Paul: Thank you for showing us this awesome piece. I have bookmarked it because I appreciated how the writer looked at this movement from all angles. As a teacher in a public school system, and a teacher who previously taught at a teacher's college while homeschooling, I often placed myself in a nexus of jumping off the cliff with my colleagues.
I now teach at a public high school and my husband is a trustee on the school board. He is the voice that stands for choice in education whether it be homeschooling or the private school. He is tactful in his approach and the teacher's union (of which I am not a member) backs him each election cycle even with these "flaws." Homeschooling when done correctly is an beyond-description experience for parent and child...we used primary sources with our children and eventually had two other families teach with us; so we became, in essence, our own home school.
Here is an academic marker and just a side bar notation. In four of the past six years, the state spelling bee in our state has been won by a homeschooled student; one of these students made it to the top ten in the national spelling bee. The homeschooled movement in my state is quite large and quite unified...right down to curricula swapping conferences.
Also, public education in many large cities such as Chicago are turning to a homeschool model with online courses done at home. The only difference here, is the district still has control over the curriculum.
Every parent should worry about the "Race to the Sky" Core Curricula standards that states now caving in order to get more "money." No free cheese, here though. Core curriculum is another name for a national curriculum. Local district are losing control over their schools. And, we wonder...why did our founding fathers not mention schools in their federal Constitution? That was a domain left to each state. Now turn to each state's constitution and one will find that almost half of that book and state laws are geared toward "schools."
This is a scary time for schools, indeed. I fear for students as we are forced to dumb down education...and when I say "forced"...this is no exaggeration.
Respectfully and sorry I turned this into my own bandwagon.