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Education in an unenlightened state

So, as most people probably know by now, my state's Board of Education evicerated the Social Studies cirriculum last week. Apparently they have another vote coming up in May, but I don't really see the five democrats on the Board managing to wrangle three votes from the ten republicans.

So, as a Texan that doesn't have kids but plans on it in the next year or so, I'm left feeling a little sick. The two public schools near my house are excellent. The one that we're zoned to has a bilingual cirriculum which would guarantee fluency in two languages for my kids. The one that is actually closer is a k-8 Montessouri school. Both have reported fairly high test scores over the last few years, both are in fairly close walking distance to our house, and I generally felt a comfort level in the idea of sending my kids to either.*

But now, I'm not so sure. If we're in public school, my kids are going to learn a right wing view of history, economics and sociology. My kids will have to receive supplemental education in order to actually know what they're supposed to know to be good citizens. I suppose it means more work for me and Graham, but I fear that we'll miss something or the kids will disregard what we tell them about Thomas Jefferson because he's not on their test.

So I guess the options are to either look into private school or look into home-schooling. I don't have a problem with private school per se. I went to private school my entire life (Graham also mostly went to private schools), and I'm comfortable with the idea of private school. But, I had generally assumed that I'd send my kids to public school for k-6, maybe to eight, and then transfer over to my college prep high school when they get old enough. I liked the idea of ensuring that my kids had socio-economically diverse peers in their lives. I liked the idea of not having to pay upwards of $13,000 a year to send my kids to school for the early years.

But if my kids are going to get a downright bad education at public schools, then I don't really see an alternative but, er, to seek out alternatives.

Part of me thinks that this whole vote is some sort of Republican plot to destroy public education. They never liked the idea in the first place. And if there are more people like me who flee from public schools because of the things they will teach my kids, then the divide between the haves and the have nots will become even deeper than it already is.

I hope that the situation will resolve itself by the time my kids are in school. I mean, it's at least six years, probably closer to seven, until kindergarden for the first. But it makes me angry and scared that something so fundamental can be fucked with by people who have no idea what they're doing.

*I lean more towards the Montessouri, only because Graham speaks no Spanish at all, and our kids would learn predominately in Spanish in kindergarden through fourth grades. However, the bilingual school is rated "Exemplary" by the Texas Education Agency, and the Montessouri is rated "Academically Acceptable". I think that this is because the Montessouri changed everything in 2005 and is still in rampup stage.

Comments

( 15 comments — Say something )
cz_unit
Mar. 18th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
Remember: Stupid people vote Republican.

Once you figure that out it all makes sense.

C
jasheffe
Mar. 18th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
No chance of the Board of Education at a Federal level stepping since this has the opportunity to not only affect Texas but the rest of the nation as well.
charlayne
Mar. 18th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
Two of our grand kids go to a Clear Creek elementary school that has been found to be "exemplary" five years in a row. I'm impressed with what they are teaching. And both their parents and Bruce and I try to help supplement everything they are learning. The 10-year old is in the Gifted program in math and science and reads 2 years above his level. He loves reading and we keep him supplied in books. The 8 year old reads a lot too and is very inquisitive about things such as history. Since that's my subject, we talk a lot about it.

I'm not happy about what I am hearing coming out of that textbook committee. Creationism should be in the world history part under "creation mythology" and not in the science class where evolution should be taught. As I have had to argue with people before, if there is no evolution, explain how virus changes each year (like flu).
dreamingkat
Mar. 20th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
When we were in clear lake school district we had a few issues. They refused to recognize me as a parental unit. They refused to take action when my son was teased about having "two mommies" - giving me stoney looks when I brought it up. And then they refused to help him with his problems writing - the only solution they would consider was making him stay in for recess and lunch - one week he didn't get to leave the classroom at all.

We then moved him to a charter school, which was good for him, but their middle school sucked. We moved closer into town, and Houston ISD has been great. Both kids are attending TH Rogers magnet school.

I am concerned about these really screwed up curriculum changes. I wonder if the solution is to have a "liberal school" that meets after school a few times a week, or on a weekend or something. Kinda like conservative Jewish kids go to Hebrew school, or Korean kids go to Korean school.
charlayne
Mar. 20th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I would love to have schools go into a voucher system so that we could send our kids to whatever school would fit best but that has been voted down so often.

As a pagan parent, I had no trouble with the schools here. I went in at first when we brought my daughter down to live with us and told them what I expected. I had to go back once to remind them about religious freedoms. I had to do it again in high school but that was it. We were at Brookside and Clear Brook. Grandkids are at Greene.
dreamingkat
Mar. 21st, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, how long ago were you at Brookside? That was the elementary school we were at (~5-6 yrs ago).
charlayne
Mar. 21st, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Brookside is intermediate. Kimmi graduated from Clear Brook in 2002. She was in Brookside in the mid-nineties.
dreamingkat
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
doh! It was Brookwood that my son went to, not Brookside.
twistedcat
Mar. 18th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
oh, look, i have an opinion.
Montessori is AWESOME for early education...

The secondary and high school in the area where my parents live is (or was) rated in the top 10 in the country, in a liberal area. and it still sucked. I did 7th grade and senor year there, and it wasn't up to snuff. my other 3 years of high school were Waldorf, and 6th & 8th grade were overseas at different schools.

I am very much not-a-fan of public school education, especially since Bush fucked with it. It's all about catering to the lowest common denominator.
archaica
Mar. 18th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
I read the same "plot to destroy public education" idea somewhere else ... I'll see if I can find it, it was well-written.
rainbow
Mar. 18th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
if you explore homeschooling options, the i hear the best things about from friends and acquaintances are unschooling and child-led learning.
peterfuhry
Mar. 19th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
I think history education, even in a liberal state, always needs to be supplemented. That's what we do over here.

Also a good thing is that teachers themselves tend to be educated. And often, a lot of the parents as well.

I'm not giving up on public school. My instinct is to stay and fight.
momwolf
Mar. 19th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
When you have one, get the kid on the waiting list at St Johns from birth. Even if you decide against it...you'll have the choice.

I went private and sent my daughter private and hae never regretted it.
(Deleted comment)
datawhorevoyeur
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
But now, I'm not so sure. If we're in public school, my kids are going to learn a right wing view of history, economics and sociology. My kids will have to receive supplemental education in order to actually know what they're supposed to know to be good citizens. I suppose it means more work for me and Graham, but I fear that we'll miss something or the kids will disregard what we tell them about Thomas Jefferson because he's not on their test.

I plan to start a sociology/history based extracurricular curriculum club that should be up and running by the time Leo hits kindergarten, and you are more than welcome to partake. In fact, I insist you do so, by offering your legal/regional history expertise. *nods*

These bastards are not going to know what hit them once I join the PTA.
:-D
( 15 comments — Say something )

'stina

'stina is, surprisingly enough, a lawyer from Houston, Texas who rambles about quite a number of things.

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