Home Uncategorized A school with 7 students: America is witnessing a ‘microschools’ boom

A school with 7 students: America is witnessing a ‘microschools’ boom


ATLANTA: When Nathanael was in kindergarten, he told his mother, Diana Lopez, that he did not want to return to school – ever. His teacher yelled at him, he said. And when Lopez picked him up from school, he would often immediately start to cry. Nathanael has autism, and in a busy classroom of 25 children, the teacher seemed to have few strategies for working with him, Lopez recalled.This year at a new school, Nathanael, 7, was happier. He shared a teacher with only six other students – not in one classroom, but in the entire school.
Nathanael attended a microschool, an increasingly popular type of super-small, largely unregulated private school, often serving fewer students than are enrolled in a single classroom at a traditional school. The programmes are benefitting from two trends: Since the Covid-19 disrupted schooling, many parents have rethought their children’s education, and are open to nontraditional options. And Republican state lawmakers and donors, who have long supported private-school choice, have increasingly directed money toward microschools across the US, saying they give parents a chance to withdraw from school districts at a reasonable price – typically $5,000 to $10,000 per year.
Microschool students are usually registered with their states as home-schoolers. But the new generation of microschools, like the programme Nathanael attended, Kingdom Seed Christian Academy, operates more like modern-day one-room schoolhouses, meeting in homes, church basements and storefronts. These schools are often open four or five days per week, with full-time teachers, set curricula and sometimes even standardised tests.
There is little data on the schools. But the National Microschooling Centre, an advocacy group that surveys programme founders, estimates there are 95,000 microschools and home-schooling pods nationwide, serving more than 1 million students. That number is expected to grow as eight states last year joined Arizona and West Virginia in providing near-universal access to education savings accounts, a type of voucher that can be used for home-schooling costs. In April, Georgia, too, passed a law creating the accounts. An estimated 1 million children now use public funds for some form of private education, more than double the number from before the pandemic, according to new research from EdChoice, a nonprofit that supports school choice and tracks the sector.

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