Leave Your Kids In Public School

I know a few parents who home school their children.  They do so because they are not fond of the atmosphere and disagree with how public schools are run.  I can’t blame them, the decline in the quality of the public school system has been steady for years.  Surveys show that home schooled children score higher on tests in nearly every subject.  It’s not surprising though, the one-on-one attention is very advantageous for the student.

Here are some of the reasons parents give as to why they decide to home school:

  • Concern about the school environment (safety, drugs, negative peer-pressure, etc.)
  • Dissatisfaction with academic instruction
  • To provide religious and/or moral instruction
  • for mental or physical health accommodation

I actually don’t think home schooling solves the problems parents think it does (omitting mental or physical health conditions).  Well, individually it may, but long-term and for society, it does little.  For example, home schooling your children isn’t necessary in order to provide religious education (83% of home schooling parents cite religious reasons for their choice to home school).  That can and should be done at home anyway, and could be done instead of watching television or some other activity.  And concern for the school environment?  I don’t see it as a big problem either since most who home school are in rural and suburban areas (as opposed to urban areas).  I think the concerns that parents have about the environment (in many, if not most) of the schools is over-blown.  Many parents have the belief that the world is much more dangerous than when they were children, which is simply not true.

The one reason I find both legitimate and self-imposed is their dissatisfaction with the academic instruction.  I say it’s self-imposed because it really is, in a non-direct way.

The quality of the school system starts at the bottom and flows upward.  The parent – the individual, is a citizen – a voter.  The school system is controlled by a Board of Education and is usually elected.  The Board of Education is responsible for hiring teachers.  It is the academic philosophy of the elected officials which determines the teaching atmosphere at the schools.

In other words, people deserve the government they get.  But herein lies another contribution to the problem.  It’s my experience that far too many Christians impose a purity test on political candidates.  That is to say if a candidate does not hold all the same views and values as the voter, they would rather not vote than vote for someone who does not share enough of their values.  For example, there will be some Christians who will not vote for Mitt Romney because he is Mormon, or some other reason, and would rather stay home on election day than vote for him.  Of course, this is effectively a vote for President Obama who likely holds even more severely opposite views than Romney.

The solution to poor schools is to research your local and state candidates running for office.  Elections have consequences, and local elections have the most impact on the individual, which is what makes them so important.  Get to know your candidates and vote accordingly.  Get involved in local politics.  Don’t simply remove your kids from the “problem”, solve the problem at the ballot box by putting the right people in charge, people who share your values.  In a way, home schooling runs from the problem, it doesn’t solve it.

Comments

  1. John,
    You have a lot of generalities that really don’t meet with reality.

    First, you can vote for/against school board members, but the elections aren’t always when they will affect what is going on while your kids are in school.

    Also, you can’t control what the state/Feds mandate being taught in school.

    Size of town/city, location of school, etc all have great impact on what happens. Larger cities have grave problems with gangs and other behavioral problems which lead to out-of-control classrooms because laws have taken away the teachers’ ability to discipline.

    Front-page article in the paper yesterday all about how children (grade school and up) are more and more changing the attitudes of their parents towards same-sex fake marriage. What the paper didn’t say is where the children are getting their ideas – from the public school system where they are taught that homosexual behavior is a normative lifestyle and that “banning” same-sex fake marriage is unfair.

    While my kids were in school, we had to constantly de-program them from all the liberal lies about human sexuality, de-progam them from the lies of the evolutionist agenda, etc. We had many, many meetings with the principal and finally the superintendent about the stuff that was being taught in the classroom. One 8th grade teacher mocked the Bible and said Adam & Eve were partly evolved humanoids, and he received not so much as a rebuke. We told our daughter how she could answer questions on the test to as to not violate her conscience by saying, “The book says…..” followed by the correct book answer, even though it was evolutionist propaganda. The teacher gave her a failing grade (to a student who had never had anything but “A”). I took the test to the principal who stated to the teacher that all the responses our daughter gave were correct and inquired why she was given the score. The teacher responded that he didn’t think the “attitude” of the responses was appropriate. Fortunately, he was forced to give her an A because the answers were all correct. A few weeks later the 8th grade had an “assembly” which we would not allow out daughter to attend, but I sat in. These were 6th -8th graders and the assembly was a skit put on by an activist group from Chicago (we lived in a Chicago suburb) whose entire program was about sex and how fun it is whether it is same-sex, oral sex, or any other type of sex, but just use a condom! I was outraged! Only a few parents had withheld their children from going because most parents were working and assumed whatever the school put on was okay. There was quite a bit of outrage when the story got out, but the school said students need this sort of education and they would have more of it.

    These sort of things were continuous with no recourse. We then pulled both kids out of public school (our son was 3 years younger) and placed them in a local “Christian” school (LCMS). That school was the least expensive private school around, but they used all the state text books (with all the evolution in science and history) the Catholic science teacher was 100% pro-Evolution and taught that in class. Upon our complaints, we were told that the children needed to learn evolution. I agreed that they needed to learn what evolutionism taught, but that they should also be told why it is unscientific and fraudulent. The principal told us that was up to the teacher to decide. We tolerated that and other nonsense for one year and then followed some friends’ advice and began homeschooling.

    Each school system and even each district is different. We have many friends with kids in public schools with no problems, while others encounter the same kind of crap we put up with. So don’t make such generalizations. There are indeed bad schools where you can’t do anything to change them, and the best option is to abandon the sinking ship.

    • Glenn

      You’d be surprised that most of the policies you and many object to are just that: policy, not law. They speak of “zero tolerance ” and other mandatory subject matter, but a lot of it is self imposed, the BoE creates the policy that schools are required to adhere to.

      But you merely force my “solution” to be larger in scope. State and federal regulations are imposed by state and federal elected officials or their appointees. Which only broadens ones voting responsibilities.

      • John,
        Whether it is “policy” or “law,” the effect is the same. And I did everything I could do to fix the problems before I left the sinking ship.

        Craig,
        I wouldn’t send a soldier into combat without basic training as minimum, and yet we send our kids into “combat” and claim they have to learn to deal with it. Lots of kids suffer for it. As previously noted, it all depends on the individual schools and school districts. Some are not going to be difficult to deal with, while others can be deadly emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even physically.

  2. Marshall Art says:

    it is as difficult for a single person to have an impact on school policy as it is for a single person to have any impact anywhere. But each single person that puts in the effort will eventually have some level of impact. It may be to sway another single person on a given issue.

    We had a woman in a local high school district who spent big money to run for a position on the board and won. A very conservative Christian woman in a public school district, she was seen as a divisive person for all the usual reasons (speaking the truth about morality and the immoral things the school intended to do). One issue had to do with a suggested summer reading list put out by the school (or school district) for kids in the upper grades of high school. Among the books listed were several of a very graphic sexual nature, porn actually, and she published excerpts for parents to read, many of whom had no idea such books were authorized for students to read. Needless to say, it caused quite a stir and I give the woman props for standing her ground. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough like her and as she is no longer on the board (though I don’t know if she decided not to run or if she was beaten out by another twisted individual).

  3. Thanks for writing this. I’ve felt the same way for a while but couldn’t quite articulate it. In addition, what about everyone else. What message are Christian parents sending to the world when we get our kids out? What about those parents who can’t afford homeschooling and are stuck with public options? I’m pretty sure Jesus had harsh words to say about what we do to the “least of these.”

  4. When I was in high school, my parents made me the offer of a switch to a private Christian school, I said no. My rationale was then, and is now, that I was going to have to deal with folks just like the ones I encountered in high school. Both teachers and students. I decided that the sooner I learned how to deal with those challenges, the better off I would be. I am not convinced that by removing our children from “the world”, that we are best equipping them for life after high school.

    Is this something that I’d get dogmatic about, or criticize another believer for, no. But it’s the decision that I made and that my wife and I made for our kids. Have we been fortunate in schools, sure. Has God played a major role in our kids lives, yes. It’s a tough call, and it’s not getting any easier, but so far it’s been the right one for us.

  5. Marshall Art says:

    I think Craig’s philosophy is sound, but only if the parents remain engaged with their kids to insure they are not being led astray by the world.

  6. Hey John, I appear to greatly agree with you on this one! How ’bout that?

    If you think there are problems with public schools, getting involved and staying plugged in is exactly the (or at least one great way) to help with the problems that exist (or that you perceive to exist). Removing your child and your voice is not a great way to do so, in my estimation.

    Which is not to say that I criticize home-schoolers, just that I don’t embrace their decision for my family (at least as a rule).

    Of course, if your child is having some particular troubles that is causing them to truly flounder, then I would not hesitate to remove them. But most problems, in my estimation, are assisted by plugged in, concerned, alert parents taking part, rather than withdrawing.

    The problem with withdrawing is that giving up and “taking care of mine only” is a good way of contributing to existing problems – problems that will still be there when your kids grow up. If ALL concerned parents with the wherewithal to homeschool their kids did so, then that would lead to an impoverished public school system. An impoverished public school system would, in turn, lead to an increasingly impoverished society. That, in turn, makes things worse for your kids, not better, in the long run.

    I understand the allure in the short term, but long term, I don’t find the solution (with the exception of when your kids are struggling) to be ideal.

    Amen!

  7. Glenn…

    While my kids were in school, we had to constantly de-program them from all the liberal lies about human sexuality, de-progam them from the lies of the evolutionist agenda, etc.

    Interestingly, we had to be on watch for the exact opposite problem: watching that they weren’t being fed too much conservative doctrine – inappropriate emphases on/support of militarism, materialism, etc. Parents should watch what their children are learning, to be sure.

    My approach, though, is to teach them to reason through things themselves and being IN a situation with those who are different is a great way to do that, it seems to me. It’s worked well for our kids, anyway – they’ve grown up to be great young Christian adults.

  8. Glen,
    It should go without saying that I wouldn’t just throw my kids into “combat” without training and support. I believe I mentioned that the districts that we’ve been in have made the decision easier., and more practical.

    I’ve always wondered how keeping ones children cloistered either by homeschooling or in a Christian school prepares them for what they will face either in college or out in the marketplace. Kids have to learn how to deal with folks with different worldviews, and keeping them away from those people doesn’t seem like a good way to do that. Also, what message are we sending to our kids when we keep them in a controlled Christian “ghetto”?

    What does it say “In the world, not of the world”?

  9. Dan,
    As I pointed out by my experience, no matter how involved parents are in the school there can be insurmountable problems. To make a blanket statement, “Removing your child and your voice is not a great way to do so, in my estimation,” is a logic fallacy of over-generalization. We did everything possible to effect change and were rebuffed from the highest office. In my opinion it is stupid to then stay in a situation which is no-win just because it is a public school.

    Your other statements: “But most problems, in my estimation, are assisted by plugged in, concerned, alert parents taking part, rather than withdrawing. The problem with withdrawing is that giving up and “taking care of mine only” is a good way of contributing to existing problems – problems that will still be there when your kids grow up.” demonstrate your lack of experience or even understanding of the various problems that can exist. As anyone who have been in large inner-city schools can attest, there are problems where taking care of your own is the best available choice. It isn’t contributing to existing problems when one has done all they can to solve it and then departs – that is an asinine suggestion because no contribution was made.

    ”If ALL concerned parents with the wherewithal to homeschool their kids did so, then that would lead to an impoverished public school system.” The school systems that are withdrawn from are already impoverished, and leaving one’s children in them will do nothing to help, rather you will end up with a defective education just because you want to stay with a sinking ship. Our government education system is already impoverished as a whole due to gov’t policies and laws, and the kids today are less educated as stats consistently show. But the students sure have lots of self-esteem!

    While I agree that a main focus of gov’t schools is teaching materialism, I have never, ever heard of any schools teaching “militarism.” As for your children growing up to be “great young Christian adults,” if that is so, they would have had to learn from someone other than you, since you have no solid understanding of true Christian doctrine!

    • Glenn…

      demonstrate your lack of experience or even understanding of the various problems that can exist. As anyone who have been in large inner-city schools can attest, there are problems where taking care of your own is the best available choice.

      My children are products of inner city schools. I have been a teacher in some of Louisville’s harder inner city schools and visited others and have friends who work at them. I know a bit of which I speak.

      Glenn…

      To make a blanket statement, “Removing your child and your voice is not a great way to do so, in my estimation,” is a logic fallacy of over-generalization.

      You will note, then, that in what I actually said, I allowed for exceptions and did not actually make a blanket statement. I said, GENERALLY, it is a bad idea, in my estimation, allowing that there are exceptions as it relates to schools and as it relates to individual children.

      I’m speaking of the rule, not the exception. The rule, I’d suggest, for the good of society, is to support our public schools, prop up the ones that are struggling, close down the ones that are failing.

      • Dan,
        You sound like a typical teachers’ union hack. And your whole claim about what is good for society is patently hypocritical, when you consider same-sex fake marriage good for society. Then again, claiming that the government schools are good for society is right along the same line as claiming same-sex fake marriage is good for society. Both are detriments to society! Public school is a necessary evil because most people aren’t capable or aren’t willing to teach their children at home, yet it has been demonstrated over and over again that home-schoolers regularly out-perform gov’t schooled kids in every subject. And home-schooled kids, on the whole (not including the cloistered legalistic groups) are much better socially adapted because they are not peer-age oriented.

        • Well, I would hope that at the least, that your home-schooled children would have learned a bit more about manners and respectful public discourse (as well as public disagreement that does not rely upon so many logical fallacies and ad hom attacks) than you demonstrate here, good sir.

          My children have..

          • Dan,
            With you, everything is an “ad hom”. I really wish you’d learn what that is. My children – and me – have plenty of manners and indeed engage in respectful public discourse. But you redefine every thing in every communication so as to be a personal attack on you, and make yourself out to be a victim. The only thing you are a victim of is your own foolishness.

            “A stone is heavy and sand, a burden, but aggravation from a fool outweighs them both.” Proverbs 27:3

  10. Craig,

    Those who homeschool for the same reasons as we did never “cloistered” our children, nor do I know of any family attending Christian schools who “cloister” their children. As a matter of fact, homeschooled children on the whole are much better socially adjusted because they aren’t restricted to relating only to peers of their age group. One can learn all there is to know about what one will encounter in college or the marketplace without attending public school. After all, I don’t have to view pornography to know what it is. Teaching children about various worldviews and how to interact with them is actually done much better by homeschooling. The “message” we send our kids with homeschooling is that there is no need to put up with trash and fill your head with garbage and subject yourself to nonsense in order to get a good education.

  11. For all,
    As I have tried to make clear, every situation is different because schools are all different based on where they are located, etc. There are good gov’t schools and there are bad ones. To make blanket statements about those who homeschool, assessing motives and outcomes, when one has never been involved in such situations, is to make overly generalized and hasty claims. We began homeschooling in 1994 and, although we have been finished with our kids since 1999, we have many good friends who are homeschoolers and we keep very close watch on the educational systems. There are indeed “cloistered” homeschoolers out there, and it is those who bring in some of the most aberrational teachings into the church (from systems such as IBLP/Bill Gothard, Mike & Debi Pearl, the Ezzos, and every other legalistic “patriarchy/quiverfull” movement). But there are thousands of people who end up home-schooling for the reasons we did – the inability to effect any change in a system gone to hell.

  12. And I’d add that when I say, “for the good of society,” I don’t mean “at the expense of your children.” Rather, for the good of society for the SAKE of our children. If society collapses, drug abuse increases, crime increases, safety decreases, etc, then that is harmful to our children. So, for the sake of our children — all our children — we need to do what we can to support public education, including taking part in it, as a rule.

  13. Mashall Art says:

    “Interestingly, we had to be on watch for the exact opposite problem: watching that they weren’t being fed too much conservative doctrine…”

    Again demonstrating a complete lack of understanding regarding conservative doctrine, which, BTW, does not preach excessive militarism, but a strong military. The distinction is not at all nuanced. The same for excessive materialism, which is best defined as, “more than Dan thinks anyone should have”.

    Moreover, the idea that supporting public schools that are crap is best for all is not an idea with real merit. In fact, merit is what is a great idea and if a school has not shown itself to be good at teaching what good parents expect, and if the results of that schools efforts is ignorant kids with poor reading, writing and math skills, then leaving that school is by far the best option for the parents and their kids, and the best scenario for the crappy school. It is a complete free market option that has the best chance of forcing positive change in any school, school district and hopefully, any federal education initiatives. Charter schools must produce kids with high grade point averages or they get closed or their teachers or administrators get fired. Removing the kids from poorly performing schools will force them to get their acts together in a manner that draws students back to them.

    The woman I spoke of earlier was fighting a complete uphill battle. She was considered a pariah for believing, as I do, that the materials being suggesting were inappropriate for high school students. (I don’t care what anybody thinks regarding the maturity level of their own teenaged kids. Sexually graphic materials for kids undergoing all sorts of hormonal changes is akin to giving them Hustler magazines. Such parents, and worse, school board officials are not worthy of guiding kids of any age.)

    And this was just one issue. Each parent is responsible for his OWN kids welfare, not the welfare of all kids in the community, who each have parents, too many of whom think like Dan, some of whom are far worse but still regarded as having equally valid opinions as everyone else. Eventually, charter schools, which are inundated with parents vying for placement of their kids, and the home schooled kids, will be looked up to as those kids having what other parents want for their own kids. They’ll stop putting up with the liberal crapola that passes for child development and education in our public schools. Public schools will then be forced to change or accept that their students will continue to be the laughing stock of the world.

  14. My daughters are now 19 and almost 16. Neither has ever gone to school, public or otherwise. I have seen a lot of changes of attitude towards hs’ing over the years, have dealt with the legalities in several differen provinces, and interacted with hundreds of hs’ing parents in the process. The reasons people choose to hs are many and varied. Hs’ing isn’t as common here in Canada then in the US, and perhaps the most common reasons for choosing to hs are slightly different, but while the legalities might be significantly different, I think there is a great deal in common between the two countries.

    We chose to hs because we knew, very soon after my daughter was born, that she would not be a good fit for the classroom. Based on the experiences of some family members and friends, we knew that if our daughter were to go to school, we would be pressured to drug her for ADD/ADHD. At the time, we lived in BC, which had the highest rate of children on drugs for ADD/ADHD, including many as young as 2 years old (I don’t know what the rates are today).

    Though that was our primary reason to hs, many others have joined the list. We had doubts about our decision every now and then, of course, but in the end, it’s become clear that it was the best parenting decision we’ve ever made.

    In your post, I get the impression you don’t really understand hs’ing as well as you think. That is not surprising, since there is no shortage of hs’ers who don’t really understand hs’ing, either, and instead try to force their own pre-concieved notions of hs’ing onto their children. These would be the “failed” hs’ers you hear about.

    I will deal with only a couple of points altogether. First is the notion that parents who hs have somehow “quit” the system. That we are somehow “running away” from a problem, rather then finding ways to solve it. This is absolutely false.

    A parent’s primary responsibility is to the proper care and education of their own children. Some people are willing to deligate that responsibility to the public system, others to various forms of private instructions, and some choose to take in on for themselves, 100%. It is NOT the state’s job to do this. The state’s role should be to support parental choices. The idea that we must all send our kids to the state run public system for the “good of society” is essentially Marxist/Communist, though the notion predates Marxism significantly. Feeding our children to that system does not benefit them, nor does it benefit society. This is increasingly true today, and the public school system is being used as a social experiment to indoctrinate children, and to seperate them from the “negative” influences of their parents. This goal has been openly stated for many decades in both Canada and the US. Originally, it was the politicians who said it. Now, it’s special interest groups and the teachers unions they’ve partnered with.

    Removing our children from the system is violently opposed by these groups, who repeatedly seek to control hs’ers. I live in Alberta at the moment, where are current (and, worryingly, newly re-elected) government is trying to pass a bill for a new Education Act that would put control of ALL education in Alberta under the wings of the Human Rights Act, with its kangaroo courts and excessive rulings (e.g. a pastor who couldn’t afford to defend himself was forced to write a letter of apology for “disparaging” gays to a newspaper, and is not allowed to say anything that could be perceived as negative about homosexuals, even in private, or be jailed. Another person was forced to undergo Islamic indoctrination under an extremist Imam, who had the power to have him jailed if he in any way behaved in a manner the Imam judged as negative towards Islam). In BC, a “gay friendly” curriculum added to the public system. I’ve read it and found it to be best described as a recruiting platform (gay sex is wonderful! Even if you don’t think you’re day, try gay sex anyhow, because you won’t know until you try. But gays are born that way…). The gay couple that designed it tried to have the BC government legally force hs’ers to have to teach it in their homes. Thankfully, they failed, but similar attempts to gain control over what parents teach at home crop up regularly.

    By keeping our kids out of the system, we are not abandoning the public system. The public system was never designed for the benefit of our children to begin with. If it were, it would not be the institutionalized, segregated assembly line it is. By keeping our children out of institutions, we are instead keeping them in the real world, where they interact with a greater variety of people and situations and learn in a hands on manner that will last them a life time. They know that life and learning are interconnected and dynamic, not relegated into slots by subject, age and complete disassociation from the real world. This is a benefit for society as a whole.

    It’s true that hs’ing is not a good experience for all families – but then, neither is institutionalized schooling. Hsing isn’t the right choice for all families, which is why we need to have a variety of options available to parents. What we have now, however, is a system that is failing children, failing families, and failing society because it is under the control of “experts” who think they know children better then their own parent, and deliberately try to indoctrinate children against their parents. Children are now being used to further the goals of special interest groups, and to pressure their parents into changing to suit those goals.

    I’d say more, but this is already rediculously long and I need to step away from the computer. No time to edit, so please forgive any egregious typos I might have made.

    • We chose to hs because we knew, very soon after my daughter was born, that she would not be a good fit for the classroom.

      And I would say that this is an excellent reason to home school. As I’ve noted, there are exceptions and some kids don’t do well in a classroom (although my son was/is ADHD and he did find with some adaptations in the public school classroom – he just graduated college in THREE years, thank you very much!). I don’t want folk to hear me saying NO children should be home schooled.

      I’m just saying it should be the exception, not the rule.

      A parent’s primary responsibility is to the proper care and education of their own children.

      Yes, our children and the society in which our children will grow up. If we help our kids to have a “superior education” but live in a society where most people are educational failures, then we are also failing our children, unless they’re going to live on an island somewhere, because those educational “failures” will be the co-citizens, the neighbors, the co-workers and friends of our children and abandoning public education is not a good thing for children at large or society at large. It seems to me.

      Setting aside concerns for your own children’s education, I wonder what home schooling parents thoughts are for the public education of all the other children in society? Is it the case that you think all children should be home schooled?

      • “If we help our kids to have a “superior education” but live in a society where most people are educational failures, then we are also failing our children, unless they’re going to live on an island somewhere… ”

        That is a highly illogical statement. Are you suggesting that having a group of children – already considered the “cream of the crop” by universities and employers – is actually a *negative” influence on society? Or that I should sacrifice the “superior education” of my children because the public system is a failure? And how does living in isolation have anything to do with it?

        Children who are free to excel educationally (and that does not include all hs’ers, nor does it exclude ps’ers) are a benefit to society and can only help to raise the bar. You seem to be suggesting that, because so many children are failed by the public system, we must therefore keep as many kids in that system as possible. How does that make sense?

        “Is it the case that you think all children should be home schooled?”

        I believe in educational choice – that parents are the ones who should be in control of their childrens’ education, and any role the state plays should be complimentary to them.

        Historically, almost all children were home educated. The public system, as it exists now, is only about 300 years old; less then 200 yrs old in the US, and even younger in Canada. Until then, only the wealthy and the elite could send their children to schools, which were not public. It is ps’ing, not hs’ing, that is the experiment and the exception.

        Ideally, the education of our children would stay in the real world and our society would have room for them to take a full role in it (e.g. the ability for parents to include their children in their work, apprenticship systems, etc.). With the rise in hs’ing numbers, this is slowly happening. Many hs’ing parents are choosing to be self-employed, for example. More companies are willing to take on hs’ers as apprentices, interns, trainees. Programs specifically aimed at hs’ers have become increasingly common (art classes, sports teams and educational programs at museums, just to give a few examples). Compulsory schooling was not brought in for the benefit of the children. It was brought in to keep them away from, and competing with, adults, to produce good little assembly line workers, and to assimilate immigrant populations.

        I would suggest reading http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/ for more on that.

        • Kunoichi asked…

          Are you suggesting that having a group of children – already considered the “cream of the crop” by universities and employers – is actually a *negative” influence on society?

          Nope.

          Or that I should sacrifice the “superior education” of my children because the public system is a failure?

          Nope.

          I’m making what is, I think, the logical statement that if we have increasing numbers of kids who have had unsuccessful schooling/raising, then when your child goes to work alongside (or for, or over) a less-successful young adult, that it hurts your kid. I think that if crime rates increase as a result of more unsuccessful schooling, then that hurts your child, as well as society as a whole.

          A few points that may help to clarify…

          1. I don’t think public schools are a failure. They certainly weren’t for my children.

          2. I think public schools can certainly be improved.

          3. I don’t think public schools are mindless institutions with the goal of squashing healthy development.

          4. I think that some schools/classes (public, private and home schools) COULD be/are that way, but they certainly don’t have to be that way and, to the degree that some schools are that way, we ought to work to change them – whether public, private or home-schooled.

          5. I think educational success – public, private and home school – depends largely upon the parents support of it in all its forms. In school, at home, in church and the community. Studies show that parental support for education is the number one predictor of educational success.

          6. I think part of what makes public education important/desirable, at least for me, is learning to work with a wide range of people. My kids have had years of working alongside children from all backgrounds and educational levels – my kids have learned from the better students as well as the less-able students, and the better and less-able students have learned from my kids. It’s been a good thing.

          May I ask, Kunoichi, what it is that you do to ensure a diversity of experiences and working with others from a wide range of backgrounds (if not you, specifically, then home schoolers, in general)?

          • Okay, I think I understand what you are saying – and while I agree with the scenerio you put forward, I think you are wrong. Children have NO say within the public school system (unless it happens to agree with the agendas of special interest groups already e.g. climate change alarmism, heterophobia, etc). Parents have NO say within the public system. They are the enemy and are only welcomed if they quietly do what they are told, or support the agenda driven social experiments (e.g. anti-human environmental activism such as displayed on recent May Day activities). As was described already above, parents who do NOT agree with the agendas of the schools are not welcome or wanted, nor do they have any power to change anything.

            This part, “…if we have increasing numbers of kids who have had unsuccessful schooling/raising, then when your child goes to work alongside (or for, or over) a less-successful young adult, that it hurts your kid.” is what I find illogical. You are basically saying that, yes, these kids are unsuccessful, therefore our own kids should go through the same system that failed them, so that they can also be failed, and everyone is on the same lowest common denominator, but everyone is happy because they’re all failures.

            If my child is a success because I, as a parent, played an active, rather then a passive, role in their education within the public system, then my child is a success *in spite* of the system. Nothing has been done to improve the system, but my child has undergone unnecessary and artificial harm because of it. Very few children (roughly 5%, if I remember correctly) actually do well within the structure of the public system; their learing styles just happen to do better in that structure, academically. My husband was one of those kids. He thrived in that setting, academically. Socially, it was disasterous and he’s still struggling to heal from it. I was not one of those kids, but thankfully I grew up in a family with an “old world” culture that did much to overcome the damage. Not completely, but it did make the transition from school to real world much more seamless for me then it did for my husband. That transition is even more difficult to overcome for children today. So many of them start out in daycare, then pre-pre-school, which prepares them for pre-school. Pre-school prepares them for kindergarden. Kindergarden prepares them for elementary, and so on up the line with high school preparing kids for university (but not college*; that’s for losers). By the time they get out of school, it’s the only thing they know how to do. They join the real world completely unprepared for it, but tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The result? Just look at the riots going on in Quebec right now, or watch any number of protests at places like the G20 conferences, or what the Occupiers are doing. They are completely unable to function in the real world, because they don’t even know what it is.

            There’s a saying I’ll have to paraphrase, as I don’t remember it exactly. “Who you are in 5 years depends on the books you read and the people you associate with.” We become what we are surrounded with. I am not willing to sacrifice my children to the public system for some sort of political ideology.

            * just to clarify, in Canada, college and university are very different institutions. Colleges are more like trade or vocational schools. They are were you go to take carpentry, automotive, business management and the like. Universities are where you go for law, medicine or opera.

            “what it is that you do to ensure a diversity of experiences and working with others from a wide range of backgrounds (if not you, specifically, then home schoolers, in general)?”

            That is one of the primary reasons for many people who choose to hs. They don’t want their children tucked away into a fishbowl of their peers. Hs’ed children are not isolated from the real world. They are part of it. I don’t have to ensure diversity of experiences. It happens automatically. It may be more difficult if someone is living in a rural setting, perhaps, but that would be true of the local schools, too. My first school was a 2 classroom schoolhouse, but we had so few students, k-3 was in one classroom and the other was used as a gym. Beyond gr. 3, we were bused to another town. Believe me; I was not exposed to any more diversity in school then I was at home. There was little diversity to be exposed to. :-/

            People need to get away from the notion that hs’ers are in any way isolated. While it may be true that some families do live that way, they are the rare exception. Most hs’ing families are so active, the term “home schooling” is laughable, because we’re almost never home. Hs’ers tend to have far more variety in experiences and exposure to diversity – in real world settings, not artifical constructs – then their schooled agemates. That is one of the greatest benefits of hs’ing, and it takes almost no effort at all to achieve.

            Having said that, isolation is not necessarily a bad thing, either. One of the first adults I met that was hs’ed (though I didn’t know anything about hs’ing at the time, and didn’t think of it as such) grew up on a lighthouse island. There was himself, his parents and a sister. Contact with the outside world was through radio and a once-a-month helicopter drop off of mail and supplies. He and his sister had no problems adjusting to life off the island; he went on to college, then the workforce, his sister started college but decided it wasn’t worth it and went into the work force instead.

            Heck, even Abraham Lincoln grew up in isolation and was self-educated; look where that got him.

            • Kunoichi…

              Children have NO say within the public school system (unless it happens to agree with the agendas of special interest groups already e.g. climate change alarmism, heterophobia, etc). Parents have NO say within the public system. They are the enemy and are only welcomed if they quietly do what they are told, or support the agenda driven social experiments

              What I have learned in life, in church, in public schools and out of public schools… what I have taught my kids, is that we ought to be wary of sweeping generalizations. Absolutes are often absolutely wrong.

              To say that children or parents have “NO” say in public schools only requires one example to disprove. I can easily disprove your absolute statement, Kunoichi.

              Perhaps it would be wiser to say that you don’t feel in your experience that you believed you had sufficient say in your particular school system in which you were involved?

              As a public school teacher, parents had a great deal of sway with me. As a public school employee (albeit briefly) my ideas were always welcome, sometimes embraced. As a student and then parent of students in public schools, our teachers have listened to our opinions. Does that mean everything always went my way and I could design a public school system that fit 100% with my ideals and belief system? No, of course not. Such a thing is not possible.

              I am not the enemy in our public schools, I am a partner, as were the parents of my students when I was a teacher.

              Another thing I have found (and have taught my kids) is that confrontational, “My way or the highway” approaches tend to be self-fulfilling. If I come in and demand everything go my way “or else!” and then I find that the school system doesn’t appreciate being bullied or put down, then my opinion of the schools (they don’t want to listen to what I say!) is fulfilled, not because that’s their design, but because of my behavior.

              Kunoichi…

              You are basically saying that, yes, these kids are unsuccessful, therefore our own kids should go through the same system that failed them, so that they can also be failed

              Then I have failed to communicate successfully, because that was not what I was saying. I’ll try one more time…

              I’m saying that schools that have supportive, involved parents plugged into them will tend to be successful schools. The more plugged in and supportive parents there are, the more successful the whole school would be.

              I’m saying it is in our interest as citizens to have successful schools and successful students.

              The point is not that I want my children to fail (how would that even make sense??), but that I want my kids to succeed AND my community to succeed, which will, in turn, help my kids to succeed.

              Do you see what I’m saying? Does that make sense?

              Kunoichi…

              Hs’ed children are not isolated from the real world. They are part of it. I don’t have to ensure diversity of experiences. It happens automatically…

              People need to get away from the notion that hs’ers are in any way isolated…

              So, to repeat and rephrase my question: How are your kids exposed to diversity and given opportunities to work with folk from a wide variety of backgrounds?

              I’m not at all questioning that it happens, I’m asking how it happens? To what degree? Do they work hand in hand with poor white folk, poor black folk, middle class Christian folk, poor or middle class Muslims or Jews? Kids from conservative evangelical backgrounds as well as liberal catholic as well as non-theists? I’m wondering how that happens, it might make for some good ideas.

              Thanks.

              • “To say that children or parents have “NO” say in public schools only requires one example to disprove. I can easily disprove your absolute statement… ”

                That does not translate to power to change something, which is what I mean by saying children and parents have no say in public schools. If the schools decree that something must be taught that I know is false, I, as a child, have no recourse. In fact, I would be punished for disagreeing – even if I am able to prove myself correct. If the schools teach my children things I know to be wrong, or if they are abusive to my children, etc. I, as a parent, have no recourse. The system itself does not allow it. At best, an abusive teacher gets shuttled away to some other school, with his/her background kept secret and the new community has to discover the problem for themselves. This is not a matter of “my way or the highway” behaviour; it is addressing systemic flaws in the system.

                The public system is a modern experiment that is failing as a *system*. That there may be exceptions within the system is meaningless. Those rare good schools or good teachers have no more power to change the system then parents or children do. Again, I refer you to Gatto, but I know plenty of parents who are also teachers; they work in the system, trying desperately to help their students, only to be sabotaged on all fronts. Heaven help them if their students actually demonstrate appreciation for their efforts. At that point, all sublety is dropped and the metaphorical knives come out. Many public school teachers choose to hs because they see first hand how badly the system is failing children.

                The public system is a modern experiment, and it has resulted in LOWER educational results today then even a generation ago. Parents and children have no power to change that system, and neither do individual teachers, or even individual schools. That is why so many parents make such sacrifices to send their kids to private schools, even as their taxes pay for the public schools that failed their children. That’s why so many parents are choosing alternative schools (Montessori, Waldhorf, etc), charter schools and home schools.

                School choice can only be of benefit to society and the community. If the only way for the public system to be revamped is for parents to abandon it wholesale, that too will be a benefit for society. If the public system is forced to compete for students, then they will have incentive to change. That any students make it through the system successfully is more a demonstration of the resilience of the students then any benefit of the system.

                “I’m not at all questioning that it happens, I’m asking how it happens?”

                I have answered your question a few times already. I don’t know what you want. Hs’d children interact with the everyday world. That world is filled with people from all walks of life, all ages, religions, ethnicities, political beliefs, etc. What are you not understanding?

  15. I didn’t finish one of my thoughts. Where I said…

    I’m making what is, I think, the logical statement that if we have increasing numbers of kids who have had unsuccessful schooling/raising, then when your child goes to work alongside (or for, or over) a less-successful young adult, that it hurts your kid. I think that if crime rates increase as a result of more unsuccessful schooling, then that hurts your child, as well as society as a whole…

    I should have continued…

    I think having parents plugged in to public schools who are actively concerned with and supportive of public education helps raise the bar for all the kids involved, including those whose parents are not (or, are not able to be) actively concerned with and supportive of public education. I think if we remove all the parents who are actively involved and supportive, then that WOULD tend to lead to failing public schools.

    Thus, I agree with John’s contention that it’s important not to withdraw, as a rule.

    Did you offer an opinion as to what to do with kids whose families are not able/willing to home school them? Are you suggesting a two-tiered approach: Home schooling for the able parents and public school for the un-able/unwilling parents?

    If so, do you see how that would raise some concern amongst some of us?

  16. Kunoichi,
    I just want to say you have some outstanding responses, which is why I just stepped back and watched. But as for your last question as to what Dan is not understanding – all you have to do is stick around and look everywhere he’s been. He demonstrates he understands your position, but you will never be correct, never be right, because Dan has demonstrated over and over that he is unteachable. He identified the problem when he said he is a public school teacher; he has to be a shill for them no matter how bad schools may be. And now I just have to wait for him to say I made an “ad hom” attack, that I am a gossip, a slanderer and bear false witness. That is his M.O. You are in a no win situation.

  17. Marshall Art says:

    One thing that Dan doesn’t seem to catch is the likelihood that since he thinks like the liberal controlled teachers unions and school boards, those august bodies would naturally be open to his input. This is not the case where parents with concerns regarding truth and facts, common sense and logic are concerned. Those who oppose the brilliance of those august bodies are regarded as lacking intelligence and are not to be given the time of day.

    • The school boards at least here in Louisville, KY are much more conservative than I am, same for the teachers and the union, generally speaking.

      But now I’m wondering what exactly it is you’re seeing the school boards denying? Are you suggesting you’d like to see them teach Creationism and are upset that they won’t?

      Educational bodies HAVE to stand for something, as far as facts go. We don’t want our schools to say, “Well, some say that the Nazis were oppressive and war-mongering and that they committed atrocities. On the other side of coin, they were just Christians seeking to do the right thing and the atrocities didn’t really happen…”

      Everyone is welcome to opinions and school boards, at least here in KY, are open to a wide range of opinions.

      Everyone is not welcome to facts and school boards/schools/teachers, rightly don’t give equal time to every hare-brained notion. You wouldn’t want them to do that, would you?

      • Dan,
        No one I know ever wanted to have creationism taught in public school. But we also don’t evolutionism taught either. Evolutionism is a religious belief based on faith with no scientific evidence to support it, and yet no one is allowed to even discuss that fact.

        Also, Nazis were not Christians, and you should know better than to bring out that atheist sound bite.

        And we aren’t talking about schools teaching opinions – we are talking about facts. So drop the red herrings and straw men.

  18. Anon Young Lady says:

    Ouch. Leave your kids in public school? My parents were both very public school minded; as they both attended public schools and college. What changed their mind? Me. I wanted to read before I was four. I was reading anything I could get my little hands on by the time I was five. I couldn’t go to school until I was six because of where my birthday lay on the calender. At seventeen I graduated from a lifetime of successful homeschooling (my mom quit her nursing career just for her kids’ education) I had a GPA of 3.9 and graduated with 34 credits. Not because I’m brilliant. Because I could. By the way, my mom’s standards were anything above 95 % was an A. Anything under 85 % was not acceptable. She would say, “If you got that much incorrect, you obviously didn’t learn it.” She didn’t even care about the grade, she just wanted us to REALLY LEARN AND REMEMBER IT. FOREVER. But she graded us for our formal transcripts. Yes, I learned about creationism. But my mom made us learn everything from both points of view. When we studied creationism, we got a stack of evolution books from the library. when I studied WWII, I studied everything from the Jews’ point of view to Hitler’s Mein Kampf to reading Karl Marx’s books. I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW MUCH MORE OF AN EDUCATION THIS IS THAN BEING IN A SECULAR, PAGAN, LIBERAL, CLASSROOM WHERE THE TRAIN IS ONLY AS FAST AS THE SLOWEST CAR. If I would have been left to the public schools to “educate”, I would be an unmarried mom, a failure at my studies and not a Christian. On Judgement Day, I’ll be really thankful I was homeschooled. (Not that anyone can’t be saved in public school ~ this is just my testimony.) I could go on and on…
    Gott Segne.

  19. How about “Let Parents Choose” for a title?

    That would seem more suitable and balanced in my book.

    We have been a homeschooling family for 9 years, but are about to end our journey by sending our children to school.

    We homeschool for reasons NOT included on your list, and are sending our kids to school despite the imperfections of the system. No system is perfect, and they will be ok. We will be there for them to help them through, and give them the family structure they need to feel secure. If people homeschool for religious reasons, let them and leave them alone. Stop the bullying. This country was founded on freedom, including religious freedom, and thank goodness we are still able to uphold that right even though so many would like it taken away.

    School and homeschool are two options that we are happy to have. We have never excluded one or the other, but are grateful for the freedom to choose what fits our family.

    Lisa

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