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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back To School Thoughts

As Back To School season is in full swing, I can't help but think of the state of public education. Education in general really, as there are plenty of private schools that are not up to par either.

I found THIS clip on YouTube this morning. It made me laugh as it reminds me of those street scenes on one of those late night TV shows where they would stop people and ask them a seemingly obvious question, and most people couldn't answer. While it's fun to get a laugh at anothers expense from time to time, I have to admit I am becoming more and more frightened of America's education or lack thereof.

HERE Ben Stein tells of a conversation he had with two young adults. While parts are amusing, it is also sad. I know I have had VERY similar conversations with some young adults myself, so his experience is far from isolated.

As a Christian my reasons for continuing to homeschool go far beyond the books and academics, but I have to admit to beginning my homeschooling career strictly for secular reasons. The school was desperately failing my son, and many others in his class in first grade. I am not a genius by any means, but it didn't take a whole lot of brains to figure out the situation wasn't going to improve. For me, it meant deciding to homeschool my son, for another wise parent it meant demanding her child be appropriately placed, even though she faced alot of opposition from the school officials. I wouldn't be surprised to learn she is a homeschooler today!

But how many parents DON'T stand up and demand their children get what they need? How many parents even know what kind of education their children are getting or are not getting? It amazes me how many students graduate high school not at all prepared for college(the numbers are much larger than you may guess) and the parents had no clue. Aren't they looking over the child's actual work or are they just looking at the "passing" grade not caring or thinking to look at the work itself. What about just talking to your child? All it took for me to figure out one of my sons friends needed some extra help was sitting down to a game of Scrabble. Don't families talk or play together anymore?

I wont lie, I am a homeschooling advocate. I really don't believe Christian children in particular should be in public school, period. But I am also a realist and am aware that many parents are going to send their children off to government schools anyway. Parents, please at least take the time to go over your child's work each night, make sure they really know what they are getting credit for. I have personally seen far to many students recently who either admit to me they don't know what they are being taught, but pass anyway, or claim their "giftedness" in certain areas, but upon further investigation(by me looking at their writing or finding other ways to dig deeper) can't write or spell any better than a third grader(we're talking Jr. High and High School students here!)

Everyone thinks it's not happening in their schools, let me assure you it is. Don't look at test scores, I've already showed you news articles explaining how failing schools get those passing scores. Talk to your child, play some educational games, have them write a paragraph now and then to check their spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Don't take it for granted because the school says they're passing that they really are learning anything.

I found THIS site today and found it quite interesting. It is a film documentary that follows one male and one female student each, from America, China and India. It is rather eye opening. HERE is a trailer for the film:

I have to admit to really loving the BLOG as it gives so many statistics and articles showing exactly what is going on in America's educational system.

School wasn't that great when I was in it twenty something years ago, but it is far worse now. If you must place your child there, or for whatever reason WANT to, at least educate yourself to what is really going on there. I do know plenty of public school students who have done quite well for themselves, even in the worse schools in our area, but they had VERY, VERY, involved family members who volunteered at the school, stayed on top of homework, and supplemented when necessary. You can't count on the schools to do what they're suppose to, and unless you have a highly motivated child, you need to be the one your child can count on!

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