Education Empowerment

Parents Want Non-Traditional School Options

Education changed in 2020. The COVID shutdowns gave parents the opportunity to teach their children from home. Although some families were excited to return to their local school, many found that they liked the flexibility they had during the initial school shutdowns.  Some major cities are still seeing a decline in school attendance after the massive enrollment decrease during 2020.

With the new school year around the corner, many parents are taking a hard look at their child’s education.  They are demanding more non-traditional options. 

Public schools have begun to innovate to keep students enrolled. Canyons School District has increased its online school options to meet this growing need. Many other districts have begun or continued other non-traditional programs. Teachers, too, found that they liked some of the changes developed during COVID shutdowns. 

But public schools aren’t the only ones trying to innovate. There has been a massive increase in education entrepreneurship. Individuals are creating new ways to educate children to meet the rising demand from parents who want to customize their child’s learning. 

What does all of this mean for the education industry? The education industry is in a state of disruption. This disruption is not a bad thing. Innovators from outside of the public school system are providing unconventional solutions that families want. It is the kind of industry disruption that has given customers smartphones and Teslas. 

Here are a few of the positive changes that have come in the past few years.

Asynchronous education is a fancy term that means students and families can decide when education happens. Parents love that their child can complete assignments on their own schedule. The flexibility of this innovation isn’t limited to when a student learns though. Families love that they can take school on the road allowing the student’s education to continue while taking an extended field trip together. Online schools are one example of asynchronous learning.

Microschools are a modern version of the one room schoolhouse. Parents and teachers love the flexibility to change a child’s learning as needed. This increased individualization and small class size is the strength of microschools. Families feel that the education is tailor-made for their child. Teachers love that they can change pacing and curriculum without the arduous process found in traditional schools. 

Homeschooling continues to trend upward. New homeschool parents love the increased relationships with their children, while having complete control over the pace and curriculum of their child’s education. New parents don’t have to homeschool alone. Many families join local homeschool co-ops, providing homeschool opportunities for every family situation.

Hybrid learning is the idea that students will spend part of their week at school, but part of their week at home learning. This usually involves a lot of self driven education from students. This model allows classes to be more activity based when together, allowing students to do necessary reading or similar activities while at home.

These changes in education are exciting for families. Families have more flexibility to choose the education that is right for their child. This demand from families has fed the action of legislators to create Education Spending Accounts like Arizona. Not only that, teachers can innovate and create education settings outside of the rules found in traditional schools. As a veteran educator, I am excited for the entrepreneurial spirit in education. I look forward to exciting innovations in the years to come. 

Education has changed forever, and that is a good thing.