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MY DAUGHTER THE BUTTERFLY - Public vs Private Schools in America
So here I am...Again!
Let's call my daughter the "butterfly" in this article I am writing because the name of such a beautiful free flowing entity flows with my little girls beauty and her overflowing love for animals and nature. With a heart of gold and awe inspiring artistic talents, I have to say that I am one proud mom! She does the most lovely things and she is much wiser then her years and this is why a lot of young girls her age can not understand her or keep up with her at the tender age of nine years old. She actually gets along better with older girls then the girls in her grade and here we are again at a crossroads in her education again.
About two years ago I wrote about my experiences with my children in private and public schools here in America and in England. Both my kids went to a local private school many years ago and then to one of the top schools in Sussex, England. When we returned to America, we decided to go to a local public school that seemed to push kids a bit more academically and at the time had more funding for special programs for advanced kids. My son thrived for a year or so and then one day a few years later he said "Mom, I'm so bored. I have been learning the same stuff for 3 years." I asked him if he was still getting good grades and he said "yes" so after I was relieved that he was not "bored enough" to completely kick back into "boredom land," I said well maybe if I get a tutor this Summer you will be more interested in learning. That seemed to fix the issues for now.
My daughter on the other hand has been in and out of four schools (three in America and one in England) and is now slowly heading out of another one. The one that I was hoping she would stay in through the rest of elementary school before I put her in a local private school that nurtures artistic children. I believe in the public school system in America because I grew up going to them and I did pretty well and I am one of the last one's that wants them to lose more money by taking my kids out. But as they have slowly cut the budgets and have lost more faculty and programs, I ask myself "what is really left here?" Way too many kids in one classroom and in my daughter's case a classroom mixed with 3rd graders and 4th graders. Most of the girls in my daughter's class have social issues and I have been told that there have actually been case studies that say "girl drama" actually starts in February of their 4th grade year. Well....GREAT! Can't wait to see it! Really looking forward to this one! OK, you would say "this is normal behavior," "all girls go through this," "it will get better, you will see." But what people do not realize is it is not going to get better especially out on the yard where they can not afford faculty to help with the local brats. Oh, so sorry. Did I say something "wrong?" Kidding aside, kids are "out of control" at my daughter's school and frankly I don't think a teacher can fix this when they are never around outside the classroom.
I had been told when I put my "butterfly" in this school that a few people vacated to private school because of a few girls in my daughters class. I'm not sure who they were talking about but I do have an idea. But kids are kids and sometimes they need to be told that they are "kids" and not "grown ups" with the freedom to do whatever they want. My "butterfly" is very giving and loving and always has lots of friends in and out of school. She has friends from local private schools and public schools and I have finally realized that the budget cuts have really effected the kids because they get less attention at school and there is no one around to fix the issues that happen between them outside of the classroom.
My little "butterfly" is not sure what she wants to do yet. She likes a few girls in her class and may want to see how she feels in September of this year when she enters the 5th grade, but the main issue is this. Why should all of this attention be going out to young nine year old girls? This is my point! If the public school budgets didn't suck so bad, they would have more creative programs for children like my daughter. Learning would become much more fun and all of their energy would not be spent creating drama out on the yard for a very short time at recess. So this is where we come to the main point. When children focus on social issues and worry about small breaks outside of the classroom more then they pay attention to what they are learning....THIS IS NOT GOOD!!!
I'm currently interviewing private schools again. I sort of have my choice in mind but I'm waiting for my daughter to give me the "green light." She seems hesitant to "move on" but she knows even at her young age that it will never be enough at the school she is in now. So what is a parent to do? I say listen to your child and find what makes them happy. In private schools they have smaller numbers in a classroom and more faculty to deal with social issues and behavior. They also have more creative programs and art and this is a good thing for my dear little "butterfly." What is the better choice...Public or Private? Well I honestly believe it all depends on the individual child. I am really close to my children and I hear everything they say. I have seen what works and what does not.
When she brought in a paper mache birthday cake with amazing color and candles for me a month early and put it next to my bed with a huge smile, I realized she deserves to "love" what she is learning and not to just "go through the motions" because she has too. When I look at her artwork and all the amazing talents she has I ask myself "am I just letting it get crumpled up in a waste of time education?" I mean my son was learning what he is learning now at the age of 7 years old in England and now he is in 6th grade. My daughter has lost interest in her school and also doesn't really enjoy it there anymore and wants to leave early. Like I said it all comes down to the individual child and even if I let my little butterfly stay in this school for another semester, will it just get worse? Will I be wasting her amazing talents? These are the questions that come to mind.
God help America and the education in the public schools. Even if parents are helping in the classroom, it is still not helping the main issue. The teachers are overworked and underpaid and the kids are out of control and the problem will only get worse. One of the things that a private school does if it is a good fit for your child is provide custom education for certain gifted kids in different areas of interest and less numbers in a classroom can be handled better when kids don't get along. So I guess the best answer is whatever makes your child want to learn. Sometimes it is just worth the money and the calm. Sometimes no matter how much you want to believe...the public system fails. And the strange thing is that I am living in one of the nicest places in California.