Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Guess what??...

The teachers are in meetings all day today, and as far as the secretary is aware, will be otherwise occupied for the rest of the week.

Bitchy Secretary: You should have come in yesterday. They were here all afternoon.

Me: Why didn't someone let them know I would be picking the books up? They could have set them aside for me whenever they had time.

Bitchy Secretary: Well, we do need a little notice.

Me: I called the district office last week, and the woman told me she would be calling the principal to give her a heads-up I was coming.

Bitchy Secretary: It's only Wednesday. School doesn't start until the 22nd.
(that's next Monday btw)

Me: I have to have the books before then, I have paperwork due to the district by the 22nd.

Bitchy Secretary: I'm sorry, I don't know what else to tell you.

GAH I hate dealing with these people.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tougher Standards for the 5%...

In Michigan, homeschoolers have one of the most relaxed homeschooling laws in the country. No registration obligation, no reporting requirements. I could pick this article apart, but the whole thing made me so angry I could barely get through it all. Read it for yourself here. I think for the most part, this article represented the failure of public school and the benefits of homeschooling quite well. It was the comments throughout that were so upsetting to me. Like this one:

"I believe that 95 percent of homeschoolers are probably better off at home than
in a school," said David Plank, co-director of the Education Policy Center at
Michigan State University.
"But the state's concern should be about the
other 5 percent. We have no information about what kind of education they are
receiving from their parents. Not finding out is a failing on the part of the
state of Michigan."

Five percent of Michigan homeschoolers aren't getting the kind of education they should. What percentage of public schooled children aren't getting a decent education? It's all relative, really. Convince me the 5% you're referring to are worse off than the 20-or-so% of children that fail miserably in public school, and then we'll talk.

I read the comments on this article and found myself even more irritated with the constant bickering between the homeschoolers and, well the anti-homeschoolers. Same old dry arguments as always: socialization (of course), lack of "varied opinions of teachers," etc. If you've ever read a homeschool debate then you're familiar with the banter. I don't understand why those homeschoolers get so upset with people. I personally couldn't care less what those people think of my ability to teach my children, or how much they think I'm damaging them by homeschooling. It's my right, and these are my children.

It is appalling to me that local government doesn't feel it necessary to check up on my child's nutrition, whether they get enough sleep, or what kind of television programs I allow them to watch. The government trusts me to monitor those things in the best interest of my child, and trusts that I will make the right choices because... well what kind of a parent would I be if I didn't make choices that were best for them? But I cannot be trusted to educate my children without them constantly checking up on me to make sure I'm doing it right. Why wouldn't any normal parent, buying the "best" clothes and seeing to the best nutritional guidelines, ensure the best possible education for their children, the most important things in their lives?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

An A in Athletics...

Recently, the local Board of Education held a vote on stricter standards for high school students participating in sports. They voted no, leaving the current standards for school sports participation at 4 D minuses and 2 F's. You can read about it HERE. Notice this is the fifth time in the last 3 years this proposal has been presented and then rejected by the very board constructed for the betterment of education.

Also, the governer of Iowa is now pretty upset about the rejection of this proposal. It never bothered him before if your high school student was practically failing everything in high school but winning at state athletic competitions, until this year when he is planning to enter the presidential race.

Damn it's nice to know my hard-earned tax dollars are teaching the future leaders of the world to play basketball.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Frustrated With the Schools...

Why am I doing this again?

I called the schools today to inform them I was dual enrolling two children this year and would need to pick up the books and other stuff ASAP. In this district, kids go to one elementary school through 3rd grade, and another for 4th and 5th, then middle school. My son is in 4th grade this year, and my daughter in kindergarten, so that means I have to pick up materials from two different schools this time. Apparently, I am some kind of criminal, either for the High Crimes of Homeschooling or just for theft.

Me: I need to pick up some kindergarten materials for my daughter.

Bitchy Secretary: Well, the teachers won't be here until next week, so you will have to call back then and make arrangements.

Me: The books aren't there yet? School starts in less than two weeks.

Bitchy Secretary: Oh, the books are here, but we can't just let you go rummaging through the classrooms unless the teachers are here.

Me: Can't someone from the office go and gather the materials for me? I can pick them up from the office any time this week.

Bitchy Secretary: I'm sorry, you'll have to talk to a teacher about what books you're allowed to have.

UGH. So I guess I'll have to wait until next week when the teachers are there to supervise me. Such a shame you can't trust anyone these days.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Don't Grow Old and Lonely! Homeschool the Grandkids...

I think this is the most ridiculous advertisement for a book I've ever seen.

If you helped homeschool your grandchildren, what a wonderful gift that
would be for your children, your grandkids, and most of all, yourself. Think
about it.

Umm... no comment. The stupidity speaks for itself. Yet another example of trying to capitalize on the homeschool market.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

When "Good" Teachers Go Bad...

This is an interesting article:

Teacher of the year fired over '4-letter-word' quiz

Particularly interesting is the teacher's rebuttal:

I also fed kids for 16 years that came to school hungry, baked for my students, bought them clothes, cared for them and listened to them when their parents didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't. Maybe some of you should just go in a high school and sub. Why do you think there is a teacher/substitute shortage? Because all the children use the very best manners they were raised with?

Translation: Because I am the friggin Mother Teresa of teaching, nobody should ever question my methods. You should just be happy you have someone to teach your obnoxious brats anyway.

Littrell, who was nominated in "Who's Who Among American Teachers" four times, says most of the students in her class "were non-readers – quite a few were felons," contending the whole issue was sparked by one disgruntled student. "She had a straight-F [grade-point average]," Littrell said. "She was a problem kid."

Translation: Repeat from the last paragraph, I'm so great, your kids suck. And also, this really bad kid started the whole mess by telling on me.

Lady, not only am I not convinced you're a good teacher just because you have bad students, but how about not passing the buck on who started the "issue," and actually take responsibility? Whether you were called on this behavior or not doesn't change the fact that it happened. I'm sure most of your "felon" students could tell you the "It's only wrong if you get caught," idea doesn't work in real life.

This teacher's attitude is what I would be angry about, not the (inappropriate) quiz she gave. Kids leaving high school for the real world are more damaged by an inability to own up to one's own mistakes than by a working knowledge of curse words.