Millennials are no longer the youngest kids in town. As the currently unnamed “Generation Z” takes center stage as the new up and coming generation, millennials are now settling down and having families of their own. And this is having a significant impact on education.
As discussed previously, choice and personal control over education choices are both essential to individualism. And if recent polls are any indication of where millennials stand on this issue, then the future of individualism is looking bright and decentralized.
Recent polls suggest that millennial parents aren’t making the same educational choices that their parents made for them. And this is a good thing. Our parents were largely educated by traditional means, which led many to sentence their own children to the fate of traditional public schools.
But as public education kept perpetually failing to properly educate kids, more options became available, which is great since millennials love options.
Millennials grew up surrounded by abundant choice. Whether choosing from several hundred cable television stations or choosing from a variety of music available at the click of a button, we have never wanted for options. The same is true of our parenting styles. Millennials like going against the norm when it comes to parenting.
A recent report released by EdChoice found that young Americans tend to have a highly favorable opinion towards school choice. In fact, when asked specifically about charter and private schools, the millennials polled expressed a positive view as opposed to the percentage who reported having negatives opinions towards these alternatives to public education.
Additionally, when compared to other generations, Millennials were three times as likely to give positive feedback towards the overall institution of charter and private schools. For those young Americans who currently have school-aged children attending a charter or private school, the positive responses were even greater.
But what is perhaps most fascinating about the millennial approach to education, is the favorability for homeschooling. Scoring a few points above other generations, many millennials support this as a viable option for their children.
And it is no wonder. In previous generations, homeschoolers were viewed almost as societal outcasts, having a social disadvantaged over traditionally educated children. But time has dispelled these rumors.
Homeschooled children are not only better at taking tests than the children forced to take them throughout their educational careers, they are also more socialized. Many of the children struggling to speak to their own counterparts were off-putting to many, eager to critique homeschool students. But when those students were put in a room with older children or adults, they were able to socialize at levels far beyond children their own ages. What was once seen as being weird and a disadvantage is now being recognized as a strength.
And the social aspects do not even account for the educational advantage of homeschooling. As the Common Core Curriculum began nationalizing education more so than at any other time in the past, many parents were concerned with the one-size-fits-all approach to education. As millennials are fans of many market options, this didn’t bode well for many of them. Since many charter schools and private schools agreed to use the Common Core Curriculum out of convenience, this left few options to escape this system. This led many parents towards homeschooling and unschooling since they were in full control of their children’s education.
As the Millennial generation continues to age, these approval ratings are expected to continue their upward trend. While the public education system has done much to disappoint many Americans over the years, it is no wonder that the generation accustomed to choice in every aspect of their lives, favors more educational opportunities for their own children.