POLL: Are you pro public school? - Page 4 - 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

First ... 2  3  4
Learning at School > POLL: Are you pro public school?
orca's Avatar orca 01:49 AM 03-27-2006
I am a supporter of public education and think that we owe it to future generations to make it work. Not everyone can afford to stay home or send their kids to private schools. Did you know in some public school boards in Canada you have the choice to put your child in an accredited Montessori classroom? I guess that is what I would like to see more of: choice within the public school system.

I tell so many of my friends who are considering private school for any number of reasons to really consider what it is that they think they will get *more* of in a private institution. I've taught in both public and private schools and my experiences have been far more rewarding in the public system. Personally, if I had the cash that so many of these schools require for tuition in the big cities these days I'd take my children on a fabulous holiday & show them the world. Learning about Egypt this year? Well, let's go see what all the fuss is about... what a great field trip that would be!


Leatherette's Avatar Leatherette 05:08 AM 03-29-2006
Quote:
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.
I hear that, but there are many families that wouldn't have food if they had to come up with 4000 dollars (0r more - the cheapest private school I have seen is 6500), and wouldn't be able to volunteer to make the homey little private school work, because they already needed to work three jobs anyway, with no car and not even a hope of a vacation or a day off.

L.
griffin2004's Avatar griffin2004 06:01 AM 03-29-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanguine_speed
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.
That's a VERY broad brush you're painting with there, my friend. Care to re-examine your assumptions?

I think public schools are an absolute necessity to our country and I support them both financially (property taxes) and philosophically. Thomas Jefferson said that without general education of its citizens, a republic cannot maintain its strength and that citizens would not be able to judge for themselves what will preserve their freedoms.

That being said, I will be sending my daughter to private school. It will just about kill us financially, but education is one of my top priorities for her and I don't think she will be well educated in our local public schools. I work with youth and know what goes on in the junior highs and high schools around here. No thanks!
kimnicole428's Avatar kimnicole428 07:49 PM 03-29-2006
I voted yes.
My parents are both public school teachers...so i am a little biased.

I wouldnt send a my future child to some public schools.

I think public school helps teach kids important life lessons

I believe it is up to me to make sure my child gets the most out of his/her education as possible.
EFmom's Avatar EFmom 08:19 PM 03-29-2006
Yes, I am. I went to a dreadful private catholic school and an excellent public high school. My high school prepared me extremely well for college. My kids are going to a very fine public elementary school now. Dh is a public high school teacher in a different district.

My kids' public school isn't perfect, but I seriously doubt that I would find any school 100% idyllic, and homeschooling is not something I would want for my kids or myself. I'm very happy with what they are learning and for the school environment. I like the diversity of the student body, as well.
boongirl's Avatar boongirl 08:59 PM 03-29-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette
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.
The funding actually comes from the state, unless you are talking about a bond or levy for building or technology. Other than pta fundraising, the local community has very little involvement in school funding. I think it is state law in Washington State that these funds cannot pay for regular classroom expenses. (don't quote me on that one) As with many urban school districts in this country, Seattle has followed the many special interests in the city to the point of having lost track of what is truly important for children: the right to have a quality education. There are a few schools that, with the help of a strong and wealthy pta, have been able to pay for extra programs for their students, thus making their school desirable. Otherwise, Seattle is sadly inferior to other school districts I know about and have taught in.

District, and state, really do matter in the debate about whether public schools are good or not. Washington state ranks very low in terms of public school expenditures. That is very sad for our children. Seattle may offer school choice right now, but I don't think many parents realize how much they are losing in terms of quality of education by having choice. The busing of students to any school within their zone is costly. If you had the opportunity to teach in other districts near Seattle, like I have, you would be appalled at how bad things are for Seattle teachers. I switched to teaching in Seattle to shorten my commute, but I regret it. I will give you some examples of what teachers and students get in other districts around Puget Sound (but not Seattle):
  • assistant teachers in every classroom for at least part of the day
  • before and after school reading help from a teacher for those who are struggling but not special ed.
  • 20 minutes of lunch time for students and 20 minutes of recess time, manned by assistant teachers
  • supply rooms full of enough materials that teachers do not ever have to buy their classroom any of the basics like paper, pens, erasers, staplers, etc.
  • music for all grades, including instruments
  • covered gymnasiums so kids can have recess even on rainy days
  • small group counseling for kids who need it
  • a stipend from the district to buy extra materials
  • any new child automatically gets all the curriculum material he/she needs. The classroom teacher never has to struggle to find enough books
  • I could go on and on....I did not have even one of these things in my Seattle school but I had them all in other school districts.

I realize that urban school districts struggle with different learning needs than suburban and rural, but I find fault with a district, like Seattle, that has followed the whim of a few board members and few loud parents to have school choice at the expense of every child in the district. If schools in Seattle were smaller and there was busing only to your neighborhood school, the quality of schools would increase. The fact that this fiasco has been allowed to continue for years when it is draining the financial coffers of the school district to the point of being literally millions of dollars in the red, it ridiculous and, I believe, criminal. Top this off with a pool of some of the worst principals I have ever encountered and you have a pathetic example of just how bad public school districts can be. It is no wonder that Seattle has the highest percentage of children in private school of any large city in this country: 33%.

It saddens me to hear parents and teachers say that things are all right the way they are when they live in a district like Seattle where things are really bad. When you have seen public schools run beautifully, with happy children and satisfied parents, healthy budgets and ample materials, you will understand just how good public schools can be. If I lived in a different district, I would probably have a much more positive view of public schools.
Flor's Avatar Flor 09:12 PM 03-29-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherette
I hear that, but there are many families that wouldn't have food if they had to come up with 4000 dollars (0r more - the cheapest private school I have seen is 6500), and wouldn't be able to volunteer to make the homey little private school work, because they already needed to work three jobs anyway, with no car and not even a hope of a vacation or a day off.

L.
My private school was 10,000 a year but my parents paid ZERO dollars a month because I was on scholarship, as were 50% of my peers. Some schools value economic diversity.

Again, the public school I work in is not economically diverse. Everyone is poor. I don't think it is exposing my child to people he wouldn't normally meet, these are his neighbors. I am happy my little one will go to a private school where he will meet people with different life experiences than we have had, and parents with a similar philosophy.
mamajama's Avatar mamajama 09:25 PM 03-29-2006
For those opposed to public schools. What would your solution be for low-income, and single-parent families?
ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 11:56 PM 03-29-2006
I have volunteered/student-taught/taught in 8 different public schools in 3 states over the past 10 years. Asking such a broad question is pretty meaningless. As a part of our society, of course I support free education for every young member of our population. But what that education looks like is drastically different from one school to the next. The two schools I have had full-time teaching jobs in are so completely different it's hard to even put them in the same category of "public school." One was a 600-kid 6th-8th grade middle school in a working-class Boston suburb that was driven by the state assessment. The other has 60 kids from preK-8th grade on the coast of Maine that makes its decisions based on what is best for each individual kid. You can't possibly compare these two schools. Obviously, the little school has huge advantages. If more public schools were like this one, I think we'd all be much better off.
boongirl's Avatar boongirl 02:59 PM 03-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama
For those opposed to public schools. What would your solution be for low-income, and single-parent families?
Get behind the charter school movement. Support a local board member. Go to school board meetings. Be a thorn in the school's side. Find a way to write and get grants. Call other schools where kids and families are successful and happy and ask them for advice. Seek out scholarships at private schools. Get together with a group of kids and families in your neighborhood and start a homeschool or an afterschool enrichment program.

The irony in my school district is that poor kids' schools get more money than middle class kids' schools. The district uses what they call a "weighted student" financial plan. Students of color, poverty, special ed kids, they all are "heavier" and get more funds to their school. Also, in the poorest end of the district, there has been the most corporate donations to very interesting programs. The schools in well-off neighborhoods have heavy donations to pta coffers. My neighborhood is in between and the schools closest to my house have nothing going for them, sad to say.
mamajama's Avatar mamajama 03:21 PM 03-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
Get behind the charter school movement. Support a local board member. Go to school board meetings. Be a thorn in the school's side. Find a way to write and get grants. Call other schools where kids and families are successful and happy and ask them for advice.
Well I am a low-income single parent and my kid go to a good public school. Rather than being a thorn in their side, I'm an enthusiastic supporter.

Quote:
Seek out scholarships at private schools.
Why? How is this a solution? Why would I want my child to go to a private school even though the school he's in probably isn't up to their calabre, there is a certain social structure outside of actual classes, that we just wouldn't fit in with.

Quote:
Get together with a group of kids and families in your neighborhood and start a homeschool or an afterschool enrichment program.
I don't think this is realistic when talking about the circumstances of low-income single parent families. I have no idea when the heck I'd have the time for that. And I know the other moms in my project are equally as busy and working to maintain balance with what they have without adding more stuff to organise. It's just not realistic.
Quote:
The irony in my school district is that poor kids' schools get more money than middle class kids' schools.
Why is this ironic? It makes sense to me.
Quote:
The district uses what they call a "weighted student" financial plan. Students of color, poverty, special ed kids, they all are "heavier" and get more funds to their school. Also, in the poorest end of the district, there has been the most corporate donations to very interesting programs.
This is really good as well in my opinion.

Quote:
My neighborhood is in between and the schools closest to my house have nothing going for them, sad to say.
This is not so good. I think it works differently where I live though. The schools in the rich neighbourhoods definitely have it best. See I could put my kids in one of those schools but there are a few good reasons why that just wouldn't work. First of all, they're out of the way geographically and would ad way too much travel time. Also, we wouldn't feel comfortable hanging out in thos neighbourhoods and my guess is I wouldn't have much in common with the other parents. Also those schools are way more homogenised as far as culture and economic status.
boongirl's Avatar boongirl 03:31 PM 03-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama
Well I am a low-income single parent and my kid go to a good public school. Rather than being a thorn in their side, I'm an enthusiastic supporter.

Why? How is this a solution?
Why is this ironic? It makes sense to me.

This is really good as well in my opinion.

This is not so good.
mamajama, you are taking my comments personally. My answer to your first question was to list ways in which I thought parents who are low income or single AND did not like their public schools could try to induce change. It most certainly was not intended to be a list that everyone could do nor a list that anyone should do. You asked what low income and single parents COULD do and I listed some ideas.
mamajama's Avatar mamajama 04:04 PM 03-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
mamajama, you are taking my comments personally. My answer to your first question was to list ways in which I thought parents who are low income or single AND did not like their public schools could try to induce change. It most certainly was not intended to be a list that everyone could do nor a list that anyone should do. You asked what low income and single parents COULD do and I listed some ideas.
Not really taking them personally, but rather using myself as an example. I don't think my situation is too far removed from the norm as far as low-income single parent families go.

I do happen to have a good public school and I know that many do not. And I understand that really the only thing to do about it would be to take proactive measures. But doesn't that go without saying to a certain extent? Rather than being 'against public schools' I believe that parents should take a collective responsibility to see to it that the public school system in your communities is up to standard--whether or not your kids attend. A lot of people here are saying they are against public schools and therefore their kids are home-schooled or attending private institutions. I think that most people who have to settle due to financial and other constraints would choose that option as well. But we can't. So then what? I can tell you from experience that it is next to impossible for single parents to be hugely involved in their kids' schools. I haven't even been to one PTA meeting. I'd like to be able to, but it just hasn't been humanly possible for me.
Flor's Avatar Flor 05:30 PM 03-30-2006
I honestly don't find it very powerful to be hugely involved in the schools as a parent. Sure, I've been a classroom helper, and a field trip chaperone, but? ?? The PTA? Ok, they plan the 8th grade party or pay for guest speaker, but I can't say that belonging and being active has really changed anything at my kid's school in the last 5 years and now he is leaving and moving on to junior high. He will only be there for 3 years so can being involved make a better school for him? No. I am involved, but it's a very long term goal and as a parent concerned about MY child, being invovled in the school, even being a "thorn in the side" or an "ethustiastic supporter" doesn't really change the things that concern me at my kid's school. The PTA just isn't that powerful here.

I personally look for all alternatives for my kids. We have no charter school or movement, and I am not starting one, though I could support one. Private schools are here. Sure, we aren't rich, but I can't immediatly say my kids won't fit in. I don't know that. I was one of the scholarship kids and I have to say that private school was a HUGE inspiration to me as a kid. I got to travel, to meet people from different countries, people with different goals and experiences. I never thought about college for example until I was a private school and met people who knew about it, who planned to go, and knew how to get there.

I think we just have to do what we think is best for our kids. If we have oppurtunities, take them if we want. I think we should think beyond the school were handed, UNLESS we love it.
boongirl's Avatar boongirl 08:42 PM 03-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama
A lot of people here are saying they are against public schools and therefore their kids are home-schooled or attending private institutions. I think that most people who have to settle due to financial and other constraints would choose that option as well. But we can't. So then what?
I would never say that I dislike the institution of public schools. Maybe others are saying that. I dislike the public schools in my city. The school board has allowed some seriously incapable people to make huge decisions, involving millions of dollars, which have negatively affected the school experience for many children. There are exceptions, of course, but many schools in my city are struggling and the situation is going to get worse in coming years as budget cuts are made to make up for the millions of dollars they are in the red. Perhaps because I, as a former employee of this district, have an insiders view and also because I have taught in really great public school districts, I feel very strongly that this district is a mess. But, realistically, there are children in this city who are having good experiences in the public schools. If public school was my only option and my child was not having a good experience in school and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, I suppose I would move.

But, the reality is there are a lot of families in this country who are just settling with their children's education. It really baffles me why there is not more uproar. I do not understand complacency of Americans in general.

On the other hand, when I was teaching before my daughter was born, I was working in a school where almost every child was living below the poverty line, where many of them lived with a single parent, where many of them did not speak English as a first language. The PTA president at the time had three children, two in our elementary school and one in private high school on scholarship. She worked full time as a nurse and went to school part-time to become a PA. She got no support from her husband who had remained in African when she immigrated here. Her children were loved and treated well and she still found time, busy as she was, to be PTA president. The PTA did not do much, since the population was so poor, but they did have anough money to offest the cost of 5th grade environmental education camp and pay for 5th grade graduation. She made the point to parents often that everyone can make a difference in their child's education, no matter how poor or how busy. At least she was trying.
Ellien C's Avatar Ellien C 02:59 PM 04-04-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama
Well I am a low-income single parent and my kid go to a good public school. Rather than being a thorn in their side, I'm an enthusiastic supporter.


Why? How is this a solution? Why would I want my child to go to a private school even though the school he's in probably isn't up to their calabre, there is a certain social structure outside of actual classes, that we just wouldn't fit in with.


I don't think this is realistic when talking about the circumstances of low-income single parent families. I have no idea when the heck I'd have the time for that. And I know the other moms in my project are equally as busy and working to maintain balance with what they have without adding more stuff to organise. It's just not realistic.

Why is this ironic? It makes sense to me.

This is really good as well in my opinion.


This is not so good. I think it works differently where I live though. The schools in the rich neighbourhoods definitely have it best. See I could put my kids in one of those schools but there are a few good reasons why that just wouldn't work. First of all, they're out of the way geographically and would ad way too much travel time. Also, we wouldn't feel comfortable hanging out in thos neighbourhoods and my guess is I wouldn't have much in common with the other parents. Also those schools are way more homogenised as far as culture and economic status.


go MJ! ITA
EFmom's Avatar EFmom 11:55 AM 04-05-2006
The urban public schools in my area are struggling also, and their struggles have been made far worse by the so-called "school choice" movement. School gutting movement is more like it. Far too much money has been syphoned off from the public school system to create charter schools (and no, I don't buy that they are public schools, too.) Don't get me started on vouchers. The charter schools that have been created at the expense of the public schools have performed at less than stellar levels.
LindaCl's Avatar LindaCl 02:23 PM 04-05-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom
Far too much money has been syphoned off from the public school system to create charter schools (and no, I don't buy that they are public schools, too.)
Why aren't they?


Quote:
Don't get me started on vouchers. The charter schools that have been created at the expense of the public schools have performed at less than stellar levels.
In my state they're generally performing better, with a higher proportion of non-white, lower income students, lesser experienced teachers, and on smaller budgets. But you often don't see the gains immediately. The more settled schools that have been ongoing for a number of years can statistically demonstrate the more solid gains.

Charters are also more likely to be shut down if they aren't doing the job, another plus in my book.

I think it would be a terrible mistake to pull the plug on these promising school experiments in CA in order to funnel more public resources to the sickest and most intractably problematic public schools. But I understand that there is a lot of disparity between any two Charters, as well as between Charters state-to-state which have each implemented them very differently.
GotKids?'s Avatar GotKids? 08:55 PM 04-05-2006
Yes, totally! I attended public school from K-12 grade. I learned; I was always top in the class. I now teach in a public school & I know how hard the teachers work to get the kids where they are.
elmh23's Avatar elmh23 02:06 PM 04-06-2006
Yes I am pro public school.

While my children won't public school until high school (they'll attend Catholic school until then and our local Catholic High is incredibly un-Catholic!) I believe it should be made available for those who can't homeschool (or refuse) and those who can't afford private schooling. I attended public school and had an awesome education until high school (I was sick and the administration sucked!)
witchymama2b's Avatar witchymama2b 07:50 PM 04-08-2006
I went to ps all my life and now I am a ps teacher. I love my job and I don't know of ANY teacher who doesn't have the best interests of his or her students in mind. I love how so many posts on this thread blame the teachers and the school system for drugs, gangs and violence in our schools. Take a second and look around at society for a minute. You cannot expect children to act any different from the adults in their lives! Teachers have to fight against the conditioning that kids recieve from so many negative influences in today's world.
BusyMommy's Avatar BusyMommy 07:53 PM 04-08-2006
We are blessed to be 1/2 mile from an outstanding neighborhood school and 5 miles from a fabulous K-12 charter school. But...I teach at a very low income struggling school.

So...tough question as there are SOOOO many variables to consider!
OrangeGirl's Avatar OrangeGirl 08:04 PM 04-08-2006
I teach in public schools, as does my husband, and our children will attend them.
mamaGjr's Avatar mamaGjr 12:00 AM 04-09-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by witchymama2b
I went to ps all my life and now I am a ps teacher. I love my job and I don't know of ANY teacher who doesn't have the best interests of his or her students in mind. I love how so many posts on this thread blame the teachers and the school system for drugs, gangs and violence in our schools. Take a second and look around at society for a minute. You cannot expect children to act any different from the adults in their lives! Teachers have to fight against the conditioning that kids recieve from so many negative influences in today's world.


Dwmama's Avatar Dwmama 12:13 PM 04-09-2006
Maybe it is because both of my parents are public school teachers but I am very pro-public school. Not that I am 100% against private, but I haven't really seen many private schools I have liked. Although I haven't looked too hard because my son is so young.

I know homeschooling is not what I want for my children. I see a lot of benefits to public school and I want my children to get them. There are bad schools, there are good schools, there are okay schools.
First ... 2  3  4

Up