I'm not a libertarian. I'm a Green
, but I still think the school system is broken, and getting more and more broken every year. I live in California - the land of constant educational reforms - and here we are, still broken. I'm on an e-mail list for California public school teachers and parents who discuss their opposition to testing mania, NCLB, etc. The state superintendent of schools used to post there too, trying to convince the posters that what was actually happening to them, and the kids they worked with wasn't actually happening. I, and many others told him real stories about real children who were being adversely effected by the state testing mania. We told him real stories about what "high stakes" was doing the lives of these children. We also asked him where *his* school age children went to school. Guess where? An expensive private school in the bay area! And he is the top dog in California, in total denial about what is really happening in the schools he's charged with overseeing.
He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, too. But when asked why he didn't send his own children to these "great" California public schools (and dontcha think a bazillionaire like he would live in a good district?), and when faced with real stories time and time again which he couldn't refute with platitudes about "reaching all children" and "improving schools" blah blah blah, he stopped posting.
When I was still working, I worked as a contract service provider in a public school classroom for autistic children as a speech language pathologist. The teacher was the best teacher I have ever seen, or known anywhere. She performed miracles with these kids day after day. The parents *loved* her. Their kids were talking, reading, laughing, interacting! Parents bought gifts for the classroom. They were beside themselves with joy! The administration (you already know what I'm about to say, right?) did everything they could to make her miserable. Another therapist who worked in the classroom - the OT - was useless, and ineffectual. I've worked with dozens of OTs through the years, and I have never seen someone so incompetent. Guess who the administration loved? The OT. And this was at one of the "top" schools in the district. It made me sick.
These are anecdotes, I know. I have hundreds of them. After going to public schools my whole childhood, working in them (never paid by them, though. Always paid privately, and contracted to work in them) or going to meetings in them, and having my son in one for 6 weeks before I literally walked into his classroom, picked him up, and walked out... I have no use for traditional public schools, and think they are far more whacked out and damaged than people know. Even more than very involved parents know.