Monday, November 28, 2005

An apple a day

Isn't it odd how forces sometimes coalesce around certain issues in your life, seeming to dare you to respond? Who am I to argue with fate?
I consider myself a plebian. I come from plebian stock and hope to remain in touch with my plebian roots throughout my entire life. I hope to raise children who carry a plebian mindset with them in all they do. I never want to be mistaken for an elitist or someone who isn't willing
to work for something. Why the rambling? I got sucked into a debate today on the merits of a private school education versus a public school education. For those of you who don't know me very well, let me state that education is one of my "hot button" issues (hot button issue=an
issue I care deeply about and will cause me pull out the nearest soapbox). The conversation itself was fairly innocuous because I was speaking with a like-minded individual. However, it did bring years of resentment toward the education system to the forefront of my mind.
I am continually amazed at the politicization of our education system and how it has turned into a battle of the haves versus the havenots. (I'm going to oversimplify here because I'm a lazy blogger.) Take public school versus private school for example. Generally (remember I'm generalizing here and realize there are exceptions to this), people who have the means are the only ones able to send their children to private school. Private schools have, in fact, been referred to as training grounds for the new elite and are becoming widespread enough to cause me to wonder whether our government and its people have given up on public school. If mainly those with means can send their kids to private school and the government is investing less in public school, then where does this leave public school children? Public schools, particularly in lower income school districts, get treated like second class citizens. I speak from experience on this issue, having gone to school on "the wrong side of town". My high school lacked in so many of the opportunities afforded the high school on the other side of town. I hadn't even heard of AP tests until I graduated college.
It's not just about public versus private education. It's also about the general dumbing down of our kids. Teaching to standardized tests is not teaching. Allowing any Suzy Sixpack to educate her kids at home is not teaching. Assuming your kid deserves a higher grade than they got or deserved is not helping their education. I'm not just pulling these things out of thin air. I have witnessed this myself or have seen friends who are teachers go through it.
I am so not done with post but should stop before it becomes a manifesto. Let's just say that if we can't effing teach our kids (ALL kids) then what are we coming to?

1 comment:

  1. My quick, late-night thoughts:
    1. I'm a huge public school fan. The only reason I'd ever send my kids to private school is for the cute uniform;) I think public schools can often offer something that private schools can't and that is the diversity, the commen sense learning, the worldliness learning, etc.
    2. I agree about standardized tests. Sure there should be standards but when it results in a teacher structuring their class just to result in passing grades rather than making learning exciting, it's not right.
    3. I'm even more against home-schooling. Why would a parent not want their child in a school environment with other children, learning how to deal with things. The only wat I'm going to home school is if my kid is a child star;)
    4. I had really good school experiences and I'm grateful for them. We weren't even the "rich" high school but we kicked ass academically and while we did have our rednecks (ha), we excelled all over the place.