Wednesday, March 12, 2008

California and our Wacky Education System

Living in California you are pretty much guaranteed a wonderful climate, awesome beaches, really nice skiing conditions in winter, beautiful sunsets, and…… total insanity when it comes to the education system!

If the news of our current education crisis hasn’t reached all of my friends throughout the USA, let me put it like this….it’s bad! We are currently laying off hundreds of teachers in just the LA /OC area, alone. Our classroom sizes will be immediately affected, causing ratios of over 30+/1 in most grade levels. Taxing the teaching resources that are left, and quite honestly, NOT putting our children first!

Many of my friends have chosen to home school their kids because of so many disagreements they have had with our education system throughout the years. Yes, core beliefs that there is a God who is our Creator was one reason that many opted to teach their own children at home, before the ideas of evolution without any mention of the theory of intelligent design were going to be taught to their little ones. But there was also a strong belief that they could teach their own children more effectively at home. It is a safe, loving, and nurturing environment. The kids socialize with other home schoolers during the day. Sometimes home schooling is done to get a kid through a rough patch, either emotionally or educationally. There were times when I also toyed with the idea, but instead we decided on private school. We are blessed to be able to give our children this option, but there are many who can not.

The California court system has now said that home schooling our children, without a teaching credential, is not allowed. Tens of thousands of kids in our own state face the chance of being truant. Their parents face possible charges and fines if they continue to home school without the teaching credential.

Now I ask you, with the state of education going through all this current upheaval, where classroom sizes are increasing, and staffing is decreasing, why would any caring parent choose now as the time to put their kids back into the system? Why take away our right, as parents, to choose what’s best for our kids? They are OUR kids, after all. Not to mention that most home schooled kids do well above average on their yearly state mandated tests. So, what’s the real issue here? Could it be MONEY???

The district gets about $45 a day per child, IF they are in school. They lose that money if the child should (gasp) get sick and miss a day or two….or worse yet….are home schooled.

I’m not a credentialed educator. I highly respect teachers. I think they are completely under paid, over-worked, and when the poop starts rolling down-hill from the big boys on the school boards, it’s the classroom teachers that are at the bottom of the hill. They have to perform under extreme conditions (I ask you…how would YOU like to have 35 fourth graders in one room?) They have to teach the kids not only the basics, but that which will enable them to score high on the state tests. It’s all about the numbers. If a school does well on the test, the district looks great, then the principal looks great, and, oh yeah, the teacher…well she was just doing her job!

I support my friends who home school their kids. I will vote for whatever will enable them to continue to have the right to choose what’s best for their own children. I also wonder how high this particular case is going to go. We suspect to the State Supreme Court.

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