We love and respect all viewpoints at Austin Moms Blog. While earlier there was a post about why public education was not the right fit for her and her family, it is the right fit for many of our contributors. Here is another viewpoint on public schools.
I’d like to think we all do what we think is best for our kids. Our ultimate goal as parents is to give our babies the best start possible. When it comes to researching our children’s education, I love that there are so many different ways to get to the end result of raising well-rounded, successful adults.
BUT I’m totally team public schools.
God bless anyone brave enough to tackle homeschooling, but it’s just not my thing. I have an education background, but there’s just something tricky about teaching your own kids. It’s not impossible, but it sure takes a special kind of parent. I will be the first to admit, I don’t come close to fitting that mold.
I am a product of public education. My husband is a private school graduate. I doubt anyone can peg either of us as one or the other in a social setting. We BOTH have stories that make us cringe when we look back on some of the crazy stuff we got away with in our high school days. I feel confident that my husband and I were both given a solid foundation to our education. We’re both college grads, and both have been successful in the work force.
As for our kids, public school is the best fit for our family. I now send my son to public school because I truly believe that…
Respect is taught and enforced in the classroom and during school events.
In my home and in my former classroom, respect was given and expected in return. My son WILL respect his teachers and his peers while he’s at school, or this Mama will be up there to be sure he does. Public schools have counslers, countless resources, and trainings to prepare the staff to build on positive character traits. When I was teaching, I attended several continued education seminars on subjects like “Teach like a Rockstar” and “Love and Logic,” providing teachers and administrators with tools and strategies to foster a positive, welcoming, respectful enviornment.
Technology can be used to enhance learning.
We live in a high tech world. Newspapers will soon be laughed at on social media as “you know you’re a child of the 2017s if you had a newspaper delivered to your front door.” (We still do by the way — Long Live Print!) As much as I love the feel of a novel in my hands, my kids will probably prefer to read on their Kindle, iPad or some other Jetson-style reading device I can’t even comprehend. We can’t escape the fact that our youth need to know how to use and navigate the internet.
When I was teaching, my goal was to incorporate technology and electronics every single day. My kindergartner is reading sentences and doing reading comprehension games on an iPad during stations at school. And I think it’s fantastic! I love hearing about kids learning to type in elementary school as much as I love that cursive writing is still taught in school. I was proud watching my 4th and 5th grade students present a PowerPoint presentation they prepared in front of their classmates. I love learning about schools getting grants so that more kids get their hands on iPads. The sad truth is that the public school setting may be the only opportunity some kids have for those experiences, and I’m proud that my tax dollars can provide that for them.
I feel that my son’s safety is their first priority.
Public schools have policies and procedures in place requiring visitors to scan their ID at the front office. Adults have to fill out a background check before they can interact with students. There are programs like Watch Dog Dads that promotes positive male role models, and safety monitoring in our schools across the nation.
Do bad things happen in schools? It hurts my heart to say yes. But bad things also happen in churches, in malls, and in movie theaters. I do believe, however, that our public schools are proactively preparing the staff and students for the unthinkable, unimaginable, scary stuff to happen, and taking all the possible precautions to prevent them. I will say, as a former teacher, I would have personally used my body as a shield to protect every single one those babies in my class. I’d like to think all my son’s teachers would do the same.
There is a time and a place for standardized testing.
I’m not a fan of focusing soley on one silly test in the spring. But, I do see the need for some form of accountablility of schools.
I’m not blind to the fact that there are unqualified and burned out teachers out there. What I do know for sure is that my experience attending and teaching in the public sector has proven to me that teachers have students’ best interests at heart.
I also truly believe that…
Teachers (public, private and homeschool teachers) wake up each morning with their students in mind. They often go to bed planning for the next day in the classroom. They spend countless extra hours in their classroom and way too much of their own (underpaid) salary to improve their classroom enviornment.
Teachers make accommodations based on those 504s and IEPs so every student is cared for and respected.
Teachers are trying to make a difference in their students’ lives and want to guide them to make good decisions.
Teachers usually have a stash of food to help students that didn’t get a good breakfast. They have also been known to sneak a granola bar or two in a kid’s backpack for a snack at home.
Teachers can get mama bear on some administrators. They fight for their students like they would their own babies.
They don’t do it for the pay y’all!
As parents, we have to be our child’s own advocate. That is true of their health as well as their education. Trust your gut. Do your research. Weigh the options. If you don’t like what you see in our public school system, I invite you to BE THE GOOD you want to see in the world!