor Laura Kelly Signs Bill Providing Children With Free, Basic Vision Screenings In Schools - By Derek Nester, Sunflower State Radio

Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 62, a bipartisan bill that amends standards for free school-administered vision screenings and establishes the Kansas Children’s Vision Health and School Readiness Commission.

“Early detection of vision issues in children helps educators assess and address the needs of students promptly,” Governor Kelly said. “It is critical we address these issues early on — especially if a student has shown signs of reading difficulty, to ensure our kids continue to learn to their fullest potential and find success in the classroom.”

In addition to updated standards, SB62 creates the Kansas Children’s Vision Health and School Readiness Commission, an eight-member commission appointed by the State Board of Education to oversee the state’s vision screening requirements. It will also assist Kansas families in finding free or low-cost eye exams if a student fails an initial vision screening and cannot afford the services on their own.

SB62 also ensures sign language interpreters are held to a standard just as other licensed professionals, so Kansans who are deaf or hard of hearing receive quality service from interpreters.