More than 10,000 students have dropped out of the Washington state school system since COVID closures, forcing the Seattle Public Schools district to consider shutting down some schools.
A local mother of two who began homeschooling her children joined "Fox & Friends First" Thursday to discuss why she joined the growing trend in the state and encourage other parents to take charge of their children's education.
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"Initially it started because I didn't want to send them to school in masks," Sarah Bernhardt, who started homeschooling in fall 2021, said. "They weren't going to breathe while they were going to bother them all day. But then it kind of became more about how their education, what they were teaching the kids was changing. And I didn't want to have to undo some of the things they were learning."
The number of homeschooled students in the state has nearly doubled since 2019, per data found by the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), a research organization at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
Bernhardt expressed concern over schools teaching a liberal agenda on issues like gender and race.
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"I'm in a rural school district, so I wouldn't say that it had reached us yet, but Washington state tends to be more liberal, and I could see it coming. And I didn't want my children to have to be in the situation where they have uncomfortable questions that they come home with about race or sex."
The Seattle Public School District enrollment has been on a steady decline since COVID closures with the trend expected to continue through 2028, CRPE research shows.
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From 2019-2021, private school enrollment increased by 10 percent per year on average, enrollment in homeschool increased by 27 per year on average and enrollment in charter schools increased by 28 percent per year on average, CRPE reported.
Fox News Digital previously reported that average math scores saw the largest declines ever across every state, dropping five points for fourth graders and eight points for eighth graders from 2019 to 2022, according to the Nation's Report Card.
Reading scores dropped to levels not seen since 1992, decreasing three points for both grades in two years and revealing significant proficiency setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bernhardt encouraged more parents to homeschool their children and if they are unable to, to attend school board meetings and become more involved in advocating for their children.
"I hope that parents step up and do the best they can for their children’s education," she said."
"You’re gonna change the lives of your children."
Fox News’ Megan Myers contributed to this report.