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“Mommy, I don’t want to be a big girl,” my oldest says to me as I am tucking her into bed. We say our nightly prayers and I cuddle her. My brain starts to wander about my daughters’ futures. My oldest is almost 3 ½ and enrolled in a church pre-school. But with all the back-to-school photos dancing around Facebook it is hard for me to avoid thinking about the looming kindergarten.
To preface this, I am a former public school English teacher… I taught 9-12th grades for five years. I had incredibly challenging years and I had incredibly wonderful years. But when I brought my first daughter home, I was determined to find a way to stay home.
Now that I am on the other side, as a mom deciding the best fit for my children for their education, I think about my career as a public-school teacher and all that I learned. Here are a few of my reflections of why I don’t want my kids going to public school:
- The rigor and overall education is going down the tubes fast in public schools
- The respect is baffling…most kids do not respect their teacher as they age and teacher’s lose their authority in the classroom quickly. (Admin support is often unavailable.)
- Social media and smart phones have drastically hurt the focus and learning in the classroom.
- The social aspect is scary… I am genuinely scared to put my daughters into public schools for that reason the most.
- They are not safe, doors were propped open every single day, someone could walk in at any point and harm students.
- Character building is not a priority.
- Many kids fall in the cracks and admin beg teachers to pass most students along, even when it is a disservice to the kids.
- Having an IEP or any kind of learning disability is often a giant joke and not taken seriously.
- Teaching basic life skills is not a priority. Teaching students to be ready for the real world is just not important…but standardized testing sure is.
I know this may be a hot topic, but after my experience, even with the wonderful years and the impact I made on students and the imprint they left on me, all in all I don’t want my kids going to public school. I don’t think the American public school social aspect is necessary. I am terrified of the language and phrases my kids could learn. I don’t think that the drama is necessary or something they have to endure.
With myself and my husband both having our background in education, I think either a private school or homeschool would be better served for our children. I think a life on the road (until high school) where we can teach them about the world, different climates, different ecosystems, visit true landmarks, discuss true history would be more beneficial. To go on mission trips to truly understand poverty, different cultures, the essence of hard work, basic life skills and the importance of serving others. All of the above would hardly be discussed in a public-school class room. I know there are AMAZING teachers and administration out there, but sadly most is out of their hands.
We would teach our daughters about true economics and how to balance their finances so they don’t fall into the credit card/debt trap that is so common in our country. We would make sure to set them up for true success.
By high school we are pretty certain we’ve found the best (in our eyes so far) school to attend. It is out of state, it is private, it is rigorous, it has an outstanding athletic program, unprecedented academics, truly phenomenal fine arts programs…it is too bad that some of our public schools can’t be this way. And I think it is also important to note that my husband and I have worked in 11 public schools (in two different states) so, we have a pretty good idea of the public-school system.
If you do have your children enrolled in public schools, I urge you to not only be involved in your child’s life, but their teachers, the school, be on the PTA, know what is going on. Write to the superintendent when something doesn’t seem right. That is the only way public schools will start to get better — if the parents demand it.
But for now, for this former school teacher, I don’t want my kids going to public school. I know my children will receive the best education possible in all aspects and having me close by to keep them safe, makes my mama heart happy.
We love and respect all viewpoints at Austin Moms Blog. While this contributor feels that public education is not right for them, it is right for a lot of the other contributors at Austin Moms Blog. Here is another viewpoint on public schools.