photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Please Raise My School Tax

So we were discussing public school, my home schooled boy and myself.

Alec's been home schooled his whole life- never stepped foot in a classroom.

We home school for many reasons, and none of them have to do with religion.

We home school because a class room cannot possibly provide ENOUGH world experiences for children to be immersed in- cultures, food, travels, people.

We home school because of Ward's many trips to MD Anderson Cancer Hospital- if Alec went to public school, I'd have to either choose to stay home with Alec and let Ward go to the hospital by himself (unacceptable), or leave Alec here to attend school while his dad is in the hospital (unacceptable).

We home school because we believe that with the overcrowding and stress on standardized tests built into the public school experience, that school has become more about training a work force- people used to going somewhere 5 days a week for 8 hours a day to obey someone they don't really respect telling them stuff they don't wanna hear or do- than about teaching students to question, to think, to form their own opinions.

We home school because Ward's on disability and I have flexible hours and the public school starts at 7:30am and we don't feel like dragging our asses out of bed to get him there on time. (JUST KIDDING- THAT ONE'S FOR MY FRIEND CATHY, THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL)

So we were discussing public school, my home schooled boy and myself.

Discussing how important it is- this public school.

How important that schools are there, and stocked properly with up to date equipment and books and teachers who are paid well and respected.

That I'm more than happy to pay school taxes even though we do not use the schools- we vote for every single school improvement in every single election.

I'm well aware that not every family is in a position temperamentally or economically to home school their children.

We're lucky.

So very lucky.

In so many ways.

Last weekend we spent with my friend Cathy the school principal and her husband Mark and the breakfast table discussion was about the children she sees every day in her school.

Children with homes that are lacking in anything remotely resembling stable or normal or secure.

Parents who are distracted by too much work, too many addictions, too little training in the most basic of parenting skills.

This is not a poverty-stricken area; this is solidly middle class territory.

Cathy and her staff spend hours of time and invest so much of their hearts into each and every student in their school, and I know they're not unique- these teachers and administrators and students.

They are legion. They are common. They are America.

So where would they go and what would happen to these children if there were no public schools?

What would happen to the little girl whose very strict mother told Cathy "Don't you praise her- she should do her homework because that's her job- it's not something special".

Cathy praises that girl every chance she gets.

What would happen to the little boy whose mother has no idea where he is, grade-wise because her current boyfriend takes care of the watching of the children.

The woman was clueless that Cathy cannot legally talk to the boyfriend about any of the children- he's not the father of any of them.

And I'm afraid- truly afraid thinking of these children with nowhere to go except home where they're strangled by neglect, pummeled by ignorance, suffocated in indifference.

As a home schooling mother, I'm supposed to (according to the unwritten code) rage about the evils of public schooling but I just can't.

I see my own boy and his home schooled friends- all confident and literate and at ease in the world around them and I'm so very proud.

I think about the children Cathy sees every day- children who have no 'normal' other than the stability and care they get at school.

As far as my family is concerned- my home schooling family- we want more money spent on public schools. We know that we're in the minority- and always will be. It's vitally important that our children's public-schooled peers are also well-educated, and critical thinkers and skeptics, filled with both joy and caution, who have a solid knowledge of technology and a love for the arts.

Because all children are the future, not just our own.

1 comment:

  1. I made a choice to not have children and I have always gladly paid school taxes. Those children will determine the world I live in, from a purely selfish standpoint I need them to be well educated, well informed and well balanced. Teachers should not be surrogate parents but thankfully many go well beyond what some parents are prepared to do for their children. Now if we would just pay them well enough that it becomes a viable profession for more men.........