Friday, August 26, 2005

On the Issue of the "Superiority of Homeschooling" and Other Education Items

As a five year - soon to be six year - veteran of the public schools, and the son of a public school teacher, the current discussion on the goals of education in both the public and homeschool setting has been very interesting. Before I go any further, I would like to apologize for the disgusting attack on homeschools by the janitor - or, as the PC community would say, the "hygiene professional" :-). I was completely embarrassed, as I am time and time again by the NEA. I'm very sorry for this semi-militant article.

Now to my point. I could not agree more with Mr. O'Donnell's statement regarding the superiority of what I'll call homeschooling since the concept is familiar to most of us. The homeschool mode of education is every educator's dream! Who wouldn't want small groups (most educators would argue that class size is the number one issue for improving education) of kids with a flexible schedule and the ability to extend beyond the required curriculum? You get to keep the same kids year after year and build meaningful, lifelong relationships with your students. As a primary school teacher, this relationship is vital, and it can take weeks if not months to make any real inroads in such a relationship. I say, more power to you!!!

Not that any of those who choose to homeschool their children need to hear this from me, but I'm extremely impressed with what I've read from you regarding the education of your children! Keep up the great work! Your kids don't know how lucky they are to have you!

I teach at a school that has about 90% of its students receiving a free or reduced lunch - which is one indicator of poverty within a population, though to limit poverty to economics is oversimplifying the issue. We have a large population of first generation Americans from Russia, as well as a Hispanic population that spans the spectrum of being well established and employed to migrant farm workers and of course, those who's citizenship is - shall we say - a bit suspect. Drug abuse and domestic violence is common (CPS is on my speed dial!), as are single parent and mixed households.

My point in brining this up is to show that while homeschooling may be the best choice for many, there are those for whom homeschooling is not an option. It's my opinion that the current condition of American public schools is not so much an educational issue, but a societal issue. My students need an education! I'd be surprised to hear from anyone that believes my students don't need an education of some sort! So, what I'd like to hear from anyone is what do you think needs to happen in order to provide an education for the kids that homeschooling is not a viable option? How would you change public education?