There are of course any number of things that make a mass exodus from the schools highly unlikely. Garris in his article mentions a few of these, that public schools have the allegiance of many citizens stemming from tradition, they have political allies, they have teacher unions hell-bent on holding onto their jobs, and they have tax monies. To overcome these and other obstacles would require that there be an alternative educational option far superior to the programs and offerings of the public schools.
Is there one? Garris would like to believe so. Garris says that such a viable alternative to the status quo appears to have arisen in online education. For, as he says, the “Internet is making excellent educational content available at a low-cost, making it particularly suitable for homeschooling and home school groups. And the growing market demand for home school curricula is being met with the development of new online educational content every year. Websites like Khan Academy offer affordable education through online videos and forums not to mention that they often provide world-class teachers that students would not have access to in a traditional school setting.”
I too would like to believe this, that the Internet is revolutionizing education, that it is maximizing educational “choice” through the free market in a way that no public school ever could. But the only way this would happen in a substantial manner would be to restore the freedom of choice to the students, which even the Internet is not about to do.
Could it have happened where I taught? Perhaps if the entire school and school community had gone along with me and removed the compulsion from education and put the students’ own interests and readiness for learning in its place.