• Mr. Steven J. Muehler

Steve Muehler's Reform Plan for Public Schools, Private Schools, and Homeschooling

Updated: Apr 23

There are generally three options for parents / guardians (and sometimes their children) can make for K-12 Education:

  1. Public School

  2. Private School

  3. Homeschool

The first option is the Public-School System, which is the most common. Public schools are free, and each child is guaranteed to have a free and appropriate education. There are public schools all over, making it easy for a child to get there, plus there is usually transportation (commonly, “the bus”), so you do not have to do anything to get your child to school except to get them out to the bus stop on time.

Children who attend public schools generally get opportunities to participate in lots of extra-curricular activities such as band, sports, drama and other clubs (speech, science and others). The kids also get a lot of socialization which will help in their later lives (though this theory has been diminishing over the past 5-10 years as the “online social communities” have grown).

For all the things that are going good for public schools, they generally have some faults (some more than others, and some without any of the faults I will be detailing here). Public schools are generally geared to teach the “average student”. That means that students on either end of the scale may get neglected. Gifted kids may get bored and kids who are struggling may keep getting further and further, and sometimes, even further behind.

Class sizes in the public schools are often very large. In most schools, the class sizes average one teacher to as many as twenty students at the elementary level, and in middle school and high school levels, that ratio can go up even more. That means that a child does not get the help they may need when they need it.

For many Americans, private school is out of the budget, and the costs of a private education has been growing year-over-year, leaving more-and-more families considering homeschool and public schooling as the two only real viable options. For those who can afford the private schools, they generally find that the student-to-teacher ratio is much lower than it is at a public school, giving children a more specialized and personal education.

Homeschooling is another option for education. There are a lot of reasons for this. One is because children get the individualized education that the parents want them to. The education is totally geared around the child and will work towards their strengths and help them with their weaknesses. The parents get to spend a lot of time home with their kids, so while the kids are being educated (by the parent or through an online curriculum) they are also bonding with their kids. The gifted kids get to work as fast as they can, while the kids who are struggling get to spend all the time they need to stay caught up.

But, as good as homeschooling isb there are some drawbacks to it. One of the most talked about is that “your kids won’t be around as many other kids, so they won’t have that same level of socialization”, which could hurt them. BUT, in today’s world where kids spend more-and-more time socializing online, I cannot really stand here and say this one is true anymore.

Since I believe everyone is generally up to speed on Public School and Private Schools Facts (most of us are a product of one or the either), I wanted to hit on some of the homeschooling stats and trends, as that accounts for the smaller demographic of our society (though Google seems to have lots more information about homeschooling than private schools).

  • Homeschooling – that is, parent-led home-based education; home education – is an age-old traditional educational practice that a decade ago appeared to be cutting-edge and “alternative”, but is now bordering on “mainstream” in the United States. It may be the fastest-growing form of education in the United States. Home-based education has also been growing around the world in many other nations (e.g., Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom).

  • A demographically wide variety of people homeschool – these are atheists, Christians, and Mormons; conservatives, libertarians, and liberals; low-, middle-, and high-income families; black, Hispanic, and white; parents with Ph.D.s, GEDs, and no high-school diplomas. One study shows that 32 percent of homeschool students are Black, Asian, Hispanic, and others (i.e., not White/non-Hispanic) (Noel, Stark, & Redford, 2013).

  • There are about 2.3 million home-educated students in the United States. This is up from one estimate that there were about 2 million children (in grades K to 12) home educated during the spring of 2010 in the United States (Ray, 2011). It appears the homeschool population is continuing to grow (at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years).

  • Families engaged in home-based education are not dependent on public, tax-funded resources for their children’s education. The finances associated with their homeschooling likely represent over $27 billion that American taxpayers do not have to spend, annually, since these children are not in public schools.

  • Taxpayers spend an average of $11,732 per pupil in public schools, plus capital expenditures. Taxpayers spend nothing on most homeschool students and homeschool families spend an average of $600 per student for their education.

  • Homeschooling is quickly growing in popularity among minorities. About 15% of homeschool families are non-white/non-Hispanic (i.e., not white/Anglo).

  • An estimated 3.4 million U.S. adults have been homeschooled for at least one year of their K-12 years, and they were homeschooled an average of 6 to 8 years. If one adds to this number the 2.3 million being homeschooled today, an estimated 5.7 million Americans have experienced being homeschooled.

Under my education plan, we will explore alternatives for a blended on-campus and off-campus public schooling program that will allow children to split their “on-campus time” with opportunities to participate part-time at home (“off-campus”).

We will also be exploring the “year-round” educational model. As Globalization has come, and with families being more mobile today, it is always summer somewhere, and here in Los Angeles, it does not even warm up until August (our hottest months the last few years were in September and October). This will allow time off during all seasons for the year, allowing for fun in the sun, hunting in the fall, skiing in the winter and a relaxing spring break for all, without missing days of school, or suffering from burn-out.

Under my plan, children would participate in on-campus / off-campus education for 45 school days (9 weeks) and get three weeks (15 school days off). The number of on-campus v. off-campus days will vary depending on grade level, in the early years, the number of off-campus days will be less than for those in 12th grade.

For an example, the 10th to 12th graders, there will be four options available,

  • 1/3 time on-campus / 2/3 off-campus

  • 1/2 time on-campus / 2/3 off-campus

  • 2/3 time on-campus / 1/3 off-campus

  • Full-time on Campus

What will determine child’s eligibility for the above (for 10th to 12th Grade):

  • Children with an “A” average, with parent / guardian approval, my opt for the 1/3 on-campus and 2/3 off-campus curriculum.

  • Children with a “B” average, with parent / guardian approval, my opt for the 1/2 on-campus and 1/2 off-campus curriculum.

  • Children with a “C” average, with parent / guardian approval, my opt for the 1/3 on-campus and 2/3 off-campus curriculum.

  • Students with a D or Failing grade average will be required to be full-time on-campus students.

  • All students will have the option of 100% on-campus.

A similar formula to the above will be established younger students, though the formula for number of on-campus and off-campus days will be determined at the local level as what may apply in Fargo, North Dakota may not be relevant to the school district in Manhattan, New York.

Key points to my proposed on-campus / off-campus public school system.

  • Kids working from home, would have the ability to watch the classroom sessions either live or on playback-on-demand, allowing the students to handle their educational responsibilities on their schedule (or parent / guardian schedule).

  • Students participating from home during the live classroom session would be on an interactive monitor (interactive on both sides, the teacher and student). The teacher side monitor may either be carried by the teacher, probably looking much like today’s iPad. Multiple children can be assembled on one monitor for a teacher, and the system would not require one monitor per child as multiple children will be able to be in a group setting on the Teacher’s monitor. The teacher will also have an option to use a larger monitor that is portable or mounted, and will have the ability to be viewed by the teacher, or viewed by both the teacher and the on-campus students at the same time (teacher’s decision). The off-campus student(s) would be able to participate interactively, where both the student and the teacher (and at select times, also the on-campus students, and possibly select off-campus students) can hear and see each other (each with the ability to mute the other party if needed).

  • Kids working from home would be able to have access to any educational documents via online document sharing services.

  • Both student and teacher would also have screen sharing abilities.

  • At home students would be able to submit completed coursework electronically with teachers.

This type of on-campus / off-campus interaction also allows the “family on the go” the ability to have access to the public-school system without worrying about that pesky “maximum number of days of school missed number each year”.

This system will also allow local schools to access courses offered from other public schools out of the area. Students will not necessarily be confined to optional courses only offered by their assigned local public school. Though students will be required to take the “core basic required classes” at their assigned Public School, elective courses may be taken off-campus from a public school out of the area.

Note: for the children who depend on the school meal(s) as a major source of their daily nutrition, a “take home lunch” will be provided to the off-campus student (arrangements for an early date pick-up, after hours pick-up, or other arrangements will need to be coordinated between student / parent / guardian and the school, and arrangements may vary from location to location).

Again, this is just an opinion with broadstrokes, and there would need to be people more educated than me to define the finer points, and what the additional cost (or savings) this program would have when compared to the current programs.

Steve Muehler is the Founder & Managing Member of the Private Placement Markets:

About Mr. Steve Muehler, Founder & Senior Managing Member:

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© 2017 by Mr. Steven J. Muehler