Quitting Public School
- 03-01-2007, 06:03 PM
Quitting Public School
Quitting Public School
By Michael McBride
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I am through. After this semester, I am pulling my daughter from public school. I won’t be enrolling her in private school either. It is pretty obvious to me that between the diminishing capabilities of teachers to grab students’ attention, and increasing social pressures for adolescents…that the high school environment is not the place to be “learning”…school related subjects at least.
Don’t get me wrong…I am not a snob. I grew up in a working class suburb of Detroit, where I attended public elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school. My parents thought well of the district and its opportunities. And my brothers and I were greeted by enthusiastic teachers that challenged us, and showed a great deal of interest in their students and classes. We had, and used, wonderful science labs, up to date facilities, and robust extra-curricular programs.
All four of us went to college. Two of us went to private colleges, even though times were tough in the mid-70’s. My other two brothers attended two of Michigan’s public universities. We are all well rounded and successful, and you would not be able to sort out which of us attended which university.
Which is why I strongly believe the great equalizer was our public primary education. My mother retired as an elementary school principal from the same district. So I was a believer in our public schools…”was” is the operative word. Past tense.
For a number of years we went along with my daughter’s teachers’ recommendations. We have suffered through the mediocre dissemination of knowledge. We met indifference and incompetence, and worse, apathy and denial. We have encountered scant little passion, and even less competency. In short, it has been pathetic.
We had her in Title I Math when she was struggling. It must’ve helped…she soon had an A+ in Title I Math, and the teachers seemed quite pleased with themselves.
Getting an A+ in Title I Math seemed a bit incongruous to me, so we asked what needed to be done to get our daughter back in the mainstream instruction so that she could get back on track with her peers in Math. We received some quizzical looks in return. We suggested that she be given any make up work to be done over the approaching Christmas Holiday break. This time we were met by …hmmmms, and …ahhhhs…, but no make up work came home over the holidays.
At semester break we insisted…she was given a load of work, which she completed at “A” level within a week. While I am sure the Title I staff were patting themselves on the back for helping “so much,” their inattentiveness to my daughter’s progress, and their inability to grasp the irony of someone getting an A+ in a Title I program, began to open my eyes as to how much work would be involved in getting her through public schools.
We have experienced… “Well, a B in my class, is a good grade.” All the while the teacher had missed the point that my daughter consistently got the same type of problem wrong, collecting a B in the process. Even after pointing this out to the teacher that there didn’t seem to be much time spent on trend analysis, we were greeted with…”Well, a B is still a good grade, in my class.” I guess it would be OK for my daughter to have never learned division of fractions, as long as she go a B in the course.
For middle school and high school we exercised an option to attend another adjacent district. Our current district is smaller, with a smaller high school, and is less spread out geographically. We thought this would have its advantages. We were incorrect.
We were faced this similar academic issues, combined with administrative ineptitude matched only by the incomparable Inspector Clouseau. My daughter was forced to apologize to a student for “hurting her feelings,” (although I have since concluded that this is a regular occurrence in middle school and the main intention of most adolescent girls), even though, by the time the apology was forced, it was already well established that the crying plaintiff was lying.
Last semester there was the reading of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” My daughter, a tenth grader, is an adept reader who has handled more advanced English courses, so taking a Senior’s English course was not discouraged. The pace for reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.” was established at an arduous, one chapter per week. My daughter finished the book in ten days, and she was idled in the class for the next six weeks, and by the time the test on the book was given, she had read the book a total of five times. It was a monumental waste of educational opportunity, and astonishingly inefficient.
Five weeks into this semester we have had three lost homework assignments by the Math teacher, who, of course denied losing them. My daughter, at our insistence, copies every homework assignment and produced copies the next day. Finally, one of his Teacher’s Assistants admitted that he may have “thrown it away.”
There was the barely chaperoned field trip to downtown Portland with the Textiles teacher to visit three separate sites, which by its nature, then required high school girls to traipse around the seedier parts of Portland on their own. Also, no information sheet sent home on specifics for dress, lunch money, walking distances, etc. and et al. Oh, three enterprising girls pre-positioned a car downtown, and left shortly after arriving in the morning.
There is the same Textiles teacher who complained about my daughter’s work, then demonstrated several stitches on a garment as an example, then later critiqued her own work as not being up to par. My daughter pointed this out to her. Not sure what to tell my daughter on that one.
There is again, the Math teacher who when asked by my daughter about the prospect of a quiz the following day, was told that there would not be one, and then the Math teacher gave one…not sure if he lies to his Football team like that or not.
There is the Careers teacher who has sent home a weekly progress report, solicited by us, who has given and 89% so far this semester, although all assignments have received 100%, and there are no missing assignments. I might have to review my “new math” to figure that one.
I can only conclude by these lapses that there is no real interest in educating my (or anyone else’s) daughter in this school.
Before critiquing me with… “you should talk to the principle,” we have. We have talked to the teachers, the counselor, the principle, etc. and et al. I graced the Athletic Director with a four page complaint about the conditions on the Cheerleading squad, when my daughter and three other girls resigned. I was given a gracious… “we’re working with the coach.” The program is an abject failure at over 50% attrition since March of last year.
To date we have not seen an iota of progress on any issue that we have brought to the attention of the School District. We have not seen any interest in working to resolve even one minor issue…the complex issues are ignored, as are we. We are the parents that the School Districts ask for…involved parents with sound critiques, but our efforts have largely been ignored and the district proudly plows ahead on its crooked row.
My suggestions to all districts…
Hire leaders as principles, not school administrators…you can have as many curriculum advisors as you want, but districts rarely make good leadership decisions…you don’t need a link here, wait a day, an example will show up in the paper.
Hire business managers as Superintendents…see above.
Start paying attention to the suggestions that are given by the involved parents, and stop paying them lip service. If you don’t, you will soon have a wholesale revolt on your hands that you are not equipped to handle.
Stop crying for more money and make due with the roughly $300,000 (at least in this district) per base classroom that you’re given each year. After paying the teacher and fringe, there should be over $200,000 left to do the job…put it to good use.
Audit your teacher’s classrooms for activity, progress, and efficiency…more can be learned if the teachers simply focused on getting the material across.
Focus on the education of children…the problems within your districts will then become self-evident.
Based on what I read in the news…I don’t hold out hope for this or any other district, or private school. I reject the idea of switching schools, because I get the distinct feeling that I’ll just unearth the festering problems in another district, or I will “upgrade” my problems if we send her to private school. Neither of which I intend to do.
So my daughter, exhausted by the ridiculous social pressures that are unduly prevalent in high school, and the inept and snail-like delivery of course material, is begging for us to home school her.
And so we shall. We’re quitting school.
Michael E. McBride retired as a Major from the Marine Corps and blogs at My Sandmen.
- 03-02-2007, 02:10 AM
03-02-2007, 03:32 AM
school sucks...parties rule!!!!
all jokes aside, the closer I get to the real world, the more I realize most school won't help much
03-02-2007, 07:21 AM
ahh, public eduction. Ever wonder why people seem like they are getting stupider, Its because they are getting stupider. There seems to be an agenda to dumb down American citizens. I guess we are easier to manipulate when we are stupid. I believe it all starts with math. I didn't like math when I was younger, but gosh darn it, learning it helps form your ability to reason, which comes in handy later in life. This video explains alot!!!
[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI"]YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.[/nomedia]
03-02-2007, 07:51 AM
As far as basic content, I think that until you get into a specialized graduate program, it's all pretty relative.
03-02-2007, 11:05 AM
55 yrs ago when I was 8 yrs old...and in grade school...I was taught to close my 4's at the top...now my 8 yr old comes home from school...with his math papers corrected with a red circle around all his 4's (closed at top) she wants them to be open 4's.....what was interesting though..was that all the numbers on the page had their 4's closed.....like this 4
everywhere I look (signs, computer typing, books,) the 4's are closed....
so which is right...a open 4 or a closed 4???
I dont even want to get started on 2's
when did they start putting a curl on the bottom??
they look like q's to me.
03-02-2007, 11:28 AM
There's no conspiracy to dumb down anyone. This is just what happens when even people with the best of intentions and abilities get lost in a politically run system. The incentives are perverted, you get results that are ****ty and that the customers, parents and kids, don't benefit from. And it will keep going like this no matter how much money gets poured into the system. Edukation, comrade. It's a public good.
From a review of Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity:
Let’s start with “public education.” The chapter “Stupid Schools” is drawn from the material in Stossel’s January 2006 television special that brilliantly illuminated the waste and ineffectiveness of government-run schools. Throughout the book, Stossel uses boxes containing one statement that’s a myth followed by another statement that’s true. His first such box in the schooling chapter reads,
"Myth: Educating children is too important to be left to the uncertainty of market competition.
Truth: Educating children is too important to be left to a government monopoly."
In the course of this chapter, we are introduced to a young man named Dorian. He is 17, a senior in a public high school in South Carolina, and can barely read even the simplest material. Here is Stossel’s conversation with Dorian:
Stossel: You know there is a whole world that can open up to you, if you are able to read.
Dorian: Yeah, I know that. I know if I could read better, I wouldn’t be such a problem.
Stossel: Did they try to teach you to read?
Dorian: From time to time.
Stossel: Well, what did they do?
Dorian: They just tell you to read by yourself. Go home and read, which, uh, I wouldn’t.
Stossel: But they kept moving you ahead in class?
Dorian: Yes, sir.
Now, if the official pronouncements about the deep concern of the education establishment for the success of every student were to be believed, the South Carolina public-school system would be doing everything possible to help this young man learn to read. Instead, the lack of concern is astounding. At a meeting to discuss Dorian’s academic progress, the principal said, “I’ve seen great progress in him. I don’t have any concerns.” It’s easy to see why this attitude prevails – the money keeps rolling in whether the results are good or lousy. (A point Stossel might have made here is that government schools often can squeeze more money out of taxpayers through failure than success.)
Dorian, by the way, was subsequently enrolled in a reading program at a Sylvan Learning Center. As a result, his reading level improved by two grade levels after only 72 hours of instruction.
What really infuriates the public-education establishment about Stossel is not so much that he casts doubt on the efficacy of their schools – it’s always possible to haul out “education experts” who will attest that the schools are doing the best they can and just need more funding – but that he depicts them as money grubbers of the worst sort. In his writing, teachers and union officials sound as though their overriding concern is raiding the wallets of the taxpayers. For example, when Stossel observes that South Carolina public schools spend an average of $10,000 per student and asks a school official how much more would be enough, he gets this answer: “Twenty thou, twenty-five, thirty. The more, the better.” Makes you wonder – can these people spell “parasite”?
Among the other education myths Stossel punctures are that teaching certificates are necessary to ensure competence, that excellent teachers are rewarded, that teachers are underpaid, and that home schooling is just for religious zealots who don’t care whether their children don’t learn to socialize. The chapter is devastating to the government schooling monopoly.
03-02-2007, 11:59 AM
I have a lot of teacher friends. The reason about the 4's is that they look too much like 9's.
But as for the 2's it just makes it quicker to write, I think.
With that being said, I put a horizontal line in my 7's...
03-02-2007, 12:23 PM
The numbers thing seems ridiculous to me. If you can't tell a kid's 9s from his 4s he has a penmanship problem that needs to be dealt with that goes beyond leaving the 4s open.
03-02-2007, 12:30 PM
03-02-2007, 12:42 PM
Alright....The guy who wrote that story obviously hasn't taken a look around in a while. That is how all public schools are....most teachers are worthless and don't know ****. They are just there to get a paycheck and don't care about how successful their students are. Don't get me wrong here, there are s select few teachers in the public school system that are excellent teachers and really care about their students, but the majority of the teachers suck. It also sounds like the parent who wrote that article is pushing his daughter a little hard don't you think? To Kill a mockingbird 5 times....who does that?? theres a reason as to why they go slow, not every student is the apparent genius your daughter is.who has time to do that...that girl obviously participates in no after school activities at all and is confined to her home.
This guy obviously runs his home like it is marine boot camp and expects a little to much from everyone around him. Get over yourself and your daughter...this is how it is...deal with it. And i think we can all agree that not everyone who goes to public school turns out to be a low life scumbag.
03-02-2007, 01:48 PM
Damn straight! Who is he to actually expect his daughter to live up to her potential and for her school to help facilitate that? Hell, if the school pushed her to excel they might have to do that with all the other kids too. That would be too much like work. Better to let everyone rot in mediocrity.
03-02-2007, 01:54 PM
Just look at the news....since when do I care to watch the funeral of a crackheaded frustrated hoe aka Anna Nicole Smith. I have my opinions on the matter and I'm sure you all do too so let's keep it at that but I would be a lot more understanding if Anna was a great person that did great deeds in her life and always lived a very straightforward and clean life but we're talking about a young lady that lived her life cracked out on pills, pill popping along with I'm sure some drug consuming and Anna is nothing close to a role model. I'm not either but I'm not here to be a "role model", I'm here to do good for myself and unto others and die content + with morals and dignity.
Dignity? Honor? Moral? Those words are hardly heard of nowadays. Look at kid's idols nowadays compared to back then. Idols nowadays are sluts like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears for the girls and for the guys, their role models are who: gangbangers? 50 Cent? Puff daddy? Who?
Of course, I'm sure very few of us would pass up one night in a room with Paris Hilton and friends but is that the type of role model you want for your little girl? If so, I think you need to give up your child for adoption. They'd probably have a better chance faring well than with your supervision and way of thinking...
*Sits down and continues sipping protein shake*
*RANT mode off*
P.S. For anyone wondering, I went to private school up until the end of 5th grade and started public school in the 6th. I graduated from public school as well. Class of '05
03-02-2007, 02:10 PM
03-02-2007, 02:19 PM
CDB....did you go to a public school??? if you did you would know exactly what i was talking about....its not gonna change man, public school is mediocrity unless you take it upon yourself to do good and actually learn something. Sounds to me that the father was pushing the girl like a 600 pound BP. I had 2 maybe 3 professors in school that actually pushed me to succeed. All the others just sat in the class and spoke and gave tests...thats how it is. There is a point that you cross when pushing your kids to do their best, sounds to me that the little girl was taking orders from her Drill Sargent father. Its not wrong to expect the school to help...but it sure is hell isn't gonna live up to that guys expectations.
03-02-2007, 02:34 PM
CDB is saying that just because it is 'normal' doesn't mean you just sit back and do ntohing. If enough people do not accept it then it can change. If enough people say this is just the way it is then nothing will be done.
I think that's what he's saying and if so then I agree.
03-02-2007, 02:55 PM
I just find that its going to be difficult to change it when i see druggies and alcoholics graduating with their teaching degrees. The people i see at college who are education majors just scare me. If you are ever going to try and change this you need to hire teachers who actually care about students....how you go about doing this??? no idea.
03-02-2007, 02:57 PM
Fixing the problem is about 10 topics in itself and as a parent of kids in high school and middle school, I share in the worry.
03-02-2007, 03:15 PM
i went to private catholic school all of my life.
1. st bernard pre school
2. immaculate conception middle school
3. St jospeh high school (all boys too)
4. boston college
I can tell you that up until college, the majority of my teachers were horrible, and didnt truly care if the students learned or not. Middle school was especially pathetic.
i can name 2 history teachers, 1 math teacher, and 2 english teachers that were decent teachers and cared about actual education in high school.
in my opinion, through my own experience, many of the teachers i had simply hadnt made it in any other area (excluding math teachers). Teaching was the only option they had left. I have never met such a disgruntled group of people in my life.
In many situations, the knowledge is there for the taking. You can go home and read a book cant you? if you want to learn, the knowledge is probably available to you. i think we should stop placing so much of the blame on teachers. Anyone who has been to a school knows that calling the majoirty of these people "teachers" is a joke. some things cant just be simply spoon-fed.
03-02-2007, 04:36 PM
03-02-2007, 05:03 PM
03-02-2007, 06:00 PM
03-04-2007, 11:46 AM
03-04-2007, 04:28 PM
Exceptional kids will find the public system abusive, but I strongly believe it's a net-positive for the majority of kids due to socialization. Talk to some home-school parents... I've yet to meet a normal couple who home-school their kids. No inference to you, but the social skills learned in school are as equally important as the quantitative aspects. A good parent will tutor their kids if aspects of their ed are lacking or the child isn't being challenged.
Top private schools will run $30k at minimum. Boarding schools [Exeter, Choate] will guarantee a top-10 college, but it's no guarantee of success outside of the professional arena; med, law, finance. The exceptional public school kids will get where they need to be, regardless of a lacking public system.
03-05-2007, 07:58 AM
Education and knowledge are a personal journey. Ideally a motivated individual with a quest for knowledge can receive external support from society and family, but it is not as important as the persistence of the student to achieve higher learning goals
The harder a school is to get into the easier it is to get a degree.
Ivy league schools boast very high graduation rates.
Oxford university is almost impossible not to graduate as long as you show up for class.
Regurgitating what is taught is a good way to get a degree, but it is not necessarily the only way to achieve higher learning goals
03-05-2007, 08:04 AM
While I agree with you that learning and knowledge is an individual journey, I have to disagree the idea that once you get into an Ivy league school your almost guaranteed a diploma. The reason the schools that are harder to get into bolster high graduation rates is that they gather the most excelled and motivated students; the schools that are easier to get into, gather the more mundane, apathetic students.
03-05-2007, 09:32 AM
03-06-2007, 01:29 PM
I pay close attention to what my gradeschool daughter is learning in public schools. I teach her things on my own also. I have called out her teachers before for some of the B.S. they teach and brought researched facts to their attention. you cant just stick the kids in school. it takes some parenting too.
03-06-2007, 05:37 PM
03-06-2007, 08:56 PM
There are theories that suggest that the "womens liberation movement" was created by the government. It was designed to get the women out of the house and into the workforce, so that the children would spend more time in a social supervised environment.
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