a wine-enhanced rant
i'm having a discussion elswhere online about public school and the other education options we make for our own children. it is making me think and triggering the soapbox that i so often pull out when asked about education and funding and all that is tied into it. because i am incredibly passionate about this topic. annoyingly so, as some would say.
i have made a choice to send my offspring to public school. i say this as a person who never once recieved a public education. my past experiences in elementary and secondary education are topics for a separate post but suffice it to say my experiences were not those of the typical public school educated child in the 80's and 90's. so i made a choice, based on economic factors on both ends of the spectrum, to choose public for my own offspring.
right, so i'm also, obviously, a public school teacher. and i teach special ed. for those not in the know, we are the population that bring the test scores down, that are swept under the rug when possible and villified the rest of the time. it is also no coincidence that there are a dispoportionate number of special ed students in the "minority", "at-risk", and "economically disadvantaged" subpopulations.
i could probably, with some juggling and family assistance, figure out a way to either homeschool or "private school" my own child. but i won't. i can't imagine anything but the direst of circumstances that would change my mind either. part of this is the privilege of living in a very wealthy and envied school district. but i think i would feel the same wherever i lived.
public school may be seen as a failing system by many and at times i'd agree. but it is the largest education system we have and i see know great alternatives on the horizon. certainly no alternatives for the population of people that can't afford the more expensive choices. so what do those of us determined to change the system do? some say the only answer is to abandon it and start from scratch. a noble idea. also a privileged one. i would rather stay in the trenches. it is exhausting, it is heartbreaking, it is a downhill battle, but it is also often totally worth it. rewarding. and that is enough.
i can't imagine leaving this system to be run solely by those who think is is running like a well-oiled machine. because they are the ones who ignore my kids. the onces who would sooner see them at another facility than in their classrooms. and i'm not ready to lay down to them. i'd rather stay in that publically funded, test-driven classroom and sneak in my own messages of self-advocation and true critical thinking so that when the time comes they can make better decisions for themselves. because this is the future. all children. not just the kids that fit so neatly into the box.