As parents of children in the public schools, how do you feel about their success or failure?
As a teacher, parent and citizen of the United States, I hear often about the "failure" of our public schools from the media. I am wondering what kind of personal stories and experiences with public schooling might be out there and how the public "on the front lines" really feels about it.
I've never put my own children into public schools because of what I saw happening with friends' children. These are smart kids whose intelligence and abilities are being completely wasted in public schools that teach them far less than they are capable of knowing and doing.
When I see 5th graders counting on their fingers to solve simple addition problems, it makes me very worried about the future competitiveness of this country. I'm worried when I see middle class college students picking up calculators to solve very basic addition and subtraction problems. I worried when I used to interview college graduates who could barely write a coherent sentence.
There is no doubt that there are some excellent public schools in this country. But most are mediocre to poor. Unlike some people, I don't blame teachers for the problem. I do partly blame a lot of the teaching methods they are taught to use. But it's the whole system that's broken. Picking on teachers or teachers blaming parents isn't going to fix our dysfunctional education system. I wrote a hub on this called Are Teachers to Blame for Our Failing Education System?
My children are homeschooled, but they will attend public school next year (entering grade 6 and 9).
I think they both have a good sense of self at this point, and I think they will get out of school what they want to get out of school. In other words, they won't be caught up in peer pressure, and silly manipulations, because they already love their life as it is.
So, to me, the biggest disappointment I would have, if my kids attended school all along, would be the inability to think for themselves. Sadly, for kids, education and academics come after feeling accepted by their peers, and kids often do things that don't feel right. This is such a big distraction, that academics fade in the background, and what they remember is the emotional experience of the day.
Success or failure are all about the child reaching their goals - and the unintended failure of the public school experience, is that they aren't setting their own goals, they are often trying to fit into someone else's goals.
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