I remember being in school (it seems so long ago now) and how there were always one or two teachers that truly inspired me and made me enjoy learning. I really like being in school, and like learning from them. Unfortunately not enough to keep me from dropping out. They did their part however, the choice to drop out of school at 16 was my responsibility and decision along with my parents, NOT the school systems.
For a long time I have taken the view that our public school system sucks and we need to start over, or turn all control back over to the states instead of the federal government. My view on that has started to change over the last couple of years. Up until his Junior year, my son has been in private school his entire life, as have both of my girls. We finally made the choice at the end of his sophomore year that we just couldn’t afford it anymore, and put them in public school.
Some of the things that I have learned are these:
They got a decent education in private school, but nothing spectacular. Most private school teachers (including very pricey exclusive schools) make HALF or less than public school teachers. That doesn’t mean that they don’t do a fine job, but usually they are somewhat limited in funds and stuff that they can do with the kids. The big selling point for me at the time when they each started was the SOCIAL environment. Sure, kids in private schools have sex, get pregnant, and smoke dope too, but it is not nearly as prevalent as it is in the public schools. I didn’t want my kids around that shit, and still don’t. By the time the girls are in middle school, I am hoping to be able to afford to send them back to Oak Mountain, or one of the other private schools nearby, but it has nothing to do with the education they will receive, it’s the KIDS they are around.
I hate to go out on a limb (not really) but if you hang with trailer trash all day long and that is all you see, that is what you start to act like.
My son has spent his Junior and Senior years in public school, and for a change, he is being challenged. He’s in all AP classes, and also is getting the chance to participate in sports, which is much more difficult in a small private school as well, unless you are into golf or tennis.
The people that bitch because teachers make such HUGE salaries just don’t know what they are talking about. My wife for instance, has busted her butt and gotten two degrees, and is in her twelfth year of teaching. According to the US Census Bureau, people with a Masters Degree earn on AVERAGE between 70-80,000 per year base starting salary. She makes somewhere in the 40’s. She has her Master’s and will still make less than I do. Boy, that’s huge. Now, if we moved into a more populous county, she could probably raise that at least 10k per year, but my salary would go up as well, just like everyone else’s.
I have sort of lost my train of thought on this, but I read a post over at Catfish’s site and it just crawled all over me tonight. This was way too long to put in a comment there, so I decided I would put it down here.
I think the biggest issues in getting a good education, whether it be public school or private is parental involvement, and having the administrators AND parents be willing to back the teachers up. When I acted stupid and got detention, or suspended (say it isn’t so!) my parents would ask what my dumb ass did. They didn’t call the teacher whining about makeup work and call the principal to let them know they were going to take the school to civil court or whine about how unfair it was, or accuse them of discrimination. They weren’t so worried about me getting my feelings hurt as they were about me getting a good education.
(Cross-Posted at Indie Bloggers)
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