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View Full Version : Do homeschoolers have a responsibility towards the public education system ?



Stella M
03-02-2011, 04:34 PM
The conversation about diversity - and the lack of it - on the other thread got me thinking.

If my children went to the local public school, we would add value to it. They would add to the diversity because of their racial background. They are smart and well-behaved, so they would add to the school's scores and the culture of the school. My money would go to the school, not the h/s suppliers. My time would go to the school. The extra stuff I do for homeschoolers - book club, reader's theatre, co-op activities, mentoring writers - would be done for the school. Our family would definitely have a lot to give the school.

By not sending them to the school, the school misses out on our diversity, money, time and expertise.

On an individual level, I'm very happy not to send the kids to school because in my judgement, that's been the best thing for them so far.

Morally though, for me it gets a bit muddy. I accept that we need a good quality public education system for those who can't get an education elsewhere. If we as homeschoolers cherry pick ourselves out of that system, do we bear any responsibility as individuals for weakening that system for those who truly need it ?

If we do - and we're not prepared to sacrifice our kids best interests - how do we meet our responsibility ?

Feel free to disagree!

Stages
03-02-2011, 04:48 PM
I've thought about this quite a bit, and while I agree that it could help a school to have an extra super-involved family, I can't force my child to suffer for the sake of others.

That sounds way harsher than I mean it to be, but that's how I justify it to myself.

I think it's important to have a quality public school system, but if I felt that strongly about it, I would march myself over there and volunteer.

inmom
03-02-2011, 05:08 PM
....., I can't force my child to suffer for the sake of others.


I think it's important to have a quality public school system, but if I felt that strongly about it, I would march myself over there and volunteer.

These are exactly my views too. I'm not sacrificing my kids' education for the benefits of others. I WAS one of those that marched myself over there and volunteered, two mornings a week for two years. It was when I realized that is was going to take a heck of a lot more volunteers to even make a difference that I pulled my kids out.

Stella M
03-02-2011, 05:16 PM
I agree with both of you - but I guess my question is, do we have a responsibility to then do whatever is does take - other than being part of the system ourselves - to make a difference ?

Kylie
03-02-2011, 06:06 PM
I think every parent has a responsibility...but my number one responsibility is to my children first and foremost.

I wonder if more people took the homeschooling road that it would actually make the system take a hard look at what is really going on?

Stages
03-02-2011, 06:49 PM
I agree with both of you - but I guess my question is, do we have a responsibility to then do whatever is does take - other than being part of the system ourselves - to make a difference ?
Honestly, I don't think so. I think the American educational system is fundamentally broken, and no amount of homeschool parent involvement at the local level will make a significant difference. (I don't know anything about schools in Australia.)

I support the local zoo society and library because I believe in them. I don't believe in the school system.

MarkInMD
03-02-2011, 07:33 PM
We pay taxes that in part fund public schools in this county/state. That's enough involvement for me.

Kylie
03-02-2011, 08:08 PM
I agree totally with Savannah and Mark, we do support the system even if we didn't want to withour taxes and with the dollars and time I have on my side I support organisations I believe or have faith in.

dbmamaz
03-02-2011, 08:34 PM
I go back and forth. I mean, honestly, the school system didnt want my kids. Really - when the stand-alone gifted program asked us to go back to the home school after the IEP process was completed, the principal at the home school said "No, THEY should find a way to deal with him THERE!"

and i really didnt volunteer much - school really stresses me out.

Although - when my daughter was in 3rd grade, I told her teacher, during teacher conference, that I might be moving for a job. The teacher actually said "Well, do what you have to do, but your daughter could really help our school pass the (state standards test). I was shocked - thats not the point, the schools are supposed to help the KIDS pass - but it was such an impoverished area, and my ex actually heard moms at a preschool event discussing how a high school diploma is really useless.

I guess the bleeding heart liberal in me thinks we all, as citizens, and esp as parents, should feel some sense of obligation to help take care of our nations children. But as a parent, I believe we all need to do what is best for our children.

I saw some minister once talk (in an essay) about that putting your family first is actually a selfish act, but i didnt really buy it.

MarkInMD
03-02-2011, 08:52 PM
I saw some minister once talk (in an essay) about that putting your family first is actually a selfish act, but i didnt really buy it.

Depends on what you're doing with that family. If the point of focusing on your family (whoa, does anyone else smell James Dobson?) is to make them the best possible people when they become adults, then it's actually one of the most altruistic acts a parent can make.

farrarwilliams
03-02-2011, 09:00 PM
Okay. I started to write one thing and then I deleted it and started over.

I think the thing that I really believe in is chosen communities and that the people in the community need to be the people responsible for it. I do think there's a certain selfishness to putting one's own family first, above all else, but I also think that the idea of putting others above one's own family - or, at least, considering the greater good on balance with the good of one's family - can only be meaningful in a real way and only be worth it when the community means something and when everyone has a fair stake. I think that's one of the reasons that I actually don't feel any sense of obligation or remorse about opting out of the public school system. It's not a community in which I could be empowered in any way. The decisions are more than 90% top down. The curriculum, the approach, the facilities, the testing - everything - is all completely pre-decided. I don't get a say there in any meaningful way - it's like being treated like a disrespected child. So while I accept that the government should pay for schooling to ensure a minimum level of education in a country, I don't really accept the manner in which they do it at all, so it makes it difficult for me to feel like I owe them anything, when they don't give me any sense of involvement in return. That's sort of why I think the charter school movement is one that has potential - because it puts power in the hands of the parents and the community and allows for a real involvement. But it's easy for me to opt out of that as well - I'd rather homeschool for a number of reasons anyway - and all our charter schools have their doors beaten down by parents who want to be part of their community already. They have to turn people away. So there's no reason why I feel like I need to do that. Those parents have chosen their educational community and I've chosen mine - which is my homeschool community. It's not perfect, but nor are the schools, even the good ones. And I don't feel like the contributions I give to my homeschool community are wasted. I feel good about them.

So... I guess what I'm saying is no... I don't feel like I owe the public schools anything. I think we'd all be better off if everyone left them and chose their own schools for their kids.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-02-2011, 09:16 PM
I go back and forth. I mean, honestly, the school system didnt want my kids.

Sometimes I feel this way, too (though maybe I'm just being paranoid). My son was demanding more attention than his teacher had time to give him, and we didn't even get as far as an evaluation and IEP. Seriously, I think the only way he could do it would be to have his own aide, who would require the patience of a saint and/or a prescription for valium. Our school district has been running a deficit in the millions for the last two years, so we're probably doing them a favor by not adding to their special ed costs. Anyways, his teacher and principal were very nice and tried to help my son through kindergarten, but he only got worse as the year progressed. I'm sure they weren't crying when they found out we were homeschooling.

Yes, involved parents help their own kids, but there are probably only a core group of super involved parents in each school who tackle the big fundraisers and events. I am not one of those people. I tried to be a room parent, but I couldn't set foot in my son's classroom because he would dissolve into tears whenever it was time for me to leave.

We rent, so we don't pay property taxes (and our apartment is owned by a non-profit, so they don't either), so I figure it all evens out. We give nothing and get nothing... they give us nothing and get nothing in return.

dbmamaz
03-02-2011, 10:32 PM
I think the only way he could do it would be to have his own aide, who would require the patience of a saint and/or a prescription for valium.
LOL which do you have?! I'm sure i've mentioned it a few times, but since he quit his job and he's around while i'm homeschooling, my husband has said several times that, if it was him, someone would die.


our apartment is owned by a non-profit, so they don't either
How is that? i havent heard of that? but i guess I havent actually ever rented an apartment . . . huh . . .

kcanders
03-03-2011, 12:02 AM
We rent, so we don't pay property taxes (and our apartment is owned by a non-profit, so they don't either), so I figure it all evens out. We give nothing and get nothing... they give us nothing and get nothing in return.

Wow, I am jealous! A huge amount of our (high) property taxes, about 70%, go to the schools. We have always either paid for private schools or now we are homeschooling. I feel like I contribute enough to the schools. :)

Aandwsmom
03-03-2011, 12:14 AM
My Mom is a retired schoolteacher, she taught for 37 yrs in a small town in California. My Father in Law was on the Elem. School Board for over 20 yrs in a neighboring small town.
My kids attended public school from K-5th at 3 different school here in Portland because boundaries changed one time and we moved to a better neighborhood another.
I was Room Mom for both my boys for their Kindy year, did all the parties, volunteered for every field trip, volunteered in classroom at least once a week. I volunteered in my older sons 1st grade classroom once a week and attended all field trips.
I wanted to continue to be "that" Mom.
The school system failed us.
My school happy kids were less happy with school, hated it even. My older son was so far behind in Math in 5th grade and we didn't know it until he was failing 5 weeks into 6th grade. I felt like I was sending my kids to the chain gang every day because that is how they felt. It wasnt the OMG Mom, I just dont feel like going today because I forgot to study for a test junk like I pulled in high school.... it was they literally felt they were being punished, hated it, dreaded it.
And when we sat down and talked to their teachers AND the school system and realized that they didn't care..... I was done.
My kids were losing their sparkle and their enjoyment for learning and it made me sad.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that it was a tough row to hoe when you have a retired teacher for a Mom, a Dad whose idea of homeschooling were those religious families that kept their kids secluded and therefore he thought homeschooling was a bad word and then a FIL who was part of the backbone of the school system, their rules and regs.
But, Hubby was behind me 100% and once our boys got their smiles back and were learning and enjoying it..... we knew we made the right choice.
Do I worry that pulling my kids from school is messing it up for others..... NOPE, not one bit.
Our Governments have let education fall to the wayside and I think it is disgusting. When I was in school we had electives, we had choices, we had fun and now schools have no money so they must cut art, music, PE, recess and basically FUN. State and Local governments keep asking for more money in the way of taxes to dig themselves out of holes to provide better schooling and we give it and they still somehow do not add back those electives or FUN things and still ask for more.
I think that education needs to hit rock bottom before our government realizes that they have royally messed up and start to fix it. We are getting there already, in the fact that States all over have HUGE budget cuts looming for schools. Portland Public schools is trying to propose a 15% property tax increase to cover their butts when we are already the highest property tax county in the State. Salem, OR is talking HUGE cuts of teachers and extracurricular activities. Eugene, OR handed out 108 pink slips last week for FT and PT teachers and aides which was equal to 84 FT jobs.
This all means larger class sizes, less electives, shorter teaching days and/or hours...... so even if I sent my kids to public school..... I think I would be doing them WAY more harm than good.
My boys have been homeschooled for 3 years now and we have thought about sending them back to public school for high school. But with the way things are, that is off the table and they will continue to be homeschooled through high school and I do not feel bad about what that does to the public school system because MY children are MY future and that is what I am concerned about!
As I always tell my daycare kids, worry about yourself not what everyone else is doing and that is how I feel about homeschooling my kids and what it does to the public schools.

Miguels mommy
03-03-2011, 12:20 AM
Do homeschoolers have a responsibility towards the public education system? No, I really hate how public education is run. The money I spend on curriculum would go to school lunch, field trips, and clothing. My energy would be taken up by homework, advocating for ds's needs, and school meetings. I don't feel I would be able to volunteer without becoming extremely frustrated. I really feel I can give back to the community more by raising a happy, healthy child than having him in the school system. I kinda feel we're saving the school system from my son and my son from dealing with the school system.

MarkInMD
03-03-2011, 12:29 AM
One thing I will say I don't mind volunteering for is Tornado's Head Start program that he attends in the morning before pre-K. It's kind of odd that he's in it because usually you have to be below a certain income level to qualify, but we're in a district that doesn't have high enrollment, so he qualified just so they could get their numbers up. Volunteering in Head Start is very important so that they can get continued funding by having volunteers sign the "in-kind" sheets that document the time spent with the class. I think Head Start is an important program, not so much for my son, but definitely for some of the others I see in that room, so if I can contribute in that way, I'll do it. However, I'm also okay with it because I know that it'll be over this school year, and even if we were to continue him in PS, he would be too old for Head Start. Then we're just talking about volunteering at the school itself, and I've done my bit already when Hurricane was there. :)

Batgirl
03-03-2011, 12:56 AM
I chew on this issue frequently from a special education perspective. I pulled Batman out of ps general ed, but we still use the school for speech therapy, occupational therapy, group therapy and a music class. We are there part-time and we still use the most expensive services. For the most part, the teachers and therapists who worked with Batman were caring and knowledgable, but, like Farrar, I also felt disempowered and like a disrespected child. The input I had into my son's behaviour was never given much credence. I was verbally patted on the head more times than I care to recall. Since I pulled him to hs, that has changed. Batman was reevaluated recently for adaptive, social-emotional, speech, fine & gross motor skills, sensory issues and academics. The results meeting was today. They were amazed by this academic gains in less than a year and for the first time ever at one of these meetings, my role was validated. I think being Batman's general ed teacher has gone a long way toward fixing the parent-school imbalance of power.
I know that if I had Batman in school, it might raise awareness, acceptance of, and compassion for, Autism in other kids and parents, something I feel is empowering for them and also vital for spectrum kids to have a decent chance of success in life. If I had Batman and Robin in school, I would have a lot more time available to volunteer for the Special Needs Parent Group in the district, advocate for special needs kids in the ptsa, mentor parents with kids coming into the special needs preschool program (all jobs that have been offered) and otherwise help other people who are going through what I've been through. I've been helped by so many people, I do feel an obligation to give back in some way. But I believe that, as it stands, ps is inherently unable to meet many of my son's needs and that if I enroll him I am compromising his mental and emotional health. So, I'm not going to sacrifice my own kids for the greater good, but I will try to think of something else......eventually.

Stella M
03-03-2011, 02:18 AM
I think - after reflecting on it most of the day - that I feel I do owe the kids who have no choice in their education something. The kids whose families don't have the financial or social resources to provide them with a great community.

My kids and my family don't owe anything but as an individual citizen, I think I do. Tax dollars - well, maybe that's enough, but here, a lot of tax dollars go to wealthy private schools, so maybe that's not enough. And now I wish I hadn't started thinking about this because if I feel I owe those kids something, then I'm going to have to do something about it.

At least I've clarified for myself that I don't owe the schools anything!

I should have stuck to the TV thread. That was nice.

ETA: The trouble with letting the system hit rock bottom is that an awful lot of children will hit rock bottom with it.

MarkInMD
03-03-2011, 05:09 AM
Good for you and your superheroes, Batgirl.

mommykicksbutt
03-03-2011, 07:09 AM
Have any of you seen the Waiting for "Superman" documentary film? It is about the fail school systems in America as it follows 5 children. It is a must watch for every parent and educator in America.

What is our responsibility and how can we help? We, as homeschoolers, are the role models for the educational system. We are doing what is right for the education of our children. We don't dump our responsibilities onto an institution to educate our children for us. There are many parents who don't know this is an option or have misinformed stereotypes of homeschoolers.

Here's an article addressing this in Homeschool Magazine (page 46) http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=62191

kewb22
03-03-2011, 08:11 AM
I support my local schools by paying my taxes. Other then that I don't owe them anything. Selfish, maybe, but I am not willing to sacrifice my children to the education system.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-03-2011, 08:19 AM
LOL which do you have?! I'm sure i've mentioned it a few times, but since he quit his job and he's around while i'm homeschooling, my husband has said several times that, if it was him, someone would die.

Neither! Only a desperate mother's hope that her child will turn out to be a productive member of society and not a sociopath. :) And chocolate...



How is that? i havent heard of that? but i guess I havent actually ever rented an apartment . . . huh . . .

It's a non-profit that provides housing for low- and middle-income families. We seriously hit the jackpot with this place.

Mommykicksbutt: My husband and I just rented "Waiting for Superman" last week. I thought the director's point was that no matter how motivated the student, how involved the parents, and even how affluent the school district (the girl in Silicon Valley), it's traditional schools and the teachers themselves that are currently the biggest hurdle.

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
03-03-2011, 09:02 AM
I feel that as home schoolers we are contributing to the public school system. I know strange right but in reality we are.
I live in Florida and here they do not give us any supplies, or tell us what we should teach. My children are young but I have tried to teach them the way they would learn in the public schools. They have in turn showed me that they are not going to learn that way. So when I decided to look for other options and our schooling got more relaxed they are actually learning more. I say this only because I have seen many studies on the differences (in even the state's test scores) between children in the public school system and home schooled children. And every study has shown that home schooled children do much better in even the socialization aspect that everyone seems to worry so much about. And here the public school system has begun to understand that and now has online school available that is for home schoolers but is still run by the public school system. The good thing is grades 6-12 are under no restrictions. K-5 however your child had to have been in public school for 1 year before you can use the online school. This makes no sense but what really does. The point to that is that they have started to realize that home schooled children have much more to offer and we are all not just locking our children in closets all day and actually spending time with them teaching them. And children really do learn better in smaller groups.

So yes we are all contributing to the public school system. And this is why I do not have an issue with the yearly reporting here in Florida. Even if I still do not understand how to do it yet. LOL It holds us accountable and makes sure that we are teaching our children something. It also gives the school system a look into how children really learn. Because face it or not they have failed to teach our children and this is why many of us have decided to step in and not allow our children to be one of their test subjects.

Stages
03-03-2011, 09:57 AM
I think - after reflecting on it most of the day - that I feel I do owe the kids who have no choice in their education something. The kids whose families don't have the financial or social resources to provide them with a great community.

My kids and my family don't owe anything but as an individual citizen, I think I do. Tax dollars - well, maybe that's enough, but here, a lot of tax dollars go to wealthy private schools, so maybe that's not enough. And now I wish I hadn't started thinking about this because if I feel I owe those kids something, then I'm going to have to do something about it.

At least I've clarified for myself that I don't owe the schools anything!

I should have stuck to the TV thread. That was nice.

ETA: The trouble with letting the system hit rock bottom is that an awful lot of children will hit rock bottom with it.

I can agree that as a responsible citizen, homeschoolers (as concerned parents and capable educators) should want to help other children that don't have the opportunities ours do. I think that's a natural response to seeing other people's suffering when we know of a possible solution.

If I were the person I want to be, I would offer free tutoring services or volunteer in the teen parenting class associated with the high school (Mississippi has the highest teen birth rate in the nation). Unfortunately, I'm the person I am now, and I know I only have so much time and emotional energy. I have to spend that on my family.

I think it's admirable that you feel like you should help. You may not be able to change the entire system, but you can help a child that may otherwise not have anyone looking out for them.

I do worry, however, that anything that involves the school too much would be like putting a Band-aid on a bullet wound. It may slow down the bleeding, but it won't solve the problem.

MrsLOLcat
03-03-2011, 10:28 AM
I started to write an answer last night, but my brain was fried after an awful day, so I'm trying again.

I don't feel any responsibility to the local school district for several reasons:

1. I pay my taxes without complaint. I get that the schools need the money. That much is painfully obvious. So I have paid that particular debt.

2. If I sent my kids to public schools, I would likely get a transfer to a different district rather than sending them to our actual home school. This defeats the purpose of assuming responsibility for the district I live in and is contrary to the purpose that I'm gathering from this thread.

3. If I sent my son to school, they would want to put him on medication. I would have to go through the IEP process, he would be labelled, and I am fully aware that any school would have a helluva time dealing with both his intelligence and his issues in what I would consider an acceptable manner. Given how funding is distributed, they're not going to want to hire someone to deal exclusively with him and maybe one or two others. Having a responsibility to the school in this case would mean that I would have to literally stand over them and make them do their jobs, which seems counterproductive to me. I ain't doin' it.

4. Let's just say for argument's sake that I sent my kids to the home school and that all the other homeschoolers in this area did, too. The idea that we would then make the school better is probably moot because I know if both my kids were in school all day, I'd be in school, too, and would also be doing some form of afterschooling, so I wouldn't be there to volunteer often and the curriculum choices would matter less to me. One could argue that it would be my job to try to improve the school, but if all homeschoolers felt the same way... let's talk reality. How many opinions do you get if you stick 100 homeschoolers in a room together? The administration often ignores parents' opinions regarding curriculum, teachers, funding for various programs, etc. as it is. No way could they make all of us happy.

5. At least in the schools around here, FOOTBALL (and basketball... and baseball...) RULES. Most homeschoolers I know, with one or two exceptions, are more arts- than sports-oriented. If I sent my daughter to school and then discovered that there was no way she could take an art class or play in an orchestra, I'd throw a giant fit. If I took it up as a personal issue and tried to change it, I would likely be met with a lot of resistence from a lot of corners - concession sales would flatline, the anti-obesity folks would step in, and I'm sure the 'teamwork' issue would come up. I doubt progress would be made unless I started something myself, which isn't going to help the funding issue because why buy the cow?

6. The food sucks. Which has very little to do with responsibility on my part and a lot to do with responsibility on their part.

This might all be seen as very defeatist, but in the current education system and situation, I see it as realistic. IMO responsibility for the current school system needs to come from within, not without, and needs to come from the top down. Parents have been begging for change for ages and nothing has been done except to attempt to appease parents who want to use the school as a free babysitter while they're at work. Unless a huge grassroots movement suddenly materializes to fix the education system, I don't think anything's going to be done for a long, long time, and I don't see any way to get in there and make a significant difference. Sad, but true.

leav97
03-03-2011, 11:54 AM
Every citizen of the country should care about the schools. The future depends on it.

But, how much can you care about a system that doesn't want your input?

BrendaE
03-03-2011, 01:05 PM
The public school system in the USA has become such a failure. We are ranked 25th speaking globally. Those are the cream of the crop students ranked 25th BTW. Yes, there are many factors involved. Top tier and straight down to the bottom. One of the things that makes me VERY angry is that it IS also parents. Not just any parents, parents who are religious. An overwhelming amount of American adults are Christians. While they are all not fundies, thats not at issue. It seems to me that most (not all) religious parents have no problem with a biblical side of science being presented. While the fundies take it to the next level. HOW ON EARTH can our children become leaders of science and innovation when 80% of the country and therefore 80% of teachers, textbooks, and science curricula is based out of the stone age? As I said, it is not the only problem, but it IS a problem. One that 80% of Americans will quickly dismiss. So no, I do not owe American Public school systems a dang thing. Not EVEN for the children who wouldnt get it. Not if those children will be fed lies. Parents in this country are just as guilty for this tragedy as anyone else. They are guilty when this is NOT an issue for them and they think it is alright. They are guilty by making good teachers too nervous to teach evolution and the wonder that is out there in the universe yet to be discovered.
These parents INCLUDE the ones who are there everyday, it includes the parents who are active in the childrens school lives and trying to make a difference. It includes them because when it comes right down to it, they choose "god did that" over science.
//rant (almost sorry)

Pilgrim
03-03-2011, 02:02 PM
I grew up with a naive faith in public institutions like school and hospitals, so it's difficult for me to find fault with them and to take the HS route. I was taught that if you don't like something (your school or your country, for instance) then you work to change it -- you don't just turn your back on it.

I like our district and think they're doing as good a job as they can. They're not perfect, and we've been unhappy with some of their choices and their rigidity (honestly, I see individual teachers feeling just as frustrated as we are, not having flexibility or input), but I do support them and I agree with Cara and others that all citizens have an obligation to all children.

Still, I don't see how pulling our two out of PS harms other kids in any way. I think, whether we PS or HS, we have a responsibility to raise our children to be kind, responsible, happy members of society. How they get to that point doesn't matter.

bovinesituation
03-03-2011, 03:06 PM
We pay taxes, so there's that.

Also, our school system is massively overcrowded. I am keeping them from having to provide space, transportation, etc. for 2 kids.

As far as volunteering - I volunteer at the library. Both HS and PS kids benefit.

During the last few months I wondered if I was turning my back on PS by HSing, but I don't have that much fight in me to take on the school system or even the school. I'm not sacrificing my kids to fight that battle.

Stella M
03-03-2011, 04:04 PM
I guess the answer's no then ? :)

Stages, I hear you! What I should do and what I can do are two different things also..

archibael
03-03-2011, 04:45 PM
I will not sacrifice my children on the altar of a god. Whether that god happens to be named "YHVH" or named "social responsibility" doesn't matter to me.

I have done volunteer teaching (still do!) in public elementary schools and seen how the bright children in those schools are hammered down socially for the very things which make them special, and have witnessed the effect on children of parents who just don't care (or who think they care but don't care about the right things). Even if I were given unlimited funds and granted the power of changing the schools to suit my ideal of what they should be, without the parents taking an active role in caring about and reviewing the curriculum (not just the resulting grades!) we would still be sunk. The public schools are succeeding at the thing they are most wanted for: babysitting and acting as spawning grounds for conformist, easily manipulated non-critical thinkers. Based on my conversations I've had with people, parents are content with "good enough" and aren't willing to go the extra mile to get to "great". Most parents don't want to be bothered. So be it.

"Waiting for Superman" was a great movie, and exposed a lot of idiocy in the system, but what it told me is that parents have been asleep at the wheel for 40 years and delegating their responsibilities to a system without acting as managers of that system. Sure, they bitch when the outcomes are unimpressive and agree to throw more money at the problem, but money is only a tiny fraction of the issue. Parents have to see their children's education as something THEY own, not something someone else owns. Even if they are not involved day to day as home schooling parents are, parents MUST view their child's education as their OWN responsibility. And that is a cultural shift I am not certain we are ready for.

So, do I feel guilty of depriving the public schools of my kids? Of my dedication to improving my kids' education?

Hell, no.

I'm giving society my children, teaching them that they can and should change the world, and preparing them to do so with a good education. That is the best gift that I can give.

bovinesituation
03-03-2011, 04:57 PM
I will not sacrifice my children on the altar of a god. Whether that god happens to be named "YHVH" or named "social responsibility" doesn't matter to me.

I have done volunteer teaching (still do!) in public elementary schools and seen how the bright children in those schools are hammered down socially for the very things which make them special, and have witnessed the effect on children of parents who just don't care (or who think they care but don't care about the right things). Even if I were given unlimited funds and granted the power of changing the schools to suit my ideal of what they should be, without the parents taking an active role in caring about and reviewing the curriculum (not just the resulting grades!) we would still be sunk. The public schools are succeeding at the thing they are most wanted for: babysitting and acting as spawning grounds for conformist, easily manipulated non-critical thinkers. Based on my conversations I've had with people, parents are content with "good enough" and aren't willing to go the extra mile to get to "great". Most parents don't want to be bothered. So be it.

"Waiting for Superman" was a great movie, and exposed a lot of idiocy in the system, but what it told me is that parents have been asleep at the wheel for 40 years and delegating their responsibilities to a system without acting as managers of that system. Sure, they bitch when the outcomes are unimpressive and agree to throw more money at the problem, but money is only a tiny fraction of the issue. Parents have to see their children's education as something THEY own, not something someone else owns. Even if they are not involved day to day as home schooling parents are, parents MUST view their child's education as their OWN responsibility. And that is a cultural shift I am not certain we are ready for.

So, do I feel guilty of depriving the public schools of my kids? Of my dedication to improving my kids' education?

Hell, no.

I'm giving society my children, teaching them that they can and should change the world, and preparing them to do so with a good education. That is the best gift that I can give.

*standing ovation*

lynne
03-03-2011, 05:35 PM
"Waiting for Superman" was a great movie, and exposed a lot of idiocy in the system, but what it told me is that parents have been asleep at the wheel for 40 years and delegating their responsibilities to a system without acting as managers of that system. Sure, they bitch when the outcomes are unimpressive and agree to throw more money at the problem, but money is only a tiny fraction of the issue. Parents have to see their children's education as something THEY own, not something someone else owns. Even if they are not involved day to day as home schooling parents are, parents MUST view their child's education as their OWN responsibility. And that is a cultural shift I am not certain we are ready for.

This. I'll admit I was one of those parents until a few months back. I thought my only responsibility was to find a "good" school so we were careful about selecting a house in a neighborhood so our kids could attend a "school of excellence" with great reviews. So I did place his education into the school's hands and took for granted they were teaching him everything he needed. For some reason I started getting concerned over what seemed to be a very weak curriculum. For a while I tried supplementing what they were doing in school because I realized he was really not learning much there. He was making good grades so if I hadn't looked closely at what he was actually working on, he could still be there. I fear he would have never worked to his potential there and probably would have never developed a love for learning. I'm so grateful that I figured it out now while I'm still able to do something about it.

Anyhow, I can see how parents fall into that because they figure 1) highly rated school - check and 2) child making good grades - check, everything is great. But it wasn't.

Kylie
03-03-2011, 05:36 PM
Love This!!!


I will not sacrifice my children on the altar of a god. Whether that god happens to be named "YHVH" or named "social responsibility" doesn't matter to me.

I have done volunteer teaching (still do!) in public elementary schools and seen how the bright children in those schools are hammered down socially for the very things which make them special, and have witnessed the effect on children of parents who just don't care (or who think they care but don't care about the right things). Even if I were given unlimited funds and granted the power of changing the schools to suit my ideal of what they should be, without the parents taking an active role in caring about and reviewing the curriculum (not just the resulting grades!) we would still be sunk. The public schools are succeeding at the thing they are most wanted for: babysitting and acting as spawning grounds for conformist, easily manipulated non-critical thinkers. Based on my conversations I've had with people, parents are content with "good enough" and aren't willing to go the extra mile to get to "great". Most parents don't want to be bothered. So be it.

"Waiting for Superman" was a great movie, and exposed a lot of idiocy in the system, but what it told me is that parents have been asleep at the wheel for 40 years and delegating their responsibilities to a system without acting as managers of that system. Sure, they bitch when the outcomes are unimpressive and agree to throw more money at the problem, but money is only a tiny fraction of the issue. Parents have to see their children's education as something THEY own, not something someone else owns. Even if they are not involved day to day as home schooling parents are, parents MUST view their child's education as their OWN responsibility. And that is a cultural shift I am not certain we are ready for.

So, do I feel guilty of depriving the public schools of my kids? Of my dedication to improving my kids' education?

Hell, no.

I'm giving society my children, teaching them that they can and should change the world, and preparing them to do so with a good education. That is the best gift that I can give.

Kylie
03-03-2011, 05:39 PM
I have to agree here, parents are just as much to blame, when they aren't happy they just cop it sweet, and will whinge with the other mums at the schoolyard gate, what's up with that! When we as homeschoolers aren't happy with a curicculum choice we ditch it, and look for an alternative that works (I realise it is way more than curriculum but you get my drift). Until parents....ALL PARENTS...take a stand there will be no real change, at least in IMHO anyway.


The public school system in the USA has become such a failure. We are ranked 25th speaking globally. Those are the cream of the crop students ranked 25th BTW. Yes, there are many factors involved. Top tier and straight down to the bottom. One of the things that makes me VERY angry is that it IS also parents. Not just any parents, parents who are religious. An overwhelming amount of American adults are Christians. While they are all not fundies, thats not at issue. It seems to me that most (not all) religious parents have no problem with a biblical side of science being presented. While the fundies take it to the next level. HOW ON EARTH can our children become leaders of science and innovation when 80% of the country and therefore 80% of teachers, textbooks, and science curricula is based out of the stone age? As I said, it is not the only problem, but it IS a problem. One that 80% of Americans will quickly dismiss. So no, I do not owe American Public school systems a dang thing. Not EVEN for the children who wouldnt get it. Not if those children will be fed lies. Parents in this country are just as guilty for this tragedy as anyone else. They are guilty when this is NOT an issue for them and they think it is alright. They are guilty by making good teachers too nervous to teach evolution and the wonder that is out there in the universe yet to be discovered.
These parents INCLUDE the ones who are there everyday, it includes the parents who are active in the childrens school lives and trying to make a difference. It includes them because when it comes right down to it, they choose "god did that" over science.
//rant (almost sorry)

farrarwilliams
03-03-2011, 09:36 PM
I'm afraid to watch Waiting for Superman. I just... strongly dislike Michelle Rhee and I feel like I got PLENTY of her living in DC, thank you very much. I feel like if I watched the movie, I'd just be apoplectic by the end.

MarkInMD
03-03-2011, 10:11 PM
This. I'll admit I was one of those parents until a few months back. I thought my only responsibility was to find a "good" school so we were careful about selecting a house in a neighborhood so our kids could attend a "school of excellence" with great reviews. So I did place his education into the school's hands and took for granted they were teaching him everything he needed. For some reason I started getting concerned over what seemed to be a very weak curriculum. For a while I tried supplementing what they were doing in school because I realized he was really not learning much there. He was making good grades so if I hadn't looked closely at what he was actually working on, he could still be there. I fear he would have never worked to his potential there and probably would have never developed a love for learning. I'm so grateful that I figured it out now while I'm still able to do something about it.

Anyhow, I can see how parents fall into that because they figure 1) highly rated school - check and 2) child making good grades - check, everything is great. But it wasn't.

That was one of our motivations for moving where we currently live when Hurricane was a year old. It's just so ingrained that you have to be in the "right" district. The problem is that while this is a great elementary district, it feeds into a horrendous middle school, both academically and socially. The only other alternative public middle schools in our area aren't much better, and the high schools are middling at best. So if we'd kept him in school, after 5th grade, the significance of our move would've been negated.

And I will also applaud Brenda and archibael.

lynne
03-03-2011, 10:25 PM
I'm afraid to watch Waiting for Superman. I just... strongly dislike Michelle Rhee and I feel like I got PLENTY of her living in DC, thank you very much. I feel like if I watched the movie, I'd just be apoplectic by the end.

I saw it a couple months ago. I don't remember Michelle Rhee but my take away from the film was that it was very pro-charter schools. It really showed how their scores are higher and all of the kids do well, etc. But I remembered thinking there were some things about the school that I didn't like, for example they talked about how the school will call your home if you're running late or something weird like that.

But the main thing was that you could only get into the charter schools through the lottery system, which we have here too. I applied both my boys to the charter school here, just to see and they were numbers 81 and 131 on the wait list, lol. So it was sad at the end of the movie seeing the families that didn't get accepted and how disappointed they were.

InstinctiveMom
03-03-2011, 10:42 PM
<snip> I thought the director's point was that no matter how motivated the student, how involved the parents, and even how affluent the school district (the girl in Silicon Valley), it's traditional schools and the teachers themselves that are currently the biggest hurdle.

See... this is how I feel.
IF the school system were 'fixable', then yes - involved parents could and would make a difference. Our school system is BEYOND broken. I don't feel that it can be fixed without dismantling the whole thing and building anew. I was as involved as I could be - I spent nearly as much time at my kids school as they did, in as many capacities as I could reasonably fill, and in the end, it came down to MY CHILD'S NEEDS not being met.

Like Mark said, I pay my taxes. That's enough involvement for me. Without my child to draw on those funds, the school system can put that money to use in an area that needs it.
~h

mommykicksbutt
03-04-2011, 07:02 AM
I will not sacrifice my children on the altar of a god. Whether that god happens to be named "YHVH" or named "social responsibility" doesn't matter to me.

I have done volunteer teaching (still do!) in public elementary schools and seen how the bright children in those schools are hammered down socially for the very things which make them special, and have witnessed the effect on children of parents who just don't care (or who think they care but don't care about the right things). Even if I were given unlimited funds and granted the power of changing the schools to suit my ideal of what they should be, without the parents taking an active role in caring about and reviewing the curriculum (not just the resulting grades!) we would still be sunk. The public schools are succeeding at the thing they are most wanted for: babysitting and acting as spawning grounds for conformist, easily manipulated non-critical thinkers. Based on my conversations I've had with people, parents are content with "good enough" and aren't willing to go the extra mile to get to "great". Most parents don't want to be bothered. So be it.

"Waiting for Superman" was a great movie, and exposed a lot of idiocy in the system, but what it told me is that parents have been asleep at the wheel for 40 years and delegating their responsibilities to a system without acting as managers of that system. Sure, they bitch when the outcomes are unimpressive and agree to throw more money at the problem, but money is only a tiny fraction of the issue. Parents have to see their children's education as something THEY own, not something someone else owns. Even if they are not involved day to day as home schooling parents are, parents MUST view their child's education as their OWN responsibility. And that is a cultural shift I am not certain we are ready for.

So, do I feel guilty of depriving the public schools of my kids? Of my dedication to improving my kids' education?

Hell, no.

I'm giving society my children, teaching them that they can and should change the world, and preparing them to do so with a good education. That is the best gift that I can give.

*stands and applauds this post*

Dutchbabiesx2
03-04-2011, 11:50 AM
well, Archibael says it well, I am agreement. I feel no responsibility to the schools, by bringing my children back home where they will learn to behave like an adult, we will contribute to society when they are adults, acting like adults. My children need to be children, innocent and in some ways naive to the world, without the judgments of those who misunderstand. Why must my 8 year old be sexualized by exposure to other people's ideas. I want to allow my sons to play with other children on their terms and not be teased, bullied or tormented by people (kids and adults) who have not learned how to handle social situations.
The damage public school does is far far far worse than any benefit they could get out of having my family imprisoned by skewed social norms.

we are happy homeschoolers! I need a bumper sticker that says that, next to my Obama sticker . . .that will confuse people ;)

MarkInMD
03-04-2011, 12:20 PM
How about a bumper sticker that says, "My homeschooler is more well-adjusted than your honor student." :)

Dutchbabiesx2
03-04-2011, 12:49 PM
How about a bumper sticker that says, "My homeschooler is more well-adjusted than your honor student." :)


ok, you make up the sticker, we will buy them!! But I need something that suggests I don't wear a romper . . . .

Teri
03-04-2011, 01:47 PM
The school system, as it was originally designed, was meant for those that could not afford a private education. It was meant to educate the masses to work in a factory and be worker bees.

This is a quote from Woodrow Wilson:
We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

* “The Meaning of a Liberal Education”, Address to the New York City High School Teachers Association (9 January 1909).

archibael
03-04-2011, 02:11 PM
That may be the most damning quote of all, Teri.

(I don't mean to demonize Wilson-- in context, in a society based primarily on manual labor, this was probably not as evil as it sounds to us today. But in today's world, it's pretty clear public education would have to have a massive reconfiguration in order to achieve comparable goals of mass education toward a productive workforce)

Teri
03-04-2011, 02:48 PM
I think that it speaks to the fact that the system is NOT broken. It is doing what it was intended to do. If we want to create an educated, highly qualified workforce the system needs to be changed, not fixed.
I guess I never answered the original question. I don't feel like we owe the public school system anything. We pay our taxes. Since the system was originally set up to train the masses to be productive and those that could afford it, went elsewhere for their education, why SHOULD we feel obligated to it?

MarkInMD
03-04-2011, 02:53 PM
That is one enlightening quote. Wow.

Dutchbabiesx2
03-04-2011, 03:22 PM
what might be different from 1909 to today is the 'dream' of going to college, how the measure of success is to get into college. We have a private Xtian school here who is spending money to advertise that their students get higher ACT scores. We went from giving the masses a vocation to building them up to too high expectations. Yes, a good proportion needs to attend higher education, but a bigger proportion would do well to get to 18 with skills they can either use until retirement, or to bridge them while they work on higher education. We live in a largely educated non diverse area, so we are not a good area to compare.
I know for many of the countries listed on the top 100 academic/happiness/educated/healthiest list they offer many students skills training before the age of 18, they are tracked from middle grade or earlier, but always the possibility of moving up. If we are telling a portion of society that would be good skilled labor that they aren't successful unless they attend unaffordable college they are destined to a life of crime and drugs . . .well hello. People should have opportunity, but they should also be given opportunity to have skills to have a job to contribute to society and strive for food on their table.

missourimom
03-04-2011, 03:48 PM
I am a part of a few Christian HS boards & see this come up frequently. Here is a quote someone else posted from a pastor reflecting on this same issue, but with the Christian standpoint of course:


One of the foremost criticisms from Christians who oppose the Exodus Mandate's agenda of encouraging Christian parents to remove their children from the public education system is, "Christian children should not be taken out of public schools because they are serving as 'salt and light' to their classmates and carrying out the Great Commission." (See Matt. 5:13-14 and Matt. 28:18-20)

It goes without saying that ALL Christians have a responsibility to be "salt and light" and help fulfill the Great Commission as commanded by our Lord. However, the salt and light theological argument is being grossly misapplied to children at the K though 12 level.

The fact is children at the K-12 levels are not mature enough nor are they properly equipped..."

It is interesting that there is opposition no matter which side of the fence you reside.

IMO, the responsibility of raising the test scores or improving overall behavior of a public school is not for our children to carry. Those are burdens for the adults to handle. Public school parents should be more involved, school boards should get on the classroom level more frequently & get in touch with what is truly going on in the schools and the school should do more individual assessments & stop 'teaching the test' as a way to show who passes & who fails. We, as homeschool parents, do all this & more.

Teri
03-04-2011, 03:49 PM
I absolutely agree with you Dutchbabies. Our society has created an environment that tells us that unless you have a college education and are an extremely educated (insert profession here), that you are not successful. However, our society also cannot function without the trades.
It won't fix it though, to keep trying to force PhD's out of a system created to train manual laborers. We need to recreate a system that will allow the kids that shine academically to get the education that they are capable of and deserve and we need to train the kids that don't have the desire or maybe even the ability to continue an advanced education. If we can steer these kids in the directions they need to go early on and do a bang-up job when they get there, maybe we wouldn't have a lot of the issues that we have now. Focus on training for the kids that will go into trades and focus on advanced education for the kids who will eventually go to college.
It goes back to the point that the system is doing what it was designed to do and we can't make it create academically superior students without significant change to the model.

MarkInMD
03-04-2011, 04:26 PM
Yes, exactly. And in my opinion, the way to make more PhDs or at least experts is to identify strengths as early as possible and nurture them, even if that means it's at the expense of other areas. Take Hurricane for example. He's obviously a scientist by nature. That means that we stress science more than a subject like, say, phys. ed. If it means shortening one subject so that we can more fully examine a topic in science, we do that. I believe that as a result, he'll become well-versed in what it is he really wants to do in life and not get bogged down by busywork in other subjects that aren't going to be as germane to what he'll wind up doing. It just makes sense to me that you accentuate the strong areas and not stress over other weaknesses that don't pertain to it. (I don't care if he can ever shoot a basketball if he becomes a well-respected storm tracker/researcher.)

This, of course, assumes that there won't be a major shift in his interests later on, but I think most of us can pretty much tell what our kids are like early on, if we're paying attention. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Tornado follow a similar path into a scientific field, although probably a different one from his brother.

hockeymom
03-04-2011, 04:39 PM
Well Mark, now I'm guilted into getting more serious about science for my son! Science is clearly his thing too, yet I don't spend a whole lot of time on it. Mainly because I don't share his interest, nor do I know how to do it justice for someone who is always a step (or many) ahead of me. Can I veer off topic here for a moment and ask what sort of curriculum or program (if any) you use with Hurricane? I'm seeking something new for next year (Chemistry) and our two kids sound so much alike, I'd take any recommendation from you.

*feeling guilty...*

BrendaE
03-04-2011, 04:53 PM
Chemistry!!!

A little OT but if you do nothing else PLEASE get to the toy store or better yet young scientist store and buy the coolest most awesome chemistry kit you can find! Let them have at it! I think I was 9 years old when I got mine... it was and is one of the best, most fun, memories of my entire childhood. At 8 I got the biology kit with the dead frog in it. I was out back way in the forest with it one summer dissecting it .... but when it was over, I felt bad so I buried it and had a frog funeral service. Headstone and all.

Anyway.. some of the best parts of science were curriculum and parent free. It was wonderful. Also: Its not always just one branch of science a "little" scientist can/will enjoy/excel at. To this very day I enjoy every kind of science passionately except perhaps hmm nope.. I love it all.... EVERYTHING is connected. It really is.

I dont know if it is genetics or environment but my DD is the same way. She does have more sense than to blow things up with the chemistry kit though ( I didnt mouahha).

jettyspagetti
03-04-2011, 04:57 PM
I love this thread. I struggle with a lot of guilt regarding our public schools. Before we took the plunge into homeschooling, I was that PTA organizing, class mom parent. I spent so much time volunteering and helping the kids that it was hard to cut that cord. I would see so many children that didn't have the support from home and see some of the more jaded teachers basically write off students as young as 7 as low acheivers. My son and his classmates were constantly hounded by the Ghost of FCAT yet to come. He never did well on standardized tests while his education depended on it and the pressure on these kids- well it's just insane. Once I realize that homeschooling was a possiblity, we leapt for it.
While I wish that I had time to still volunteer at our local school, I don't. I do however phone/email/call my elected representatives and let them know my perspective and stance on education issues. I spend time with my son's public school friends and help them with their homework and I try to include them in educational activities and modeling a lifelong love of learning. I feel like I am more effective outside of the school than I was in it sometimes. When I'm stuck on the sidelines watching my children's sports practices, so many of the other parents will complain about this or that in the school system. It is striking to me how few of them seem to follow up on their complaints. I want to shake them and make them understand that this isn't just their children they are letting settle for mediocracy but an entire generation that will one day be in charge of our world. Which feeds back into the guilt I have about not helping more. If I can raise my own two children to be productive, happy and fulfilled members of society it will be enough. If I have any energy and a brain cell or two left in my head by the time I finish, maybe then I can help more.

Stella M
03-04-2011, 04:58 PM
I get what everyone is saying - and I think some time ago I posted that I could see we don't owe anything to the system itself and yes, I agree it's broken, that's why I'm homeschooling my kids! - but what about the kids whose parents will never engage with their education ? Who have no hope at all of ever being offered alternative models of education ? Kids from communities - like the school my Aunt teaches at where the population is 90% refugee families - limited English, dealing with trauma. Do we just hope our own well-educated children grow up to help those families and children ? Maybe at the very least we need, as a privileged community - and we are privileged - to get information about educational options to these families through a means other than the schools. I just can't agree that my responsibility ends with my taxes and/or my own children.

Ok, back to Hockeymom...science...

hockeymom
03-04-2011, 04:59 PM
Oh we have a bookshelf full of chemistry sets, but DS can't pick something up and just USE it or figure it out on his own--he has to have someone show him how to do every.little.thing. So he doesn't use building sets or Lego either unless one of us there doing it with him, showing him how to make something (anything! a tower!), step by step. He's not, shall we say, an intuitive kid when it comes to play. Nothing is parent-free in this house, but not for lack of trying on our part.

Sorry, now I've really taken over this thread and totally didn't mean to. So I'll answer the question instead. No, I don't feel guilty about taking my kid out of the school system and denying them his test score. They get my tax dollars, happily, but since they didn't give my child what he needed, then they don't get to have him. Simple as that.

Kylie
03-04-2011, 05:01 PM
Ok just reading some of the responses on this page......I personally know 2 high schooled teens here in Oz that are receiving job training whilst still working towards their high school diploma. My cousin is doing some type of office traineeship 2 days a week and then goes to school 3 days a week (all organsied through the school) and a friends daughter worked 5 days a week for the entire 2010 school year (she is 14 or 15) but it was her 'school year' and it was all organised through the school.

Not that I understand this very well, but the kids, on entering high school, choose a path....college bound or not...they then know what subjects they need/can choose and if they have the options of doing 'on the job training' that counts towards their high school diploma.

Does this kind of stuff not happen in the US?

Kylie
03-04-2011, 05:02 PM
The school system, as it was originally designed, was meant for those that could not afford a private education. It was meant to educate the masses to work in a factory and be worker bees.

This is a quote from Woodrow Wilson:
We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

* “The Meaning of a Liberal Education”, Address to the New York City High School Teachers Association (9 January 1909).

Keeping this and using it from time to time....agree that technicallythe system is doing what it was first created to do.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
03-04-2011, 05:15 PM
Public school parents should be more involved, school boards should get on the classroom level more frequently & get in touch with what is truly going on in the schools and the school should do more individual assessments & stop 'teaching the test' as a way to show who passes & who fails. We, as homeschool parents, do all this & more.

How would parents affect the enormous sea change necessary to fix public education? I have the impression that if you went to your child's teacher, she would say, "That's what the school tells me to teach." If you went to the principal, she would say, "That's what the state tells us to teach." If you go to the state level, they would say, "We would love to make education better, but we won't get our federal dollars if we don't accept the Race to the Top standards and the teacher's unions resist changes." Where does a parent even begin?

I have been thinking about assessments, ever since a mother of one of my son's kindergarten classmates asked me how I know that he's "keeping up" without his taking standardized tests. We homeschooling parents have a huge advantage over teachers in that we can assess our students daily, hourly, in every subject. We can see when they are struggling with a concept or need extra practice with something before moving on. Teachers assess students, what, twice each year? This is how students fall through the cracks and get promoted until all of a sudden they are lost or hopelessly behind. A parent who wanted to make sure their child was understanding the material and meeting academic benchmarks would really have to do their own assessment, subject by subject. How many parents can and would do that?

I read an article in the New York Times about the explosion of students entering the CUNY system that need remedial classes before they can take college level courses. Many of them are immigrants, and it sounds like CUNY is doing an amazing job at getting them into successful careers. But this seems like a problem nationwide at community colleges, even for native English speaking graduates of US high schools. Someone in the article used the analogy that if high school is a factory, the products are coming out defective.

Stages
03-04-2011, 05:30 PM
Ok just reading some of the responses on this page......I personally know 2 high schooled teens here in Oz that are receiving job training whilst still working towards their high school diploma. My cousin is doing some type of office traineeship 2 days a week and then goes to school 3 days a week (all organsied through the school) and a friends daughter worked 5 days a week for the entire 2010 school year (she is 14 or 15) but it was her 'school year' and it was all organised through the school.

Not that I understand this very well, but the kids, on entering high school, choose a path....college bound or not...they then know what subjects they need/can choose and if they have the options of doing 'on the job training' that counts towards their high school diploma.

Does this kind of stuff not happen in the US?

The High School I went to had a vocational program with classes on welding, auto mechanics, and other things like that. Students would go to the Vocational/Technical Building (Votech) for two class periods- all together about two hours- every day. These classes took the place of electives, but the student still had to follow the typical graduation requirements. I believe they only offered levels I and II, and a student could take two years in the same subject, but couldn't switch. (For example, Jimmy can take Welding I and II, but not Welding I and Auto Mechanics I.) But very few other schools do.

My husband and I have discusses at length the need for real vocational training for high-school age kids. College degrees have lost much of their value simply because nearly everyone goes to college, even when they would be better served in a vocational program.

dbmamaz
03-04-2011, 06:12 PM
I'm pretty sure vo-tech has been cut at a lot of schools because the vo-tech classes dont help the kids pass the states standards exams. The govt's initiative to improve schools is ONLY to improve test scores, NOT to improve genuine choice or practical education.

MarkInMD
03-04-2011, 07:47 PM
Well Mark, now I'm guilted into getting more serious about science for my son! Science is clearly his thing too, yet I don't spend a whole lot of time on it. Mainly because I don't share his interest, nor do I know how to do it justice for someone who is always a step (or many) ahead of me. Can I veer off topic here for a moment and ask what sort of curriculum or program (if any) you use with Hurricane? I'm seeking something new for next year (Chemistry) and our two kids sound so much alike, I'd take any recommendation from you.

*feeling guilty...*

Well, there's not any specific text that we use consistently. We do have a book called Daily Science by Evan-Moor Publishers that lays out different "Big Ideas" and has four or five-week lesson plans with a topic relating to the big idea for each day. We just finished the fossil section and decided to explore that a bit more through other materials, as there was a strong interest there. Lately we've been getting books by DK Publishing (Eye Wonder) and just reading through them together, then taking tangents as they come up to discuss it further. For instance, we're reading a book about dinosaurs now, and that brings up a lot of possibilities relating to evolution. Today it led to us talking about Darwin and concepts like survival of the fittest, even though Darwin isn't even mentioned in that book. Then, rather than a worksheet or test or anything at the end of the book, we plan to do a project like a diorama or trifold poster to illustrate what he's learned about. In that sense we're unschooling, I guess. We plan to get to chemistry at some point, too, possibly after we do a more in-depth space unit, as space and chemistry are connected. That may not be until next school year, though.

That's about the best I can offer you. I'd just try to follow where he leads and find books at his grade/reading level that cover it. Maybe that helps?

rumbledolly
03-04-2011, 08:04 PM
We pay taxes that in part fund public schools in this county/state. That's enough involvement for me.

I agree but right now I'd sure like my money back! I do wish our educational system wasn't so broken. I'd still want to HS but I wouldn't be forced to HS. I always felt the system wanted my child to help with the test scores like Cara mentioned in her post.

rumbledolly
03-04-2011, 08:10 PM
I'm pretty sure vo-tech has been cut at a lot of schools because the vo-tech classes dont help the kids pass the states standards exams. The govt's initiative to improve schools is ONLY to improve test scores, NOT to improve genuine choice or practical education.

I do know the Voc here in our town has had a lot of cuts and I suspect it's due to the state standards. This at a time when more and more kids are looking at Voc to teach them a skill for future employment. Seems odd. I do know a few kids who really made some great decisions based on what they learned at the Voc. One is in school for medical assistant training but she has her sights set on being an RN once she can work and save some money. Another is at community college to save money and wants to work in engineering after he gets a 4 year degree.

Batgirl
03-04-2011, 08:13 PM
[QUOTE=AddlepatedMonkeyMama;29702]How would parents affect the enormous sea change necessary to fix public education? I have the impression that if you went to your child's teacher, she would say, "That's what the school tells me to teach." If you went to the principal, she would say, "That's what the state tells us to teach." If you go to the state level, they would say, "We would love to make education better, but we won't get our federal dollars if we don't accept the Race to the Top standards and the teacher's unions resist changes." Where does a parent even begin?Quote]

Well, the first thing the parents can start with is the chain of command-- They need to take their concerns to the teacher and the principle and higher, if necessary. All of the parents, with all of their concerns. Since I pulled my son from school I've heard from several parents whose kids were not learning. In all cases they discovered the problem, got their child tutoring, and never reported these problems to the school. They just complain amongst themselves but no one wants to rock the boat by saying anything. The schools need to hear about what is not working, repeatedly, from everyone. If it's one parent complaining they can dismiss it, but if it's dozens, they're going to try to do something. Even if that something is ineffective. And if enough parents complain that the first solution isn't working, they'll try again with another. At least in my experience they will. But it takes groups of parents who are willing to speak up and work constructively for a solution and it takes time.

One time a few years ago a special needs mom at Batman's elementary school arranged to have all of the specialists and spec ed. teachers at the school one evening to talk about their program and answer questions. (This school houses a self-contained program and an resource room, mainstreaming program.) The parents were notified well in advance. No one came. Not one parent.

Parents first need to start showing up. Then they need to be willing to discuss their concerns and work with the school to find answers. I believe real change can only occur from the bottom up.

lynne
03-04-2011, 08:43 PM
When we left the school, I emailed the principal that my son wasn't learning enough. He never asked one question. I never heard from him at all. They don't care. They are still getting their paychecks whether they're good or bad. And the school is overcrowded even with a year around schedule so to them, it's just a more comfortable classroom.

Kylie
03-05-2011, 12:53 AM
[QUOTE=AddlepatedMonkeyMama;29702]How would parents affect the enormous sea change necessary to fix public education? I have the impression that if you went to your child's teacher, she would say, "That's what the school tells me to teach." If you went to the principal, she would say, "That's what the state tells us to teach." If you go to the state level, they would say, "We would love to make education better, but we won't get our federal dollars if we don't accept the Race to the Top standards and the teacher's unions resist changes." Where does a parent even begin?Quote]

Well, the first thing the parents can start with is the chain of command-- They need to take their concerns to the teacher and the principle and higher, if necessary. All of the parents, with all of their concerns. Since I pulled my son from school I've heard from several parents whose kids were not learning. In all cases they discovered the problem, got their child tutoring, and never reported these problems to the school. They just complain amongst themselves but no one wants to rock the boat by saying anything. The schools need to hear about what is not working, repeatedly, from everyone. If it's one parent complaining they can dismiss it, but if it's dozens, they're going to try to do something. Even if that something is ineffective. And if enough parents complain that the first solution isn't working, they'll try again with another. At least in my experience they will. But it takes groups of parents who are willing to speak up and work constructively for a solution and it takes time.

One time a few years ago a special needs mom at Batman's elementary school arranged to have all of the specialists and spec ed. teachers at the school one evening to talk about their program and answer questions. (This school houses a self-contained program and an resource room, mainstreaming program.) The parents were notified well in advance. No one came. Not one parent.

Parents first need to start showing up. Then they need to be willing to discuss their concerns and work with the school to find answers. I believe real change can only occur from the bottom up.This is my take on it also, each and eaverynparent needs to complain each and single time.

In relation to vocational training we had that here when I was doing high, but I was quite impressed to hear how it has progressed to real longer term on the job training.

anywaybecause
03-05-2011, 11:16 AM
I finally have the time to sit down & put in my two cents. For me, the taxes I pay are enough of a contribution to the schools. We used to live in the next town over, where every year the town council would whine and complain about budget issues and threaten to cut the school budget if the citizens didn't approve this or that referendum. But the high school had a *huge* addition put on, with a state-of-the-art auditorium. The town spent massive amounts of money to reconstruct the traffic patterns through the center of town and to turn a rotary into an accident waiting to happen. I am of the firm belief that they are mismanaging the town's money, and/or lining their own pockets, and I'm glad to be free of the constant political bickering.

Our new neighborhood is a mile away from a private school. If I were sending my kids there instead of educating them at home, I don't think I would be asked to justify my reasons for not supporting the public schools. But because I am not forking over astronomical sums of money for their education, and am instead tackling the project myself, I am supposed to feel guilty that my kids are not in the public schools? Nope. When the neighborhood kids knock on my door for their fundraisers, I always try to buy something, even if it's the cheapest thing on the page, but I'm not going to subject my kids to the latest pendulum swing of educational theory and classroom management techniques.

dbmamaz
03-05-2011, 11:26 AM
btw, I remember having a conversation like this when my kids were not yet school aged - i had just moved to VA from a commune in MO, and I was hanging around a lot at the sister commune here in VA as we got settled in. One ex-communard was saying how she thought it was irresponsible for other ex-communards to put their kids in expensive private schools (the nearest montessori was popular) because it just was isolating the kids from the real world. Instead, we should be the moms on the PTA, the moms in the school every day, etc. But of course, the members of the VA commune were all very in to political activism, and I never was - nor was the commune I lived on in MO.

my point being simply that yes, some ppl believe it is a negative thing to send kids to private school. its elitist - you should be of and with 'the people'. whatever.

MarkInMD
03-05-2011, 11:39 AM
my point being simply that yes, some ppl believe it is a negative thing to send kids to private school. its elitist - you should be of and with 'the people'. whatever.

But what if those people suck? :)

dbmamaz
03-05-2011, 12:21 PM
But what if those people suck? :)
Oh, well then you obviously arent being elitist, right?!

MarkInMD
03-05-2011, 01:44 PM
To anyone who could see what our house looks like on this fine Saturday afternoon, the word "elitist" would not be among the top 1000 to come to mind. :)

Stella M
03-05-2011, 04:33 PM
Ok, this thread has me convinced I need to try harder at suppressing my bleeding heart liberal tendencies.

BrendaE
03-05-2011, 04:57 PM
What WOULD work then? Other countries are doing it better than the USA. They are also doing just the OPPOSITE. They didnt throw more money at it either. Example? The country testing the highest of all was once in our educational mediocre school results bracket. Its Finland. They made some changes.

-The kids dont start school until they are 7 years old
-The kids remain with the same teacher as they advance through their elementary school
-Elementary school lasts right up to high school, thus eliminating "middle" school and the stress that changing schools and teachers etc brings
-The got rid of national testing except for the one when they graduate at age 18
-The teachers all have masters degrees and spend about half the time they work on professional development
-The children are all given free meals and medical care
-The children spend LESS time in class and have WAY less homework (compared to schools in the USA)
-There ARE national standards. They are brief. The teachers get to decide HOW to teach classes to achieve the standards.
-The test scores were high REGARDLESS of economic factors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am sure there are more that I cannot think of at the very moment. Sweden, while not allowing home school really, and at least way up north above the Arctic Circle, had these same things going on. It was REALLY lovely and the best thing I could have hoped for. I did panic a few times when DD came home to tell me the whole class had been out bike riding through town a few Kilometers away for most of the day...and there was no parent warning/notification/permission.... But.. the teacher was like the childrens other parent. They were all comfy in socks when inside, they had candles and were allowed to LIGHT them on their desks daily, there were always the teacher Bosse (they called him by his first name), and a few teachers in training around... this was all in what the USA considers 6th grade. They had been with him since they were 7.


Anyway.. What we're doing in the USA for public schools.... I DO NOT understand why we are not trying to model what WORKS, not only in Finland but in other similar countries. How STUPID are we as a country??? It makes me soooo mad. so very very very freaking MAD!!!

Stella M
03-05-2011, 05:44 PM
Brenda, this reminds me of a documentary I watched a few years ago about a small French school - I think it was called 'To be and To Have' - worth watching for anyone interested in education.

laundrycrisis
03-05-2011, 08:15 PM
We don't owe the public schools a thing beyond the taxes we already pay to support them. We certainly don't owe them most of our childrens' waking hours.

Teri
03-05-2011, 10:39 PM
The US repeatedly tries to reinvent the wheel and not look to other countries that have been successful (think healthcare). I don't understand this myself. We are so egocentric that we don't even consider that someone else might have a solution.

MarkInMD
03-05-2011, 11:11 PM
I don't know if it's an indication of the type of students we have in our area, but we have a vo-tech center (the Career Center is what it's called) that's been thriving for many years. It's just up the road from us. Students who go there do so in their junior and senior years all day, as they have teachers for math, English, etc. there as well. The rest of the time they take their classes in carpentry, auto repair, cosmetology, or several others. It seems to work great. I'm a bit surprised (but not a lot surprised) that this doesn't seem to be the case elsewhere.

jess
03-06-2011, 05:58 PM
This thread reminds me of history class in high school. We had desks arranged into small groups, and had to work together on a lot of assignments.

My tablemates contributed little if anything academically, and made fun of and sexually harassed me.

I requested to change tables, and the teacher initially refused, because I was such a good influence on my tablemates, and their grades had gone up. FFS of course their grades went up - I was doing all the groupwork! I refused to return to class until he agreed to move me, and he ended up moving everyone around.

So no, I don't consider it my responsibility to sacrifice my children on the altar of public education, as someone else so rightly put it. I can find some other way for us to contribute to the greater good. Really, I think we're likely to be able to do more outside the school system, anyways.

Pilgrim
03-07-2011, 08:10 PM
Melissa, don't suppress those bleeding-heart tendencies! Having our kids in PS does nothing to help those children in need, who may come from broken families and/or dealing with abuse and a host of other issues. Doesn't it help them because it frees up a bit more of the teacher's attention for the most needy students? I agree with Corrigan that helping the schools and helping fellow humans are two different things.


I think that it speaks to the fact that the system is NOT broken. It is doing what it was intended to do. If we want to create an educated, highly qualified workforce the system needs to be changed, not fixed.
Agreed. It's not broken; it just hasn't adapted to the times.


Our society has created an environment that tells us that unless you have a college education and are an extremely educated (insert profession here), that you are not successful. However, our society also cannot function without the trades.
Agreed again. Always move up the ladder, never stop reaching for the stars, blah, blah, blah...in other words, never be happy or content or proud to do important work because there's always something better that you could and should be doing. And anything "less" than what your parents did would be a failure.

I admit I sometimes find myself buying into the American Dream falsehood. Success (and, thus, happiness) is based on salary, job title recognition, and whether or not you wear a tie to work and have your own office. It's all been so ingrained, to the point where the work itself is undervalued or ignored.

I once taught a public speaking class to a group of young adults who were visiting from Japan. They came from a vo-tech school and told me how they were tracked into that career path since middle school. There was opportunity to change your path, they said, but they all seemed very proud of their training and looked forward to being valued members of society.

My wife knows people in Germany and Austria who, again, began intense training in a field in their early teens so that by the time they were 18, they had a very strong background in that field and were confident and proud that they were a part of it. Compare that to the states where so many 18 year olds are just beginning to consider a course of study. Perhaps the tendency to not 'force' a child into a career path earlier on stems from our obsession with some distorted view of freedom (they're too young to decide! let them be free!). When, in reality, it's giving a young person more opportunity to explore a career path and truly become a master in the field.

InstinctiveMom
03-07-2011, 09:17 PM
I get what everyone is saying - and I think some time ago I posted that I could see we don't owe anything to the system itself and yes, I agree it's broken, that's why I'm homeschooling my kids! - but what about the kids whose parents will never engage with their education ? Who have no hope at all of ever being offered alternative models of education ? Kids from communities - like the school my Aunt teaches at where the population is 90% refugee families - limited English, dealing with trauma. Do we just hope our own well-educated children grow up to help those families and children ? Maybe at the very least we need, as a privileged community - and we are privileged - to get information about educational options to these families through a means other than the schools. I just can't agree that my responsibility ends with my taxes and/or my own children.


I tend to think that if the more involved parents choose to homeschool, that frees up the teachers' time to spend on the students who have less involved parents. It's unfortunate that there are parents who choose to remain uninvolved in their children's education - and there are just as many parents who are truly unable to be as involved as they;d like in their kids' education due to economic or other factors.
For the students in the school system - and the parents who choose to support that system by keeping their kids in the school system - I think that the time and money that is allotted to the education system is better spent on the students who don't have involved parents for whatever reason.

This may be an unpopular view, but I think that a country should take care of it's own citizens before attempting to help care for others. If we're failing our own citizens, how can we possibly justify the expense of caring for and educating the citizens of other countries? In an area (like my own) where we have people coming in from other areas (like LA) after a disaster, the community should qualify for special assistance from the government to help fund assistance programs rather than draining the community that the refugees are in.

The educational system is SO BROKEN - I think that talking with our kids about these kinds of issues - helping them think of creative solutions - I think that will be key in helping future generations. Our kids are the law-makers of the future.
~h

higgledypiggledy
03-10-2011, 10:55 PM
When we informed the district we would hs I got a call from my children's principle. He was worried about how much the classroom would miss these children. They were important peer tutors and spent a good deal of time helping others students. He was also concerned that it negatively impacts the test scores when parents pull out high performers. I don't feel guilty about it. My first obligation is the well being and nurturing of the human beings I have been directly entrusted with. Is it fair to ask a child to sacrifice their potential for some theoretical good which-historically-is rarely achieved through the public school system? I think not. I pay taxes, lots of them. I don't gripe and don't complain about teacher pay or supporting after school extra curriculars my kids aren't allowed to join. Instead, when education policy matters come up, I speak out on behalf of kids without parents able to homeschool. There is a place and purpose for public schooling. As much as I would love to say homeschooling is viable for everyone, the fact is that for some it is not the best fit. I want strong public schools for those that use them, just like I want strong social safety nets for families that need them even if I do not use those services myself. Do I feel guilty about not needing/using public education resources? Nope BUT I know if I ever do they will be there for our family.

Outofrange
03-13-2011, 05:15 PM
great thread!

Epiphany
10-03-2012, 12:10 PM
I just saw this thread and decided to comment. I have been struggling with how I feel about this issue, so it was interesting to read everyone's take on it. I to just watched the movie waiting for superman, and it got me thinking a lot more than I usually do about the sorry state of the ps system. My father is asst. superintendent of the school system where he lives, so we have lots of discussions about what can be done. His school system is one of the highest performing in the state, but there are still problems. Funding has been cut drastically by the politicians here. They have cut taxes so low that there is no money for schools or any other type of social services. My parents own a 30 acre farm with two barns and a house and pay 900 dollars a year for property tax. It's crazy.

I have thought about volunteering some time at my local school, or even organizing a book drive to get books into the hands of say the kindergarten kids in the school system. I just cannot think about when I would fit it in. As a former social worker, what I know is that some of the poorest kids in my county depend on school for food, for encouragement and nurturing, as well as for their education. I don't know the answers, but I would love to hear a politician take a real stand on education in this country and start to bring things up to date.

Crabby Lioness
10-03-2012, 02:33 PM
The conversation about diversity - and the lack of it - on the other thread got me thinking.

If my children went to the local public school, we would add value to it. They would add to the diversity because of their racial background. They are smart and well-behaved, so they would add to the school's scores and the culture of the school. My money would go to the school, not the h/s suppliers. My time would go to the school. The extra stuff I do for homeschoolers - book club, reader's theatre, co-op activities, mentoring writers - would be done for the school. Our family would definitely have a lot to give the school.

By not sending them to the school, the school misses out on our diversity, money, time and expertise.

On an individual level, I'm very happy not to send the kids to school because in my judgement, that's been the best thing for them so far.

Morally though, for me it gets a bit muddy. I accept that we need a good quality public education system for those who can't get an education elsewhere. If we as homeschoolers cherry pick ourselves out of that system, do we bear any responsibility as individuals for weakening that system for those who truly need it ?

If we do - and we're not prepared to sacrifice our kids best interests - how do we meet our responsibility ?

Feel free to disagree!

As has often been stated, homeschool removes the most committed and energetic parents from the school system.

The flip side of that story is that if these most committed and energetic parents could not change the school system, no individual can. Quite often the people who homeschool have tried for years to reform the system, only to fail in the face of deep-seated problems and wide-spread apathy.

I feel a commitment to the ideal of public education, but not to it's current incarnation. I believe in reform, but speaking as the wife of a public school teacher the only reforms that will work is to lower the class size to 5-7 students. An other gimmicky reform idea is just spitting on a wildfire.

Stella M
10-04-2012, 05:24 PM
Funny to read an old thread.

I got over my liberal guilt when my daughter started volunteering as a reading tutor at the local PS. I figured that was our box ticked.

Having had dd in school this year - it is possible for an involved parent to impact on the school culture but man, it's like a full-time job! I'm not up for it.

MarkInMD
10-04-2012, 09:55 PM
All I know is I wouldn't even consider putting our kids back in PS so long as the focus is on teaching to the $#%@ state test.

jujsky
10-04-2012, 10:45 PM
We pay property taxes (fairly high property taxes in NH) so we do contribute to the schools. While the schools would probably benefit by having my children and having me involved, I'm not willing to sacrifice their education or happiness for "the greater good." Maybe it's selfish, but in my little world they come first and always will.

GooseLady
10-04-2012, 11:44 PM
I do plan to help the schools, but like a teacher in the classroom, it needs to wait until I am done with my own teaching. There is no set time in person's life when it is best to be a volunteer. There are some times in life when it is really bad to volunteer, like when you have you first child, dealing with illness or when you have higher obligations to your own family.

It really does strike me as odd, that "everyone" is expected to volunteer in the classroom, except the teachers. (They don't take time off from their class to help with their kids' classes.) We shouldn't feel like we need to do it either. We are teachers. We need to take care of our own classes first.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-05-2012, 10:29 AM
We pay property taxes (fairly high property taxes in NH) so we do contribute to the schools. While the schools would probably benefit by having my children and having me involved, I'm not willing to sacrifice their education or happiness for "the greater good." Maybe it's selfish, but in my little world they come first and always will.

Yup, I'm not going to throw my kids under the bus so that the schools can get their standardized test scores and another PTA volunteer. Going to school might work out okay for them if they were in the middle of the bell curve academically, developmentally, and behaviorally. But they are so not. And no amount of volunteering and involvement on my part could make school the right place for my kids, especially my son.

CatInTheSun
10-05-2012, 11:13 AM
Even if I felt a responsibility (which I don't), nothing says I need to fill that obligation at the SAME TIME as my kids are school aged. We pay taxes for schools whether we have kids or not and throughout our lives. Similarly, if we want to contribute to ps, there are ways to do that besides sacrificing our own kids to "the system" which as stated on p5 isn't broken, but doing exactly what it was designed to do. There is also different times in our lives for contributing (volunteering).

So far in my life, I've "contributed to ps" when I was in grad school by guest lecturing in math and science classes, I've tutored (for free) 3 ps students who were failing math over the years to get them back on track. When ps bullying nearly broke a teen niece, I took her in for a few months, homeschooled her to give her a reprieve, and she'd back in ps doing great. Right now I'm focussed on my own kids, and I'm fine with that. If life brings a few neighbor kids who need help with math or science my way, I'll help out, of course. That might not be some grand gesture of "fixing the system" and really not much at all, but it's something. When my kids are grown perhaps I may do like my mom and help out in the classroom, teaching kids to read or do math. But then again, perhaps not -- I prefer staying OUT of the classroom. LOL

My point is simply that the idea that the only way to help the schools is to enroll our kids or pay taxes is a very limited view. Opportunities are wide and life-long. I also don't believe that we ALL need to give to EVERYTHING. More that we should give to the world according to our interests and talents. If a quarter of our lives is spent growing up and a quarter child-rearing, that still leaves half our lives for spending more of our energy capital doing good for the world. If right now I'm focussing more of my energy on my own kids, I really don't feel bad about that.

Jeni
10-06-2012, 03:04 PM
What school allows random adults to volunteer in schools their children are not part of? I know that wouldn't fly in most places I've lived. And if it did, I would be very worried about their safety policies.

I feel no obligation towards the schools in this area. They were low ranking before we moved here, they will be low ranking when we're gone. I don't mind giving my money for things like their yearly school carnival. My children have access to their outdoor facilities through the local soccer club who pays for the upkeep, so for us, there is that too.

Like someone else pointed out, I wouldn't mind tutoring or something along those lines. But at this point in my life with little kids, I just don't have it in me.

ETA: I can honestly say I would not be able to give my time to my kids if sent to school. So either way they are not getting me for at least the next 18 years. The reason the kids would be going is so I could work. On top of have to struggle through the day as someone's who internal clock is switched, having to work would kill any desier to do more then I had to. I would go from being 100% involved to giving up a lot of my worry and stress and passing it on to the schools. I imagine I would be fine with that after I got used to it.

crunchynerd
10-06-2012, 03:08 PM
No, because in a non-collectivist society, the individual is not obligated to subjugate his or her autonomy to the overarching system, regardless of individual benefit or cost. The government and the schools, do not own us or our kids, and I like it that way. Of course, it does get muddy when you consider that leaving everything to individualism and market forces isn't the answer either.

But for me, for now, we pay our taxes to support the public schools we don't use. Isn't that enough?

crunchynerd
10-06-2012, 03:11 PM
Another thing to consider would be this: the kids not only affect the system to some degree, the system also affects the kids to a much greater degree. How well-behaved and awesome might your kids be now, had they been immersed in the public school environment from the start?

We can't bank on our kids being as they are, homeschooled, if they were in public school long enough. Environment shapes development.

Stella M
10-07-2012, 12:31 AM
Our public schools are happy for volunteers from the community. The principal where my dd14 volunteers loves her! Certainly good home school PR as well.

CatInTheSun
10-22-2012, 11:47 AM
The school system, as it was originally designed, was meant for those that could not afford a private education. It was meant to educate the masses to work in a factory and be worker bees.

This is a quote from Woodrow Wilson:
We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

* “The Meaning of a Liberal Education”, Address to the New York City High School Teachers Association (9 January 1909).

You can read the full text of the address here:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Meaning_of_a_Liberal_Education

I think the quote is a bit misleading: he did in fact encourage *as much* liberal ed in a technical (mass) education as long as it did not inter ere. I think one of his main points was being more aware of WHY a given thing was being taught -- was it being taught for general knowledge/brain training or to teach a marketable skill. I think there is some truth to the idea it can't be both and (esp at the higher levels of ed) the WHY should be clear in the instructor's mind. WHY should someone who is going to work in a factory learning mathematics? Why is an academian learning to use a hammer? [Not that in either case they shouldn't -- in fact both cases he shows there is benefit, but what the benefit is should be clear in the instructor's mind a priori.]

The battle over the identity of public schools -- whether they are college prep or votech in nature has been an ongoing on. There were riots in LA over than some decades ago (70s?). THe pendulum swings back and forth. If it is too votech, the complaint is that it is not prepping the regular kids for college, which is seen as the way to move up in the world. If it is too college prep it is seen as not providing sufficient real life skills so that HS grads aren't able to get jobs or do anything right out of school EXCEPT go to college, and if that isn't possible or their interest the school failed them. What is interesting is that the Charter school movement seems to be an attempt for schools to be everything to everyone and they so far seem to fair no better than the B&M school overall (and their teachers fair worse).

In Europe they have different schools and kids are put on different tracks, but can you imagine if 8yos here were told there couldn't go to college and put on a Votech track here?

Iamka
10-23-2012, 08:14 AM
This is an interesting thread. My experience has been somewhat colored by moving to an insular small town, where our attempts to contribute (low key ones) were not really wanted. The schools here have been "in need of improvement" for several years. There are also a lot of families living very close to the margins, and sports in general are the priority for most parents. I've heard people say they don't care how much effort their kids put into academics, as long as they can still play football. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not!

That said, I have nieces and nephews in the PS system. I care what happens to them while they are in school. I also really feel for the kids who are hungry, cold, abused, ignored just not getting enough to even have a chance at a decent life even without considering the quality of the educational experience in the schools here.

If I had not annoyed some of the "key families" (for real...I am annoying and did not know my place as an outsider...lol...makes me giggle though), I would consider vounteering. While I do not think doing so would change the system from within or anything radical, it might make a difference in a few kids day to have a little extra attention and kindness, instead of being yelled at and made to feel stupid or "bad" for most of the school day.

I can see myself reaching out as a volunteer at some point when we relocate, and my son is older. I agree with those who have written that most kids will not have the opportunity to homeschool, so I do think there is a need for those of us who do make HSing a priority to still keep the other kids in mind. The majority of kids are not HSing, so we also have to consider the wider implications of allowing our public schools to fail.