Thousands of students are leaving Indiana public schools for private and homeschool options according to a report from Anthony Kinnett, education journalist and co-founder of The Chalkboard Review. Parents he spoke with cite concerns about mask-mandates and curriculum changes as their primary motivation. Another factor is the expansion of the state’s voucher program, allowing more middle class families to participate than before.
Kinnett writes that around 90% of Christian schools are reporting growth:
Of the 319 private schools I obtained enrollment data from for the 21-22 academic year…288 have seen growth over the last three years. Of those 288 schools, 154 have seen an enrollment leap from 2020/21 to 2021/22 of at least thirty students. Of the schools I observed, 49 saw enrollment numbers at least 150% the previous year’s roster.
From the years 2000-2015, Kinnett says Christian schools under 500 students typically fluctuated by around 10 students per year. But this year, many of these smaller schools reported increases of 25-50 students.
Some schools are also reporting wait lists as applications exceed enrollment capacity. One school, Suburban Christian School in Greenwood, has 551 students registered for this Fall—up from 320 a year ago.
In more rural communities where there are fewer Christian schools, Kinnett reports parents moving their children from public schools to homeschool and micro-school models. In one county, a parenting Facebook group is helping over thirty families interested in homeschooling.
Alternatives to public education are becoming more popular and more attainable for the average family. And reports around the country suggest that many Americans are making the switch.