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Monday, February 6, 2012


This week my friend Julie posted an article about charter schools.  We had a bit of a discussion on how charter schools impact public schools- are they viable option for parents who feel their children are getting a "lesser" education or are they drains on the public schools, pulling the good kids out?

Here's my general thought-- until they figure out how to fix public schools, I like that I have an option.  My kids are both currently enrolled in public school.  They have, however, rezoned our school.  What a difference it has made.  And not for the better.

It has, however, confirmed my suspicions about the "problem" with public schools.

It ain't the schools.  It's the parents.

Holy freaking crap.

Our school has no U-turn signs posted every where.  You guessed it, the morning is full of people making u-turns, barely missing kids riding their bikes and crossing the street.  Today, a woman sat underneath a sign in the flower bed which read "Please do not walk in the flower beds" WHILE HER DOG PISSED ALL OVER.

How on earth is the school supposed to fix this?

And people want schools to be the primary care givers.  Students eat breakfast and lunch at school.  Now our school offers before school reading assistance and after school math assistance.

I understand that parents are busy.  People work.  I work.  I also know that I can fit 15-30 minutes out of my day to work with my kids on their school work.  Maybe not every day, but most days.  We read before bed.  My son is an early riser, so we started doing his homework in the morning.  I had to set my alarm a little earlier, but that's what worked for him.  My daughter works best right after school.  We read.  When the teacher said make cards to practice sight words, I did.

Apparently, the other parents don't.  I've heard the words "I don't have time to do this homework."

When I volunteer in the classroom (and I appreciate that not every  parent has the ability to do this), I am always stunned when I ask kids if their parents have given them tips on their spelling tests-- silly me.

And it's not like these parents are showing up, exhausted after school, heading to their second jobs.  They are swearing at their kids, telling them to hurry up while they text on their phones- it's disgusting.  It's like no one told them that once they had children they had to grow up and be a parent-- you know, a role model.

I have fun with my kids.  If you read my blog, you know this.  My son has recently started to tell me what a good mom I am.  I'm not sure what brought it on-- I'm going to bottle it for later.  But, yes, we have fun.  And they make their beds.  And do their homework.  And they go to bed early.  And they don't eat sugary cereals.  And sometimes I say "No." Because that's what moms do.  I had fun in my youth and now it's time to pay the bills and be responsible.  You know what?  It's not so bad.

I'm not sure when being a grown-up became uncool, but apparently, it has.  So many people seem intent on acting like teenagers.  They want to be cool. 


Life isn't junior high.

I want my children to respect and love me.  When they are adults, we will be buddies.  For now, sometimes I can be mean.  And sometimes, like today, when my son had to "sign the calendar" in his class (a bit like a written warning), and was almost in tears, I hugged him and said "You know what, kid?  This is only the second time in 4 years you've ever had a problem.  It happens.  Don't worry."  He was running in the hall.  He knew better.  I didn't trash the teacher.  She was right.  But he's a good kid.  My daughter, however, the Queen of the Red Cards, that's a different story.  She gets an early bed time for the same thing.  Regularly.  Sigh.

But that's part of being a parent.

People are putting so much responsibility on public schools, but no one is even discussing the absence of parenting. 

Their kids are fat from school lunches.  Of course, they could pack lunches. And kids eat way more meals at home-- 5 bad meals a week for 9 months don't cause childhood obesity.

Their kids can't read because of the poor teachers.  The others kids somehow managed.  And how on earth did the parents not know their child couldn't read?  It should come up before 3rd grade.

Teachers are so overwhelmed with new standards, behavioral issues and red tape.

Here's a thought- why not just throw cots into the gym so the teachers can completely raise your child?

And here's another thought- Parents, grow up.  Life isn't supposed to be fun every single day.  Sometimes being a parent is difficult.  And sometimes you have to put your child first.


Norma said...

I am, myself, a product of private education but when I had my own kids, I knew they would be in the public system. And I agree with you that education is what you make of it -- the parents who are actively interested in what their kids do at school are the kids who do well. That said, we have charter middle school (by lottery) in our town and I did look into it and was VERY impressed, particularly by its small size and the very challenging curriculum. So my elder daughter applied and got it and all of us could not be happier. She has a very long school day -- she gets up at 5:30, gets on the bus at 6:40, has class from 7:30 til 3:15PM and returns home at 4:05; has at least 90 minutes of homework every night and has homework on weekends -- but is doing the most amazing, interesting work so far outside the realm of the standard 5th grade, never complains about her commute or workload, and my younger daughter can't wait for the lottery this March to see if she gets in for next year. Charter school is definitely not for every kid -- at least a half dozen fifth graders were withdrawn by their parents at Christmas break and transferred to their district middle schools -- but I can't say enough good things about my family's experience with it so far. The middle school is <200 students in total so her class sizes are about 12-15 kids; every teacher knows every student. It is truly a community but it does demand even more parental commitment/involvement than a traditional public school because of the heavy workload, the school day schedule and the extracurricular activities...but I'm more than willing to give that because of the effort my daughter puts in.

Anonymous said...

My brother is a vice-principal of a public K-8 school and his wife is a special ed teacher at a different public school & they are my eyes & ears into the public school system since D is attending a private school at the moment. It is truly disheartening that there are so many good & loving teachers & administrators who want nothing more than to do their job and help kids love to learn but parents & red tape seem to sabatoge all the effort and time put in. It's sad to me that schools allow for "early drop-off" because (at least at my brother's school) there are kids who are dropped an hour or earlier before school even starts and the "parent" zips off to whatever else is demanding their time & energy - many times the child doesn't have warm clothing for the cold weather so not only is the child parent-deprived & possibly sleep-deprived, but they are also literally dumped at the public school without even a coat to keep them warm. Pathetic. You are not alone in your frustration.