My husband and I have some serious doubts about public education. Between the two of us and our families and friends we can rattle off a series of bad experiences that boil down to one simple fact: Whether you are gifted or learning disabled, if you are an out-of-the-box student you will not fare well in public school. It isn’t totally the fault of the institution. How do you expect one teacher to address the learning styles and speeds of 30 kids at the same time? Still, there are a number of reasons why we’ve joined the growing ranks of parents seeking alternative options for their child’s education.
1. Classrooms are geared towards average learners.
Whether you excel in one topic or struggle in another, you’re left to tread water while the average kids float. This often leads to serious boredom, distraction and a serious risk of discipline issues. It also leads to a huge waste of your student’s time.
2. Teachers teach to the test, the performance review, or both.
Kindergarteners are expected to surrender their free play time for the sake of monthly performance reviews known as tests. The outcomes of these tests determine whether or not their teacher gets a raise, gets tenured, or gets to keep her job. Who wouldn’t want their child’s love of learning to be sacrificed for a stranger’s livelihood?
3. Students are only expected to be as good as or better than their fellow students.
All that crap educators feed students about being a unique and original flower is the bull designed to cover over the fact that you are only as good as the kid sitting next to you in class. Senior year of high school I sat next to a kid who scored 10 points off perfect on his SATs. He had to wear Velcro sneakers because he couldn’t tie shoelaces. I do not want that to be my child’s gold standard.
4. Curricula are increasingly politically motivated.
With the introduction of Common Core, local schools received a federally mandated curriculum loaded with politically correct ideology. Health and biology classes are governed by the LGBTQ movement while history and social studies are being rewritten by Marxist theorists. I’m not sending my child to school to learn what to think, let alone to be indoctrinated into any particular point of view.
5. There is no room for independent study.
My husband met fractions with a simple question: “Where are the wrenches?” He’d long ago learned fractions by helping his dad work on cars in the garage. That lent a much-needed practicality to the theoretical side of math, a level of practicality that I sorely missed until I studied Excel in college. If only my algebra teachers had allowed me to build a multi-year budget in high school I might have actually understood what they were talking about.
6. Students’ emotions take precedence over their learning.
I am not having my son protected by trigger warnings.
7. Critical thinking is dead.
Students aren’t taught the process of comprehension. They’re simply fed facts and expected to regurgitate them on tests. From there they move onto the next grade and the next, then college, then what? Ever wonder why we have a generation of graduates still living at home, wondering what it is they’re supposed to do with their lives? Perhaps it’s because they were never taught how to be independent critical thinkers.
How about you? Are you questioning what would be the best route for your child’s education?