The Daily Beast

Learning Pods Will Not Save America

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The years I’ve spent years researching the American homeschooling movement and how it’s eroding the state hit home with the coronavirus.

Though my son is too young for us to consider these options, families in my corner of Brooklyn, and across the country, are banding together to form pods—small groups that have unenrolled their children, at least for now, and are hiring private tutors. 

In crucial ways, these pods are just a new iteration of homeschooling—and what I’ve learned about the evolution of that movement while writing Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State suggests that even a small number of families with ample resources forming these private groups present a clear and present danger to public schools systems and the state itself. Educating at home has a long history in America, but the contemporary conservative homeschooling movement began in earnest in the early 1970s.

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