Here at Four Strong Women, Marci and I are the two who bitch about the public school systems until the cows come home. I think I tend to get on my soapbox about it a li'l more than she does, but phone calls between us often center on public school woes. She'll discuss her issues with her daughter's school with me, and then I'll tell her the latest about the three school districts I've dealt with over the last two years. One thing is for certain. We both agree that today's school systems are all about money and control, and less about a real education. However, the federal government seems to ignore this issue in each state, but doesn't have a problem preaching education is a top priority for the future generations.
Bwahahaha! No child should be left behind—my ass!
Okay, okay, let me back up and start from the beginning. I'm in rant mode, so grab a cup of coffee.
Some who know me online know that my granddad was a teacher his entire life. I've taught in public schools on a volunteer basis, and I was an online writing instructor. One thing my granddad always said, and what I've learned is true, is that no two children learn in the same manner. One will pick something up immediately, another learns quickly, yet another has a moderate pace of learning, and then there are others who struggle to grasp their studies or perhaps they have problems in math and science, but excel in history and English.
And then you have ones like my dau who was so bored out of her mind she stopped doing her homework because it was the same crap over and over…
As a result, you have morons in the board of education offices who look you in the eye and tell you your child isn't smart enough to do online schooling.
As Ace Ventura would say, "Oh ree-hee-hee-heely?"
If the damn schools would truly teach our children--I repeat, IF--then our kids wouldn't be struggling or bored out of their ever lovin' minds! After battling that particular school district for nearly nine years, I'd had enough and I pulled my oldest daughter out of public school and enrolled her in a state-run online school direct out of Columbus, Ohio.
The first year my dau breezed through everything. Her counselor and teachers were so impressed that she was told she'd graduate early. Elated, we were so happy that we'd found a great online school. The girl maintained a 4.0 gpa, and was well ahead of the other students in her classes—remember, the moron who said my child wasn't smart enough to do online schooling?—and furthermore, the classes were ten times more difficult than what was being taught in her old school. And it was so nice not to have to deal with teachers who worried more about fundraisers for the football team or taking valuable class time to teach HOW to take the proficiency tests so the school would rate higher and get more funding.
Excuse me. I must apologize for my scathing sarcasm when it comes to school systems and the government.
After years upon years of fighting three different school systems in the area, I can't seem to curb the sarcasm anymore. Anyway, when my daughter finished last year, she had high hopes of graduating early. All she needed—or so we were told—was senior government, one more year of science, and since she wants to go into animal medicine, she was told another year of math (this made five courses of math) would help her (which stymied me, but I thought okay, she only has three classes this semester, so why worry about it?).
However, the problem was that government class wouldn't be taught until the second semester, so she'd have to wait until after the second semester to pursue an early graduation. So my dau took her science and math class, plus she took a 5th year of English just to have something to do with her time. Report card time rolled around and hers was all Ds and Fs. I nearly came unglued and chewed my dau out because I'd trusted her to get her work done and do it well. A week later I was apologizing to her because it was the school's computer system that had messed up her grades. It took one of her teachers nearly a month of battling the main office to rectify it. The office said they'd send us an updated report card--and she had all As except for a high B--but regardless of phone calls and emails inquiring about the updated grade card, we never got one.
Second semester ends, and along comes the Ohio Graduate Tests, which are the most useless tests created! No matter how well you do throughout your school career, if you do not pass these tests by the time you're to graduate from high school, you just don't graduate. You are forced to then pay for the tests and continue to take them until you do pass, and then you'll receive your diploma. No going to college until you graduate, right? Right. The dau took the OGTs. A teacher even came to our home to give her the exams, and she said the dau had aced hem.
A month passed and we were notified that the dau failed he OGTs and that she also got Ds and Fs on her second report card. Then we caught the error. The last two numbers of her student ID were transposed! We called and called, complained and ranted, and even the same teacher went to bat for us. And I can only assume the other girl—yes the school knew who it was—passed all these courses with flying colors that she never worked for. After all, she had my dau's grades! The school would not rectify the situation no matter how many times it promised to do so.
However, during this time, the school kept calling me about the re-testing time for the OGTs again. And, I might add, threatening me with recordings and some live jerk who was a pompas ass called too. Talking to me like I'm a stupid mom is an excellent way to activate my Sarcasm Mechanism (I can strip the hide off a Gila Monster with my snark).
Needless to say, the guy hung up in a huff when I got done with him. Why wouldn't the school rectify her report cards and OGT scores? I have no proof, but my theory is that they wanted to keep her in school another year to get the funds for her as a student and to get the funds for her re-taking the OGTs too.
As for the other girl with my dau's grades? My guess is she was the type of student that schools love to push through to get them out of the system and out of their hair.
Finally, after weeks and weeks of arguing with the state online school, my dau, who is 18, withdrew from school. She's going to study for her GED and hopefully catch the testing date this fall to take the test. She has a fiancé, a baby, and they have a nice li'l home, but she desperately wants to get her diploma and go into college to make a life for herself. Our worry is that the dau will have to jump through hoops of fire when she applies to college to prove that it was the state's screw up on her grades and OGT scores.
I was seriously thinking of getting my teaching degree starting this fall, but after this last battle, after I saw how the state and federal government truly does not give a shit about a REAL education, how it's all about the money, the control, and taking parental rights away, I decided against teaching. My dau is so disappointed in the system, as am I, but what can we do? We're only two li'l drops in an ocean of unrest. Unless parents take back the educational rights of our kids, two li'l drops here and there are waved away by the government like we're just pesky flies.
My two youngest are now in a school district that focuses on teaching and less about what the state insists it should do (they can do this because they're well funded outside of the state's help), but they do have some incredibly stupid policies—so they can keep the state off their back—and it abides by strict laws due to the school being so large. Two examples are the following:
A) If your child is sick and you can't get h/her into a doctor because you have no transportation or help from family/friends, or the doctor is booked solid, your child gets 5 unexcused absences then your ass lands in truancy court where you have to explain this to a judge and then pay the court costs.
B) My youngest dau was attacked by another girl and ended up in a physical altercation to defend herself. However, the principal could not tell me the other girl's name (although I knew who it was because she's THE school bully), nor discuss the incident with me due to new confidentiality laws. However, the bully still bothers my dau, and the principal continues to ignore the situation (and yes, I'm gearing up for another battle over this, and will be well-armed with copies of the no-bullying laws!).
What the hell is going on with the U.S. school systems? Where is the common sense? Home schooling and private schools are on the rise. Gee, wonder why? Get the damn politics out of the school systems and go back to good old-fashioned teaching!
The following sign should be the U.S. Government's motto for our education system.