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This is a reply to an earlier thread; inexplicably, replies have been frozen on that thread.

Absolutely our basic interests are the same. Our perceptions are different.

I only have my own experience to draw on, but government schools absolutely failed in my case. I was in constant trouble for not participating in the curriculum when the curriculum was not challenging. I was getting unsatisfactories in reading because I couldn't be bothered to answer reading comprehension crap about Fun with Dick and Jane since that would interfere with my own reading of far more advanced books that I brought from home. Today I'd be medicated until I wasn't a burden or challenge to the teacher. By the time I got to seventh grade, I was failing multiple subjects each year since I wouldn't let the hoop jumping disrupt my own search for knowledge. I actually had to repeat my ninth grade year, which I made up for by quitting high school after my Junior year (U of D didn't ask if I had graduated, and I didn't tell them). Of course, I didn't make it through college for similar reasons; no one but me knows what I need to know but me, and rules fostering so-called length and breadth knowledge do little but allow more money to be made and more indoctrination to occur (while the pursuit of a 'well-rounded' education is admirable, I think I've done a fine job of picking up what I need to know and more).

I was branded an underachiever at a very early age due to the idiotic insistence that I hoop-jump. This branding has affected my self-image ever since. Today, I can look at my various employments (secondary caregiver to a pack of wolves, architect at Red Menace providing technical leadership and mentoring to dozens of people with advanced degrees in multiple countries, primary IT consultant to a factory, Vermont’s fastest growing business, responsible for keeping all of their technology running on a daily basis so that they can produce and ship product), my volunteer work (firefighter, EMT in three towns, assistant coordinator of one squad responsible for all aspects of the squad to the state board of health and district medical board, wilderness search and rescue technician, PFF senior staff), and my extra-curricular crap (pilot's license, healthy knowledge of history) and I still end up thinking I'm a fricking idiot that hasn't done a darned thing with his life half the time. I lay the blame for this damage squarely at the feet of the government schools who adopted a scorched-earth policy with my psyche after they couldn't hammer my square-peg self into their round hole.

I made up my mind early that I would not inflict similar experiences on my kids.

In rabidkitten's case, she had similar problems, especially with teachers taking issue with her informed disagreement with politically-correct propaganda disguised as truth.

So, I would find it hard to say that the best place for any child is in a one-size-fits-all environment; I think the best thing to do with a child is to remove the fetters that bind them to a learning pace calculated to cater to the least common denominator.

As to whether the government schools contribute to decay of society and inhibit individual growth, I really can't say, except, as noted before, in my own case. Other than my aforementioned vow to not put my kids into the same environment that stunted my growth, I can't say what effect it has on others. I haven't read the books on the subject that rabidkitten has or reviewed the rest of the research she has done, so I can't say if I agree with her results. I do know that rabidkitten does know how to research and follows her research where it leads, regardless of whether it supports her initial assumptions or disproves them, so when she tells me something, I tend to believe her. When I don't, I look at her research and then I do my own research in addition, the same way I approach any other idea that I disagree with.

Certainly the government schools provide for the education of children whose parents do not care to provide instruction; that is undeniable. Is the quality of education better today than it was in 1850? Can't say, either. Going with your earlier suggestion that many kids worked in the fields, if that were the case, certainly those kids or any kids working with a skill or as an apprentice would have a better understanding of math and spoken and written English than do many of the kids being sent through the system today without the benefit of involved parents. Please note here that I know you are an involved parent. For the kids without parents who will coach them and show them support, early employment in the form of apprenticeship would probably be way better than government schooling. That's my own uninformed two cents on the subject, though, and certainly not any belief I've developed through my own research.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
okeydokey ... I'm glad you and I aren't seemingly at war here too ...
Thanks, Do, for pointing me to this thread. I wouldn't have found it on my own ... I was waiting for a response in our original thread. Anyhoo ... this all sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

It's just that you and I had different experiences. I was a high-achiever in public school. Never had any trouble quickly doing whatever they wanted me to do and then getting on with whatever I really wanted to do. Just not rebellious/combative by nature (though, admittedly, perhaps my exchange with RK doesn't reflect that so much). T's much like me in that regard. She likes to please her teachers and impress her classmates (and us) with her skills. So she does great in school. It probably does have a lot to do with our level of involvement. I find myself to be much more of a micromanager with her than I ever thought I'd be. I'm on her all the time about what tests she took the day before, how she did, how everybody else seemed to do. I e-mail her teacher all the time, telling her about things that T would like to do in school but is too shy to bring up herself. Sometimes the system annoys me. Sometimes she gets things wrong that are ambiguously worded or whatnot and those questions, to me, should be discounted. I want her records to say that she gets everything right all the time. She knows that's what I want her to strive for. (It's funny to me that I'm this way. My rents were much more laid back with regard to their involvement in my schooling.) Anyway ... my MO has always been that there are numerous ways to go about all of these parenting things and no one approach is right for everybody. The only reason I chimed in at all is that I felt completely misquoted/dissed by RK and wanted the public to know what I really think about these things ... cuz i know everybody REALLY CARES A LOT ABOUT WHAT I THINK. : ) Rock on. Loved the Walmart story! Always very impressed by your tales of heroism. (Honestly. Really. Being completely forthright. Big fan.) Love, J
Feb. 10th, 2005 10:22 pm (UTC)
frozen thread
I froze the thread merely out of convenience. I grew tired of scrolling. Then continued the conversation in a fresh post. I'm sure Bx just assummed that you were reading his posts, too.
Feb. 10th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC)
*no one approach is right for everybody.*

You said it! That is a major part the problem I have with our current one-size-fits-all approach to educating.

I would NEVER say that ALL mothers should be full-time mothers, or that there should be a parent who is a full-time parent in every home. The point of the discourse was that we have gone too far in the "other" direction. To the point that many parents (particularly mothers) are disrespected for their decision to be a full-time parent.

Too many parents end up chosing to work, not because it makes them happy and fulfilled, but because they feel that if they don't they won't get the approval from outsiders that our society (and school!) has taught them they need to feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, that approval is often wrapped up in what kind of car they drive, or how big a house they have, rather than on the quality of their character or how hardworking they are in their chosen profession.
Feb. 11th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC)
you two sure are a team!
I'm with ya ... except that I don't think we currently have a one-size-fits-all approach. Parents have numerous options. Some parents send their kids to religion-based private school. Some parents send their kids to non-religion based private schools. Some parents send their kids to charter schools or to magnet schools or to specialty schools (like performing arts schools or whatnot) and some parents homeschool like y'all. And some parents choose public school. Both public school and homeschooling options are mostly free (taxes and school supply costs notwithstanding). I think it's understood there are communities where both poverty and the lack of parent involvement are big problems. In many cases, these are the communities wherein so many of our public schools are generally considered to be failing. And I heartily agree that bigger societal ills are at the root of these schools' failure. And that something really needs to be done. However, I can't imagine how the solution to these problems could possibly be to do away with the only viable free education available to these communities. Those uninvolved parents in these communities are not likely to research carefully for their children to find scholarship funds for them in some new charter school. They are equally unlikely, it seems to me, to do all the work involved in providing quality education for their children at home. So, while it's true that, like bx, I haven't done a lot of formal research on the matter (you're willing to discuss our country's educational system with him, I presume, even though, he, too, has formed his opinions mainly from personal experience ... is that because his opinions are in agreement with yours?) common sense tells me that doing away with their only real educational choice won't solve the educational/societal problems in these communities. My belief is that, if it were no longer mandated by law that we educate our children in some recognized way, many more children in our country would not receive any opportunity for education at all. Couldn't be good for any of us, could it? (I could understand your beef if the law currently mandated that everybody send their kids to public school ... but it only mandates that every child be educated in some manner ... I really can't even get past the notion that you disapprove of this law, I find it completely baffling that you think it would be better if the law allowed some children to receive no education ... wacky ... I have to say, I'm glad you're not in charge.) Love, J

P.S. And, I dunno ... maybe in the 70s or something, during the sexual revolution, women were working to feel "successful" or "powerful" or something (rather than for family-minded financial security and/or everyday financial necessity) and disrespected women who kept more traditional roles. But it seems to me that that kind of thinking is fairly outdated now. I know lots and lots of stay-at-home moms (again, very sorry for the personal perspective) - pretty much all my local friends are - and I haven't heard from any of them ever that this is an issue for them. This unfair judgement from working moms toward full-time parents doesn't seem to get much press in the alternative parenting magazines (like BrainChild and Mothering) that I subscribe to either. I kinda think, in this day and age ... that maybe this is just your issue.
Feb. 14th, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)
Re: you two sure are a team!
This unfair judgement from working moms toward full-time parents doesn't seem to get much press in the alternative parenting magazines (like BrainChild and Mothering) that I subscribe to either. I kinda think, in this day and age ... that maybe this is just your issue.

I didn't say from working moms, I said they feel a lack of respect from outsiders that society and school has taught them they need. Here are a couple of examples that perhaps I'm not the only wacky person to have felt that way. Also, please understand that my current study and postings on education should not be taken personally. I, too, find the things I'm learning to be shocking. Just for the record, when I say it would be a good thing to abolish gov. schools, I don't mean they should just close their doors tomorrow.

My journal is a place where I chronicle my own learning and interests, and invite different opinions.

Feb. 14th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC)
Re: you two sure are a team!
You bet we're a team. When Rabid spends money, it's our money, not mine. She would certainly replace my skill set and contributions to our family unit much more easily than I would her's. Indeed, if something were to happen to her, the boys and I would be lost. Rabid is the rock that provides the foundation for the family.

Regarding her listening to me when we talk about things, let's be clear; I said that when we discuss stuff and I find disagreement with things she says, I read the things that have caused her to come to such a position and try to understand the point she is making. If I still disagree, I do my own research to counter her position and explain my differences with it, expressed through statements and findings of other persons qualified and certified in their fields.

Thanks for the props regarding the Walmart story.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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