Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What is wrong with [the] public education [that I, spouse and our kids received].

Thomas Sowell explains it well. I also feel justified for dropping out of teacher college in disillusionment. I thought I was just too idealistic. Turns out my standards were too high.

Unfortunately, the idea of treating the brighter or more serious students as a problem to be dealt with by keeping them busy is not uncommon, and is absolutely pervasive in the public schools.

I had this experience. Gifted teacher's pet. I am grateful for the friends I had then.

One fashionable solution for such "problem" students is to assign them to help the less able or less conscientious students who are having trouble keeping up.

I was terribly embarrassed, and to this day regret, the time in fifth grade when a friend (my then best friend) asked me to read a story she'd written. I misunderstood & took out my red pen. I'd already made marks on her paper when she cried out that she didn't want me to grade it, just read it. Uggh. Stupid gifted teacher's pet. And WTF does "gifted" mean anyway?

High potential will remain only potential unless it is developed.

Hmm. So my failure to achieve the heights of whatever I was supposed to be good at, my failure to finish college until I grew up, got old & decided to go back was not necessarily due to my "lack of motivation," a common phrase on my childhood report cards. Work that even I recognized as busywork & a waste of my time apparently failed to develop my potential. And I've seen the exact same thing happen to our kids.

...teachers in our public schools ...cannot give students what they don't have themselves.

Ok, ok. I have had, and I currently know, some excellent public school teachers. These people have been and are dedicated, creative, tireless and fearless advocates for their students and cultivators of their creativity and intellect. All of the students.
Despite that, another student in my major at college way back when failed her student teacher clinicals. How they'd let that girl get to that point in that major probably factored into my disillusionment. She was not just, how to put this delicately, not the brightest bulb, but she was actually kind of creepy. Her advisor gently suggested that perhaps she consider changing her major. Three years too late, imo.

I've been something of an education rebel at least in my family of origin & family through marriage. I haven't abandoned the public school systems, though. To do so would not accomplish what so many students desperately need. I stay involved and stay engaged and my kids stay enrolled. Besides, a lot of private schools suck as well.


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