Public education is not my favorite and I have many opinions about it. Most of those opinons are critisms. I think the public educational system teaches to the dumbest common denominator and they only teach students how to take standardized tests. They should teach comprehension and application, not test scores.
Neither of my two school age children are getting what I consider to be a worthwhile education and it upsets me. I worry about their futures. I draw from my own experiences with public school and the lack of education. Also from my experiences in college and the topics I hear about from my friends with school age children. More and more parents I know are dissatisfied with public education. We all seem to want something better, yet we cannot afford tuition for private schools. Where does this leave us?
I have thought about homeschooling my children over the years. The main reason that I decide not to do it is because I will not follow through. I need the break I get while the oldest two are in school. I cannot keep up with the math and science curriculum. I have a learning disability in math; on my best day I have a 5th grade math level. And I lack the creativity needed to guide them through lessons that will result in grabbing their attention and stimulating their minds.
I believe all public schools should be year-round. Try making this argument while in your sophomore year of high school. I though the other kids in class were going to lynch me in the faculty parking lot. Japan has year-round schooling and they far exceed us. Cursive writing, or script, should be taught to all students. The schools my daughters attend have removed this from their curriculum siting it is an unneeded skill in todays society. All schools should have a garden and/or green house. Students and staff should have to work in it and the food should be used in the lunch rooms. As a parent, I will find away to arrange daycare for my toddler so I can volunteer once a week. Nutrition, stress management, study skills and time management skills should all be required classes assigned to specific grade levels. Math, science, English Lit and English Comp should be required for each grade level. Keyboarding should be mandatory. Personal finance & record keeping should be mandatory during high school. And gym class is currently a sad joke that needs to be updated to teach real physical fitness. It should be for at least an hour each day.
Teachers should be paid more. Think of all the work they do. All of the supplies they purchase for their students. I know managers at McDonald’s that have a higher annual salary than some teachers. Class sizes should be smaller and each class should have at least one teachers aide at all times.
Huge pet peeve of mine: focus on education, not sports!!! All to often I see schools focusing on how well their school is doing in sporting events, while half the student body is behind in basic reading and math skills. Proof that some people have no grasp on priorities. No, I will not hear the argument that sports bring in money. Not a good enough reason.
Books should be assigned to grade levels. Example: I attended three different high schools in the same state, but different school districts. School one, school two, school three, then transferred back to school two. At the first school, Catcher In The Rye was not required reading at all. At the second school, this book was required reading for 10th grade students in the district. At the third school, it was required reading for 12th grade students. Then I had to read it again in college because my professor said it was college level reading material. Guess what, it is the same book, with the same assignments and the same classroom discussion questions. Pathetic! Pick one grade level and teach the book. If a different grade level wants to teach the same book, the assignments and discussion questions must be different and harder! To Kill A Mocking Bird is another book. The first high school said it was 10th grade level. The second school said it was 9th grade level. The third school said they did not teach it because it was required reading at the local community college. Due to moving around so much, I never read this book. Please pick one grade level for a book and teach it to everyone.
My views on public education jump around from one topic to the next. The bottom line is, public education needs help. I wish I was smart enough to join the political conversation and truly contribute to finding solutions! Where are all the smart people out there?