Tuesday, March 11, 2003

So I was driving along this morning listening to Morning Edition, and the reporter is talking to an Elementary School Principal who is "burned out." I generally perk up when I hear stories about education as my mom and granmother have both been teachers and my degree is in education, so I have an interest, even though we don't plan on sending any children we may have to public schools.

Anyway, I listened to all the "wonderful" programs this woman had put into her neighborhood school and how she has no life because she's working so many hours. Her husband retired from teaching and is a "stay-at-home dad" for their teenaged sons. She's going to retire next December - and it is because the budgets are "too hard" to bear and money, of course, is the problem - along with the complaints that schools aren't challenging enough. Then, the kicker, she says " ... there's a strong message, nationally, that public schools may not be where you want to send your child. Um. That's a hard message to swallow." because "We are the answer for our children" (emphasis her's) You have got to be kidding me. This is precisely the attitude that makes many not want to send their children to public schools. You know best for my child(ren)? What if we disagree with what you teach? discipline? believe? How can you know best?

The company I work for has "adopted" the elementary school on our street, and I go to tutor on Tuesdays. This school is a very low Columbus school. Xeroxed packets of papers to do at your desk for third graders seems to be a daily activity for my student. Yes, he writes daily in a "journal" and has a handwriting book and a reading book, but everyone has a packet of "daily work" to do. It makes me sad. He's in third grade!

If this is the answer for our children, perhaps we're asking the wrong questions.

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