POLL: Are you pro public school? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Are you pro public school?
Yes! Absolutely! 115 47.33%
No way man! 75 30.86%
Not sure. 53 21.81%
Voters: 243. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-19-2006, 08:06 PM
 
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For me, public school is ideal since I am a SAHM. This makes all the difference in our world over here...

By being a SAHM helps me intervene when I need to. When I was teaching I didn't have the energy to.
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Old 03-19-2006, 10:50 PM
 
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I am def. not for public schools. I would support them if major changes were to occur. I am defiantely against them for young children (pre-k to 5th grade). Especially in the No Child Left Behind era...all around bad for kids. However, my children will probably attend our local school as we do not have any options outside of religious schools. I plan to be the parent that drives everyone at school nuts . well not really, but you can bet I will be questioning everything....I should consider homeschooling shouldn't I?

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Old 03-19-2006, 10:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon
I am def. not for public schools. I would support them if major changes were to occur. I am defiantely against them for young children (pre-k to 5th grade). Especially in the No Child Left Behind era...all around bad for kids. However, my children will probably attend our local school as we do not have any options outside of religious schools. I plan to be the parent that drives everyone at school nuts . well not really, but you can bet I will be questioning everything....I should consider homeschooling shouldn't I?

well from the public school (elementary ) teachers I know, they would LOVE to have ANY kind of parent involvement regarding their child's schooling!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-19-2006, 10:58 PM
 
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Yes, I am pro public, but not to the xclusion of someone home schooling. People need to do whatever works for heir family.

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Old 03-19-2006, 11:46 PM
 
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A few thoughts:
1) I don't get this fear of increased violence and drugs in public schools, when all research indicates it has decreased over the past few decades. Are there myths or "examples" going around supporting this image? Are we to believe that spoiled rich boys and girls don't ever bully or peer pressure or judge other kids and make fun of them?

2) The idea that the education isn't as challenging in public schools seems to indicate that the students and teachers aren't as smart or interesting than their private school counterparts. Private school teachers are paid less and required to meet lower standards. And there is infinite variety of abilities, talents, and interests among public school children - and exposure to that variety will only benefit others.

3) No one is more excited about parental involvement than a publc school teacher, and no one hates NCLB and standardized testing more. We do what we an to help children succeed onthese tests, but we would do away with them in a second.

4) The impression that teachers run classrooms like crazed autocrats is a bit off the mark - and private schools, unless they are waldorf or montessori are usually organized similarly.

5) In a public school, as a parent you have rights and you have a lot of influence over your child's education - if you take that opportunity.

6) If you have a special needs child - either gifted, physically disabled, or in need of special resources for learning differences or emotional troubles, your best bet is public schools (unless it's private school that is focused on their area of need).

I hope this doesn't come off as snarky, but seems that some folks are scared of public schools, and I think some of that is based on misconceptions.

I have no problem doing what some are referring to as "offering up my child" as a student at a school in transtion - then she can see what it means to play a role in claiming her community and working for change. She'll be stronger and smarter and for it. I know that you can get an excellent education anywhere if you demand it - and I can help her do that. What's the alternative - chose to ignore other people's children, then complain that my community isn't all I wish it were?
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca
I hope this doesn't come off as snarky, but seems that some folks are scared of public schools, and I think some of that is based on misconceptions.
I cannot speak for others, nor regarding schools in your area, but I have no misconceptions about the schools in my area because:

1) I am a survivor of that system.
2) My mother is a retired school teacher from that system.
3) My sister is currently (since 1987) a first grade teacher in that system.
4) I have followed the law changes, the budget changes, the test scores, etc.
5) Many children of friends are in this broken system; they tell me horror stories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca
I have no problem doing what some are referring to as "offering up my child" as a student at a school in transtion - then she can see what it means to play a role in claiming her community and working for change. She'll be stronger and smarter and for it. I know that you can get an excellent education anywhere if you demand it - and I can help her do that. What's the alternative - chose to ignore other people's children, then complain that my community isn't all I wish it were?
This is what my parents did to me. They hoped that the system could be saved and that I should stay in it in order to be a part of the change. I graduated 20 years ago and it is much, much worse. Here, it is not a system in transition. It is a system in freefall. I asked my sister what she thought I should do; she and my BIL have offered to help pay for my Dd to attend Montessori.
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Yo Becca
1) I don't get this fear of increased violence and drugs in public schools
It is just the media. I just read that violence against children is way down since the 1970's but you would not know that if you watch a lot of tv news.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca
2) Private school teachers are paid less and required to meet lower standards.
Depends on the system. Maybe this is true of religious schools but in my area, private school teachers are usually the best and brightest and get paid well. The best private schools even have retirement plans and great benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca
3) No one is more excited about parental involvement than a public school teacher
This is not necessarily true. Depends on the teacher and it depends on the parent. Even the best teacher is not going to want Mrs. Nosibody or Mrs. Criticizeseverything in the room.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca
5) In a public school, as a parent you have rights and you have a lot of influence over your child's education - if you take that opportunity.
Again, it depends. Mrs. Nosibody or Mrs. Criticizeseverything may not get very far with their demands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca
6) If you have a special needs child your best bet is public schools
Not if it is a school system close to bankruptcy and losing teachers right and left. In this case, your best bet is to move to a better district. But, those who cannot move and who cannot afford private school are left to decide what they can do, if anything.

I was a public and private school teacher for 10 years before my child was born. In the last three years, I have watched my state become engulfed in standardized test mania and I have watched my local school district nearly disintegrate under money mismanagement woes. The way things are going, if we cannot afford Waldorf, I may homeschool. I never thought I would ever say that. I always thought that education was what you made of it and you could get a good education no matter where you were. You just had to try. Now, I am looking at the possibility of sending my child to a school district where basic materials are not provided by the school, where 33% of children in the city go to private schools and lord only knows how many are homeschooled, where class size is increasing, where veteran teachers are retiring right and left, where recruitment of new teachers is at an all time low, where there are lawsuits aplenty brought by parents who's children are not getting the education they deserve. Things I took for granted, like wide availability of music programs and art education and Advanced Placement classes, are not offered at all schools nowadays. This is just unacceptable.

I feel almost sick to say this but I have very nearly lost faith in the public school system in my city. I wish I could move but that is not an option. Homeschool and private school are our only hope.
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:42 PM
 
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I think the way one feels about public schools probably has a lot to do with the quality available locally or what one's childhood experience was like. I went to absolutely horrid public schools and would not want my children to go to similar (I would save for private if we had to live in an area where they were like that, unfortunately homeschooling is not an option for us), but we now live in a very good school district so I feel pretty positive about public schools, though I will keep an eye on things and do our own educational activities too. Unfortunately we can't get away from standardized testing mania anywhere right now.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boongirl
Depends on the teacher and it depends on the parent. Even the best teacher is not going to want Mrs. Nosibody or Mrs. Criticizeseverything in the room.
laughup

Any chance you can copyright those names? Wouldn't these two mamas be hilarious featured in some weekly comic strip or something?

Linda
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:45 PM
 
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Admittedly, I voted, 'no way!'

I was severely bullied during my schooling years all the way through sophmore high school. When I finally had the guts to stand up for myself I was then branded a dyke. You think I would trust them, now?

The public school system here in the State of NJ, while has one of the highest graduation rates in the country, it is also the most fiscally irresponsible. We have over 600 districts who insist on their own automony and refuse to regionalize where appropriate. By regionalizing, we would have better buying power in purchasing our overpriced textbooks and computers and cutting the amount of wasted staff (like those 600 superintendents earning $100K a year. Hey brother, got a spare $60,000,000?). Our property taxes has doubled in the last couple of years, and we are expected to participate in fundraisers by buying over-priced wrapping paper and tin-canned candies and nuts.

The NCLB laws puts way too much pressure and focus on testing. 4 year olds are now expected to be able to know the entire alphabet and spell their name before entering kindergarden and have no sense of imagination or creativity. Arts and physED are cut due to budget contstraints. This is totally insane! There are no local charter schools with an alternative educational method nearby (the closest one to us is 41 miles away), and most of them are in Abbott Districts only.

We are looking into a Waldorf school for my twins, if the tuition becomes out of our reach, we will homeschool.

I have other gripes, but I will stop here before I write a nonfiction book.

Waldorf mama to 5yo b/g twins
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LindaCl
laughup

Any chance you can copyright those names? Wouldn't these two mamas be hilarious featured in some weekly comic strip or something?

Linda
A comic would be funny. It could be the adventures of new teacher, Ms. Iminovermyhead, and her public school cohorts, Mr. I'mindebt and Mrs. O'myclassisoutacontrol.
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:02 PM
 
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I voted no. The city I live in has a school system that is known throughtout the state as a cluster-f*ck!! I grew up military and always thought how great it will be for my kids to go to the same school with friends from the neighborhood for their entire school career. How wrong I was in this city! Kids are bused over 2 hours to get them to different schools... middle schoolers get on the bus in my neighborhood at 5:30 am!!! How CRAZY is that!!! Then the school board changes the school your child goes to just about every year. Kids that live right next door go to a different school becuase they are in a different "node". In our current node, the kids go to one school for 9, 10, and 11th grade...and go to a different school for their senior year. I do not want my kids to have to go thru all of this, so we are going to send my son to a charter school. Still a public school, but not in the same sense of the word.

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Old 03-20-2006, 08:22 PM
 
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I loved going to public school as a student - so much so that I became a public school teacher. Now that I'm a parent, I can't imagine sending my children to public school. The intense focus on testing and the curriculum problems I've encountered (I'm a math teacher, but fractions should not be taught in first grade!!) have totally turned me off.

I have no idea of what I'll be doing once DD is school aged - luckily I have 4 years to think about it.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:57 PM
 
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I am still scratching my head here. Why do people keep saying that bullies only exist in public school? I realize that there are likely no bullies in the case of homeschooling, but money (private schools) does not equal nicer. It just seems like a very elitist stance.

Anyway, in my son's public kindergarten class, there are a bunch of sweet little goofy kids who are learning to interact positively with each other. My son, precious little AP'd child that he is, still has some things to learn as well.

It just sounds like people think a gang of five year old thugs with knives is waiting to jump on their kid if they come to public school. It is melodramatic, totally inaccurate, and a little creepy (everyone else's kid is a problem child).

L.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Leatherette
I am still scratching my head here. Why do people keep saying that bullies only exist in public school? I realize that there are likely no bullies in the case of homeschooling, but money (private schools) does not equal nicer. It just seems like a very elitist stance.
Bullying is much less of an issue when your child is in a classroom with only 9 other children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette
Anyway, in my son's public kindergarten class, there are a bunch of sweet little goofy kids who are learning to interact positively with each other. My son, precious little AP'd child that he is, still has some things to learn as well.
That's why I'm sending my child to private school. Public schools aren't like that here. My bestfriend's son was in a kindergarten with 41 other children. It was chaos, and meanness ruled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette
It just sounds like people think a gang of five year old thugs with knives is waiting to jump on their kid if they come to public school. It is melodramatic, totally inaccurate, and a little creepy (everyone else's kid is a problem child).L.
There are other things to fear besides knives, which I don't worry about, but more the complete passification of the children and an annihilation of their curiousity and love of learning. Melodramatic is a word used to say that you don't believe our experiences. It would be nice to live where you live and have such a great school system.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:00 AM
 
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From what I've seen on this thread, it would seem that people are not opposed to public schools (even though they voted that they are) but rather, against some of the stuff that goes on in some public schools. To me that's about as logical as claiming to be opposed to homeschooling or private schools for the same reasons. It just doesn't make sense. Because some people have the opportunity and means to either homeschool or use private schools, it doesn't mean the public school system should be abolished.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
A comic would be funny. It could be the adventures of new teacher, Ms. Iminovermyhead, and her public school cohorts, Mr. I'mindebt and Mrs. O'myclassisoutacontrol.
:

Do it! Do it!

You've totally reminded me of this person I remembered from many years ago, 'nother board, 'nother lifetime, but she had the funniest homepage. At the time, anyway (that was probably going on ten years ago now) she was working as a teacher, and her "I-teach,-therefore-I'm-poor" theme was just one the funny running gags you'd find on that homepage.

All that I can find left of it now looking backing for it is this:
http://members.tripod.com/~juball/door.htm

She called her home the "Pepper Shack", and as you can see from the link--teaching didn't appear to give her much in the way of extra money back then to put toward those naggy little repairs that seem to come with keeping any home snug and tight from the bugs and the weather and all other manner of encroaching nuisances. But she made do just fine

I may have thought of her too because on her webpage she either linked or repeated (can't remember) the then charming story of "Mr. Pointy-Nose". It's a homeschool parable that maybe doesn't play as well now as it did then, but in those days, homeschoolers were the ones forever put on the Hot Seat and expected to defend their choices, and far too often against meddlesome truancy courts and other government 'enforcers' of one kind or another. Those who are now "forever put on the Hot Seat" are probably more likely to be the public ed parents, so maybe it's not quite as charming a parable now as it seemed then.

Linda
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:37 AM
 
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I'm sure there are bullies in private schools. The private high school I went to had 40 kids in 9-12 grade, with 12 different adults on campus at all times. There was a lot more supervision and community building. I knew my classmates very well. If this could occur in a public school, I'd love for ds to go there. The school I teach in has 1200 kids. 36 kids in a class. One security guard.

I'm not afraid of the public schools in my city because of the media, I am afraid of the public schools because I work in them and I see the knives we have pulled off kids. I don't really care if there are less knives now than there were in the 70's because I know there were 9 knives confinscated at my school last year. I don't know for sure, but I am guessing that in my 3 years at a school with 40 kids, there were 0 knives.

I also don't find my public school to be very diverse. It is 75% Latino with about the same percentage being reduced and free lunch (how the school counts "poor"). I have no problem with this, I just don't think it is a diverse environment. There are a handful of skaters/surfers/punks and the rest dress the same, same hair cut, very similar life experience, mostly all born here, raised here. I'm sure there are diverse public schools who feed from different areas of the same town, but my students don't have much diversity of life experience. My private school, where I was the poor kid on scholarship and where 50% of the students were on scholarship was a place where I met people who weren't like me. People who had traveled, people who dressed different, people who had different values, religions, experiences.

I don't think all private schools are elitist and homogenius, though they certainly can be.

I went to one nice public school with money, nice programs, diverse group of kids, and I'd send my kids there in a heartbeat. The schools here, no. But I am a dedicated public school teacher. I consider service to my community to be my life's work. I plan to make real change (now in the classroom and later in policy). I love teacher English Learners. I wish they could all go to another school.

I want more for my kids than I had. I don't want them in this crappy public school.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:05 AM
 
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I think there is a difference between saying particular schools aren't working and saying all public schools are bad.

I don't even live in some "fabulous" school district. I live in Seattle, whose school district is having it's share of problems, mostly organizational and financial. But I have seen a lot of great things happening in these schools, because I have gone and visited them, talked to parents who were happy as well as unhappy, and have done a lot of research. We do get to choose between the schools in the district. I got my first choice, but it is not one of the premiere, sexy or popular schools in the district. But it works great for my son.

I have no issue with people choosing private schools for their kids. I have friends who send their kids to specific private schools for very sound reasons, and they do so without denigrating my choice to go public. I take issue with people acting like sending your child to public school is akin to throwing them to the wolves.

That said, I don't know where a Kindergarten classroom would have 41 students. That doesn't sound legal. My son's class has 24, with assistants for students with special needs, extra teachers coming in to make groups smaller for reading, and lots of volunteering parents.

If my son were having lots of problems fitting into the environment, I would certainly have no qualms about making a different choice for him. I wouldn't leave him in an environment that was harming him to uphold my principles or something. I also wouldn't tell all parents to hate all public schools because I or my child had a bad experience in one of them.

L.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Leatherette
I think there is a difference between saying particular schools aren't working and saying all public schools are bad.

I don't even live in some "fabulous" school district. I live in Seattle, whose school district is having it's share of problems, mostly organizational and financial. But I have seen a lot of great things happening in these schools, because I have gone and visited them, talked to parents who were happy as well as unhappy, and have done a lot of research. We do get to choose between the schools in the district. I got my first choice, but it is not one of the premiere, sexy or popular schools in the district. But it works great for my son.

I have no issue with people choosing private schools for their kids. I have friends who send their kids to specific private schools for very sound reasons, and they do so without denigrating my choice to go public. I take issue with people acting like sending your child to public school is akin to throwing them to the wolves.

That said, I don't know where a Kindergarten classroom would have 41 students. That doesn't sound legal. My son's class has 24, with assistants for students with special needs, extra teachers coming in to make groups smaller for reading, and lots of volunteering parents.

If my son were having lots of problems fitting into the environment, I would certainly have no qualms about making a different choice for him. I wouldn't leave him in an environment that was harming him to uphold my principles or something. I also wouldn't tell all parents to hate all public schools because I or my child had a bad experience in one of them.

L.
(bolding mine). I am in complete agreement with you there, Leatherette. My son is in a public school in Seattle, too, and so far has been a very positive experience.
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Old 03-21-2006, 06:31 AM
 
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Yes. ITA with mamajama's post. As ever.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:24 PM
 
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I am pro public schools. I would like to see a lot of things about public schools change, but I think they are extremely important to our society.

We are homeschooling dd, and dh is a public school teacher. I feel extremely privileged to live in an area that has relatively safe, relatively functional public schools, and be able to say "No thanks, we are making a different choice." But hsing is best for my dd and our family, so that is the choice we are making.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette
It just sounds like people think a gang of five year old thugs with knives is waiting to jump on their kid if they come to public school. It is melodramatic, totally inaccurate, and a little creepy (everyone else's kid is a problem child). L.
Well maybe not necessarily with knives. But I was gang beaten by five year olds. Imagine yourself with a hearing impairment and a slight speech delay being backed into a corner of a chainlink fence on the playground by a group of five year old girls, your hair grabbed, clothes torn and slapped and kicked. You go to the principal's office tell your story in tears, the guilty kids are brought in, told to apologize, but they do so while they glare at you with a look of venom. Next day you are teased in the class as a 'tattletale' and then the rest of the kids (especially the boys) join in the tirade...and the teacher does nothing...absolutely nothing.

And those were on good days...

Am I being melodramatic?

Waldorf mama to 5yo b/g twins
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Leatherette
That said, I don't know where a Kindergarten classroom would have 41 students. That doesn't sound legal. My son's class has 24, with assistants for students with special needs, extra teachers coming in to make groups smaller for reading, and lots of volunteering parents.

If my son were having lots of problems fitting into the environment, I would certainly have no qualms about making a different choice for him. I wouldn't leave him in an environment that was harming him to uphold my principles or something. I also wouldn't tell all parents to hate all public schools because I or my child had a bad experience in one of them.

L.
Not only are there 42 children in each of the 3 kindergarten classes at that school, there isn't even an assistant in the classroom because they can't keep one working there more than 3 weeks. Plus, about 1/4 of the student have moderate to severe behavioral problems. My friend is only one of two households in the classroom that has a SAH parent, so only two parents ever volunteer in the classroom.

As far as telling all parents to hate public schools, I would not go that far. However, I would say that they are generally not up to the standards of European schools.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cmd
I am in complete agreement with you there, Leatherette. My son is in a public school in Seattle, too, and so far has been a very positive experience.
Glad you both are having positive experiences with Seattle Schools. Having taught in Seattle elementary schools before dd was born, I would not put her in any of them. My experience with all the bs that they heave on teachers without backing it up with resources has made me not only want to keep my child out of the schools but I am also considering switching careers. My experience in Seattle Public Schools killed my desire to teach. It was that horrible.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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There was a poll awhile back in the news, I forget the exact numbers but it was striking that a very high percentage of parents believed that the schools overall were in terrible trouble, most public schools rated "very poor" or something like that, but *far* higher percentages said "But my kids' school is one of the good ones." IOW there is some disconnect going on, some element of denial, it is *other* people's schools that are terrible but things are all right where my kid is. That's also interesting in view of the contrast betw/, for instance, those saying they use Seattle public schools and they're fine, and those who have taught in them saying my god I'd never put my kid there.

It may be on the other hand that a little parental denial is a useful thing.
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Old 03-22-2006, 04:07 AM
 
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Well maybe not necessarily with knives. But I was gang beaten by five year olds. Imagine yourself with a hearing impairment and a slight speech delay being backed into a corner of a chainlink fence on the playground by a group of five year old girls, your hair grabbed, clothes torn and slapped and kicked. You go to the principal's office tell your story in tears, the guilty kids are brought in, told to apologize, but they do so while they glare at you with a look of venom. Next day you are teased in the class as a 'tattletale' and then the rest of the kids (especially the boys) join in the tirade...and the teacher does nothing...absolutely nothing.

And those were on good days...

Am I being melodramatic?
Medeanj,

I am really sorry that happened to you. I do not think you are being melodramatic. I was speaking more to people who assume that all kids in public school are future criminals, with no reason to do so other than bias and misinformation. I do think you experienced something horrible, but not common (to the degree you experienced it).

Bad things do happen, everywhere. So do good things. I went to a private school where one of the teachers had sex with some of the students and nothing was done about it. Some kids are beaten up daily at home.

I taught at a Seattle Public School as well, and will be going back next year. I did not find it to be any more difficult than other districts I have taught in. They are all hurting for funds. To me, the hardest part of working in the public schools I have been in has been lack of funding - and that comes from the community. I have taught in one rural district and two urban ones, and I think those two types of communities lose out versus suburban ones.

And as a public school teacher, if any child reported to me that they were being hurt by someone on the playground, I would be out there or make sure another adult could be out there to get to the bottom of it. And I think 95% of the teachers I have known would, too. The other 5%, I guess they just went into teaching for the prestige and exorbitant paychecks.

L.
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Old 03-24-2006, 01:15 PM
 
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i support public schools in theory. i've seen bad ones and good ones.
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Old 03-26-2006, 08:32 AM
 
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Whether or not one thinks some schools are good/bad, the issue we are discussing is "public schools" in the general sense, no?

I entirely support public schools. I would not want my child in a private school where reality is hidden from her in that she will only meet children of a certain socioeconomic status.

Additionally, imagine what would happen if every parent who had a child in private education pulled that child out and began using the public system. Imagine! There would be some serious change to the flawed system and more resources allocated as well. The powerful wealthy, with no alternative school to turn away from the public system with, would act for change with the resources to do so.

4 kids under 10
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:13 PM
 
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I think it is worth mentioning, though I don't really know if it matters for this particular thread or not (!) that some private schools are very down to earth, hand-to-mouth kind of operations that are full of diverse people as opposed to the rich, elite. I know of one particular school like that around here, and I assume there are many. Yes, a family does have to come up with at least $4000 or more, but some families are doing without a second car, working 3 jobs, no vacations, etc. to do it.

 
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