Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School

It’s that time of year again. Hustle out and get those new school clothes. Start getting the kids to bed at a normal bedtime so that we don’t have problems getting them up at 6:00 am after spending the summer staying up until midnight or beyond.

Do you have the notebooks and paper and pens and pencils bought for that first day? Get the haircuts finished so that the children look their best on the first day of school.

The first day of school arrives between now and the week following Labor Day. All of the things listed above and more are the activities we go through for school preparation. But where are we sending them?

The majority of the people in this country send their children to public schools on the school bus. A growing number are not sending their children to school. They are homeschooling them. Up 75% since 1999. There are charter schools, private schools and what seems to be a fairly new thing which is online public schools.

I have been an advocate for homeschooling for 20 years. Not just to be different but rather because it is documented that it works better. Homeschool students are testing in the 84th to 89th percentile across the board. Public school students are testing in the 50th percentile. By the way, in public schools minority students are doing worse than white students, but in homeschools, there is no racial component. All ethnicities are performing at the same level. There are certified teachers homeschooling as well as parents that are not certified teachers and yet the difference in performance of the students is a 1% difference and the advantage is the non certified parent 88th percentile vs 87th percentile for the certified teacher.

Are these a fair comparison though? My answer may surprise you because my answer is no. The largest reason for people to homeschool their children is because they are fed up with the public school system. So while it may seem cruel to say, but parents that are more actively involved in their children’s schooling and aware of what goes on in school are more likely to homeschool their children. Others wish they could but don’t think they can handle teaching their children because they don’t have a degree in teaching ,and of course there are some that are glad to be rid of the kids each day and happy to have a place where the don’t have to pay for a babysitter (if they only knew the amount they pay in taxes for these babysitters).

Public schools are being run by “professional” teachers with degrees and look what’s happening. The kids are not getting as good of an education as they used to. The numbers bear this out and I urge you to look them up.

Let’s do a little nostalgia. I went to school in the 60’s and 70’s. Part of the hippie generation. Vietnam, Haite/Ashbury, Woodstock. When there was a fight at school, it was broken up by teachers. Now when there is a fight at school, the police are called and at least one is charged with a crime. This stays on their record. Has their future been enhanced by this action? What have they learned about handling their petty differences?

When a child does something wrong today they are suspended from school, sometimes expelled. How are they getting an education? We used to get detention and worse when we got home and had to face our parents. Today, the school or the courts take care of the discipline and too many parents think that’s enough punishment.

I have done some research and found some interesting things. Here is a short list of offenders in school.

12 year old girl arrested for spraying perfume on herself.
13 year old arrested for burping in class.
Student stripped down to his underwear in front of five adults because he had $200 on him. No arrest.
Two teens breaking up poured milk on each other. Arrested and sent to court.
12 year old arrested and taken out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk.
An 8 year old forced to undergo psychological evaluation for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross.
A 6 year old arrested for inappropriate touching during a game of tag.

So how were these types of things handled in school in the past?

“That’s too much perfume, a little less is not annoying to everyone. “
Teach the burper to say excuse me and if it’s repeated stand him in the corner.
I’d tell the child that while prices are rising the vending machines, $200 is too much junk food.
If two teens are pouring milk on themselves, hand them a paper towel and send them off to class. Let them explain the sour milk smell between classes to their friends.
Give the child a sponge and water with soap and make her stay after school to clean the desk up.
I’m not certain of the infraction of drawing Jesus on the cross unless it was a math class, unless of course, it was a reminder to himself that his homework isn’t as tough as Jesus suffered.
It’s a game of tag and they are 6 years old!

They are children. They are supposed to be taught how to think, not what to think. They are immature. They are supposed to make mistakes and learn from them, not learn what the prison system is like at the age of 10. It’s called growing up and maturing and learning. It’s what’s supposed to happen.

Be sure to know where your children are going to school as you buy them their new clothes and get them their haircuts. You might also want to know which jurisdiction they are in so you know which court to show up for to collect your child if they are not put in jail for the long term.

You’re welcome to comment.