From An Anonymous Educator In Virginia.
On the “upside” of COVID-19…
After six weeks or so of anguishing over my son’s decision to attend a private school to complete his senior year of high school, I have come to realize there is finally something positive from COVID-19. Having had an excellent public education, I actually thought my children would have the same. COVID-19 finally made me accept just how badly the public school system is failing U.S. students and most educators.
After years of hating school, my spectrum son began to find his niche in secondary school. While not a social kid, he loved all of his high school teachers, especially his language and theatre teachers. Beginning in eighth grade, my son would only teasingly joke about not wanting to attend school in the morning, but would come home happy with funny stories to share at the dinner table. I thought:
Between subbing for 11 years in my son’s school district and the appearance of COVID-19, I had to finally accept the reality:
Public education is a tremendous failure.
While there are many gifted educators, the curriculum is purely politically motivated and created to “dummy down” the students who do not have the motivation to succeed on their own.
Common core mathematics not only encourages failure but deters students from pursuing STEM degrees. Even accomplished mathematicians and nuclear physicists have admitted if they were in school today they would hate math. Children do not read classic or historical literature; they read books that explain their feelings, gender identities, and racial perplexities that only confuse them and encourage divisiveness (but that is a post for another time). Computers and calculators are the norm in public classrooms to insure students are adept at taking on line standardized testing. Beginning in first grade, three letters students and teachers alike hate, “SOL’s” (Standards of Learning).
Forget about actually learning, it is all about teaching to the test. Students are not pushed to work the most important muscle of the human body for creating, researching, and communicating – the brain.
Thank you to the Chinese Communist Party for COVID-19, as I finally accepted the reality of the failing U.S. public education system. My son chose in August to transfer to a private school providing in-person classes. As we discussed the curriculum, I knew if my son chose to pursue his full potential he would do amazingly well in the private school he chose to attend. He had to admit the school seemed to offer him more academically than his public secondary school. A tremendous choice for a boy who does not like transitions or school work.
No computers, no calculators, no cell phones, no multiple choice tests, no cursing, uniforms for all, manners a must, and the worst of all, only respectful dialogue allowed! In other words, be open to different opinions without verbally attacking another student and instead present facts why you disagree. Classical education that teaches all aspects of history; history that parallels the literature students read and write about in class. Yes, they actually write their answers (which must be neat and legible). Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are also graded, which is almost unheard of in our public school system. In public schools there is a grading rubric for just about everything. If spelling, grammar, and punctuation are not listed on that rubric, then a teacher may not grade on those concepts. Gosh forbid you offend anyone who does not have the desire to learn proper grammar skills. As someone who has lived overseas, I can tell you firsthand their school systems do not dummy down their language arts or any part of the curriculum for anyone.
Granted, class sizes are much smaller than in Fairfax County Public Schools. Instead of 25 to 30 students in tight spaces, my son’s new school has class sizes of 5 to 10. The private school has kept the in-person sizes small to meet social distancing requirements. The school also has students who are virtually attending the classes as some live overseas or local families were not ready for their children to return to “brick and mortar.” The smaller class sizes truly do make a tremendously positive difference for teaching and learning.
Another bonus for private school educators: there are consequences for disruptive students. Not only may the disruptive child be immediately sent to the headmaster, if the bad behavior is not corrected the parents are called to retrieve their child. Teachers instruct and students learn without the constant disruptive behavior.
Unlike public schools, private school parents actually have to take responsibility for their children’s poor behavior.
There was a time when this was the same expectation in public schools but no more. Parents threaten to sue if a teacher hurts a student’s feelings:
Imagine what could be accomplished in the public schools with:
- smaller class sizes;
- classical education instead of ideological indoctrination; and
- creative, critical and cognitive curriculum for all students.
Not to mention behavioral expectations that parents must reinforce at home. Instead, politicians, academia, and unions use the public schools as their personal platforms to encourage divisiveness among the masses while promoting ideological agendas. They do not care about what is best for students or educators, only what will insure their power and influence. Sadly, most public school teachers fall for the ideological agendas or fear for their jobs if they rebel instead of standing up to those who continually dummy down public school curriculum.
The answers are easy for change: replace the Prussian education model controlled by power-driven ideologues with a system that promotes open and respectful discourse; cognitive, critical and creative thinking; all history (ancient and modern); and common sense mathematics.
While the failures of the U.S. public education system have been obvious for decades, thanks to COVID-19, I accept fault for not sooner accepting the truth.
- Main graphic: https://modernalternativemama.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Why-the-Public-School-System-is-a-Failure-2.jpg
- One of many articles on the failures of common core math: https://www.educationviews.org/engineer-explains-common-core-math-disaster/