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Have Our Schools Gone Too Far?

Updated on February 13, 2009
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Has the educational system become too political? Has the system got itself on a power trip and assumed a role of god? From where I stand, it could very well be.

This will come from much of my own personal experience that has occurred in the last few years and has really disappointed me that a system designed to teach our young has maybe gotten a little too big for its britches.

Have you noticed how schools are finding deceptive ways to get money from taxpayers? We lived in a community (suburb of a large city) that had a pretty good school system. They raised the taxes one year to build some additional sports facilities that we all agreed would be good. The very next year they wanted to raise them again for a new school that no one felt was needed. There were not that many children in the system to justify that and there were already four very large ones that seemed more than adequate to everyone but the school board. The vote failed. Within a week an announcement was made that one of the schools was in a sad state of repair and it would take the same $4 million to fix this one up (the same amount originally asked for). A little ironic. When parents that had experience in construction went through the school, they found nothing that would cost that amount of money. So that failed. Less than two weeks later it was announced that the school was going to be closed and torn down because of the hazard it posed (not confirmed) and that they really didn’t need that many schools since the population was decreasing. What a change from the proposal a few months earlier that they got upset about.

The school closed and was torn down. When the new school year started, there was not enough space in the existing schools for all the students. Trailers had to be brought in to fix that need. A year has gone by and now they are saying that we need a new school and it will cost $8 million and the taxes are going to shoot up. They got their school after all and even more money. Doesn’t matter that many are attempting to sell their homes because they cannot afford to live there anymore.

Now, we are in a new system in another part of the state. We thought we were out of all that. Now, we are in the muck again. The new school system built two satellite schools about 12 years ago. This was done because of the size of the system and that many kids were on the bus for about an hour and a half. Plus, population growth was pretty steady. The schools are so excellent here. We’ve been so glad to have our kids in it and they are learning so much. Now, the tune has changed. They want to close the satellite schools because they say they do not have enough children to fill them unless we pass a referendum to raise the taxes. Though even if we vote yes, one of the schools will be closed. When asked how they will accommodate all the extra children, they said that the class sizes would be about doubled and the fifth grade would have to be moved to the middle school and the 8th grade would be moved to the high school which is already near capacity. Parents got upset but the board said no. They never really wanted the extra school buildings anyway and wanted everything in one location. Now the fight between parents and school board has increased. In fact, my young children act better than these adults.

Well, we thought that we were going to be getting out of most of it since we made a decision to homeschool our daughters. The youngest is having some emotional problems and the therapist agreed to the arrangements and thought that it would be the best thing for her. The oldest hates school because the young 7th grade girls can be downright nasty and cause her to come home every day in tears. So I agreed to homeschool her for the remainder of the year as a test. We informed the proper authorities including the schools. We thought that we had left on a good note since we were leaving our son in and the oldest was just a trial run and might be back next year. NOT!

Seems that the school system was getting tired of having children being pulled out of the system because they don’t get the tax dollars then. It is February and so far almost 80 children have been pulled out with the majority to be homeschooled. The board is furious and expressed their feelings rather well.

That was on Tuesday. On Thursday we got a call from Social Services regarding a complaint that we had pulled my son out of school for a whole week and one day. Supposedly we had lied about him being sick and was using him as a babysitter for his sisters. After the discussion with the Social Services person and telling them that his younger sister was out sick for 4 days (Monday through Thursday). On Friday all three children were home with the same nasty virus. Over the weekend the older girl (which is older than him) got over it and went back to school. On Monday my son and his younger sister were still sick and were kept home. The next day she went back to school while he remained out the rest of the week. The complaint was that he was pulled out of compulsory school days for the sole purpose of babysitting his sisters. When I explained that there were only two days of overlap, only one sister was younger, and that we have witnesses and doctors to testify, it was dropped. Though it was extremely hinted that the school called.

My husband spoke to the school and they said that they do not have to verify the truth of it only to report it to the authorities. My son cried so hard. He got angry and said that he was hurt that no one asked him anything because according to the report he was telling it at school. He denies it. When confronted, they kept saying how wrong we were and that they had to do it.

My son begged to be pulled out and be homeschooled because he said that his teacher (who pretty much admitted to making the call) lied and that he could not trust her.

After much discussion it seems that the call was a retaliatory act because we pulled the first two out. Now they have lost another. The school board is screaming because they are losing money but they are not wanting to work with the parents and meet the obvious needs.

What is happening to our school systems? When did the schools become politicians instead of the teachers so desperately needed? What values are they really passing on to our children?


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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I get worried because I usually get nasty notes from teachers about lost homework that my 1st grader lost on the bus. I can't control that, yet I'm held accountable. I can't stand fearing that the schools will resume handing out condoms again. I live in constant fear of my youngest who is known for making up tall tales will have Social Services back at our door.

    • profile image

      Doodlebird 7 years ago

      My son is in a public charter high school because he wanted to play soccer. I'm not a fan, but my husband agrees with him.

      Unfortunately, in states where charters have taken hold, strict government regulation soon follows. They just can't keep their mitts off our kids ;)

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Actually, they are going back to public schools (against my wishes) but this time in a different system. They really missed the sports.

    • profile image

      Doodlebird 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing - oh don't get me started on the school system (it's been the topic of some of my hubs lately). Sorry to hear what you had to go through.

      I guess you posted a while ago. How did the homeschooling work out for you?

    • profile image

      CittyG 8 years ago

      Well writen! It is so true that schools are doing ludicris ideas. Keep up the great work!!!!!!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks to everyone for stopping by. I think that like many institutions the school systems need a wakeup call.

      Our first week of homeschooling went pretty good. It will take a while for us all to get into the swing of things.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 8 years ago from America

      I think the school system is a joke. There are certain people and families that run everything. My kids have had some really good teachers but very few. Some that were so bad it wasn't funny. My son once had a teacher that had a brain tumor no one knowing this and he sleep through most of his classes. Some of the parents that ran that school called me and wanted me to turn this teacher in and complain so they would remove him. I said Do it yourself. Oh no, they didn't want to do that they may lose the jobs they had at the school. I wasn't going to be their scapegoat. They could very easly talked to him and find out what was going on but they didn't. The next year our son had lots to make up because he lost so much in that class but he made it up because that year he had a good teacher. I think it was the next year the teacher with the tumor died.

      Believe me our teachers kids do not have to get free lunch. The school is trying to put on a big new 8 lane pool and a covered track athletic building and much more. Just what they don't need they have a pool.

    • christinekv profile image

      christinekv 8 years ago from Washington

      HI RGraf - Great job w/ this hub, expressing and exposing some upsetting issues!  Our freedoms today are constantly under attack and we do need to take a stand.  What your son's teacher did would have caused me to get really hot! Thankfully within our school district, so far at the elementary, all but one out of eight teachers (between my two boys) I've been very impressed with. My oldest is in his second year at the middle school and last year he had some exceptional teachers.  This year, I've been fairly satisfied as well, but not like last year. At least we don't have to pay for them to ride the bus...we do have to pay for school supplies, field trips are pricey and the constant fundraiser petitions get old pretty fast.  We pay $3800/year in property taxes but at least there isn't a state tax here (if our house wasn't vintage 1973 and it was bigger, our taxes would be about another $2,000/year!).  At least our kids can still recite the pledge of allegiance with the words, "under God." If some of the current legislation on the floor passes, it may only be a matter of time before traditional values will further be eroded from our society and kids will become indoctrinated within the school about alternative lifestyles...once these types of things begin to occur, they are out and home witm me too.  In Health, they are already teaching sex education (starting in 5th grade).  We've already had age appropriate discussions with our boys on this subject and I've seen the 5th grade text book and I didn't have any objections. Plus, I personally know the woman who was my oldest boys 5th grade teacher and trust her.  So far, they aren't passing out condoms at school and encouraging anything. All things considered, we're thankful and pretty content, so far and I pray it remains this way. Raising kids today is tougher than ever. 

      All the best!

    • profile image

      Eddie Perkins 8 years ago

      Very well written hub and a subject that upsets me. Yes I think they’ve gotten too big for their britches.

      Thank you for writing. ~ eddie

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      I feel for you RG and what you've been through over having to answer to others about why, when and how long your kids are out of school is horrific. It's none of their damned business, and stuff like that makes me so mad. Schools have gotten too big for their britches, and they take certain things way too far. I'm so sorry you and your kids had to go through such a thing. :(

      Good hub about a true problem that needs to be fixed.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas

      In the small town where I live, the school grounds are literally twice the size of the town with a baseball field, a softball field, 3 gymnaseums, a football field a track and two tennis courts. The school allows any child who has ever attended to continue there, even if they move out of the district. They can get bus service.

      In the summer, the residents of our town have to ration water, while the school stands empty and waters its lawns. Teachers in the school system make so little money that their children often qualify for the free lunch program.

      My county taxes are about $100 a year. My city taxes are run about $95 a year. My school taxes run about $900. I don't have any children.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin


      I'm in the same boat. I spend hundreds of dollars a year for school supplies for my children and then even more thoughout the year. Then if I cannot find the right item with the right name brand, I get a note. I can be much smarter with spending and getting school supplies for the children. I just cannot afford it! I found out that some of the supplies I was getting was not for my child but for the teacher. What! Why am I buying the teacher's dry erase markers and post-it notes? Don't taxes cover that.

      Thank you. I thought I was the only one.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you all for your supportive comments. I wish that they were held more accountable for their spending. The children are not the focus any more. I'm hoping that I can give my children a good education and maybe even a better one.

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 8 years ago from colorado springs

      I homeschooled my kids for just first grade. We then moved back to California and they attended a great school in Los Angeles County. We've since moved back here to Colorado and each year my kids start school with a list of supplies that they need (about $150.00 each). In California we never had to do that. I ask the same question as The Real Tomato-where is the money going? During the school year we also get letters from the school asking to provide more supplies. I don't mind adding to the pot to help students that can't afford certain supplies but my question is, isn't that the reason we pay taxes? Politics does indeed seem to over shadow any rational thinking now a days. Great article.

    • profile image

      mikeq107 8 years ago

      Hi R Graf :0)

      Terrific Hub and well written!

      I worked for the school district for 9 years and saw so much finanical abuse and empire building and it made me sick and then we got the no child left behind act and that was another great excuse for more money....Sadly its not about teachers and students anymore but as you said political rambling and vastly over increased salaries in administration and out side vendors/ contractors....Home schooling used to be a thing of the past but is now fast becoming the answerfor frustrated parents and a failing system that like everything else has become a corporate nightmare and jobs for the boys...

      I predict that within the next 20 yrs the school system as we know it will over bugdet itself and will go online and pupils will be taught from home by some one in India etc....its long over due... The ones I feel sorry for are the teachers, students and parents the true foundation of our education system and the rest can take a hike and get real jobs and find out about real life :0)

      Mike :0)

      Ps my boys were homeschooled

    • The Real Tomato profile image

      The Real Tomato 8 years ago

      I am glad to hear that parents are speaking up. In my community very little parents turn out for meetings. We have to pay for bus passes now. This year it went up to $195 bucks for your child to take the bus. ( summer school is not included- you must purchase a pass for that separately) You have to show the pass to the bus driver- just like a passport- photos required. We are very rural and many parents don't have alternatives. They really stuck it to us. It brings the district an extra half a million per year.

      Last year at parent orientation the teacher instructed us to not keep our child out of school if sick but to bring them for attendance and take them home after roll call. The school loses money otherwise. I could not believe my ears!

      I am in California and we spend less money on each student per year than the national average. So where is all the money going?

      Hope the girls and your son are adjusting well. Homeschooling can be a great experience. It is hard work- kudos !