On a recent post, Cipher asked me how I deal with questions of contradiction concerning my being a public school teacher while homeschooling my own children. I knew it would take a post to respond so here goes:
It is because I have intimate ties with the public schools, and know what goes on, that I am fully supportive of my wife home schooling our children.
I know that statement started all the conspiracy theorist home schoolers salivating, so let me elaborate. First let me state that there are no conspiracies. The secular humanists are not meeting every second Thursday to plot the destruction of Christian faith and apple pie American values using the educational system.
No, it is more dull than that. It is apathy, and it comes from all walks of life. It is entitlement, and some of my brothers and sisters in Faith are the worst culprits.
Mostly though, I encourage home schooling for my children because the inmates are running the asylum.
Let me give an example of two former students of mine - we will call them Jimmy and Jerry. Jimmy and Jerry were in my 5th grade class, but they probably functioned at a third grade level. This was not due to lack of ability but to years of neglect. They had no interest in education. Their day spent in my classroom was a constant stream of interruptions and shenanigans to entertain themselves. Jimmy's mom thanked me for being patient with her son, but never offered any real help. Jerry's mom ran block for him. It was the district's fault, the principal's fault, the teacher's fault. It seems for six years straight he had gotten bad teachers.
I spent my day corralling these two, and tried to get some teaching done in the down moments.
One day a miracle happened. One magical day they were both absent! These two were never absent, but I guess the stars were in alignment that day.
Now before I go on I have to state that, like most teachers, I over plan my day. There is nothing worse than dead air, so even my back up plans have back up plans.
Our school day ended at 3:00. Because Jimmy and Jerry were gone, I was done with EVERYTHING at 1:30. I went through all my extras and my backup plans.
It was then that I realized that those two suck up an hour and a half (or more) of instructional time everyday.
Let's take that math out a bit. That means in a 180 day school year, they destroy 271.5 hours of instruction time. Divide that by an average 6 hour school day and you get 45.25 of your 180 days gone. That is 25% of our school year out the window. They caused their class to lose a year of instruction every 4 years!
That was 15 years ago. It is much worse now. Most teachers today would scream with joy if they had only two students whose' day was bent on disruption.
My daughter started first grade in the public schools. My wife volunteered a few times a week in the classroom. She always came home horrified. "Andy, she is a good teacher, but she spends most of her day corralling 7-10 students... and there really is nothing the school can do about it!!"
Yep, welcome to the public schools.
These are the schools we demanded and these are the schools we received. How did it get this way?
See, everyone is for discipline - until their child is in trouble. Everyone wants rigorous educational standards - but no one wants to shoulder the weight that comes with such standards. We want children held accountable - other children that is, not ours.
In addition, the adults of our nation worship entertainment and want what they want when they want it.
Yet we want our children to be studious and disciplined?
To clarify, I never disliked Jimmy and Jerry. They were decent souls, but the truth is my class as a whole suffered for their presence.
There are many classes across America where upwards of half the students fall into the "Jimmy and Jerry" category. Until we deal with this issue, any other changes in the educational system are just furniture arranging on the Titanic.