Why I Believe in the Public School System
Disclaimer: The reason why I blog mainly, is to make people smile. I’d like to think folks feel good when they read what I write. I’m not one to rant, or try to convince you that my ideas are the best. You will not find a debate here. It’s not what I do. I want to say this because I don’t want this blog to be misunderstood. I have many friends and family members who’s children go to private school or homeschool. It is brilliant for their families. This blog is not an argument against other options. It is simply why I believe in the public school system.
When Mason was a little fella, I had the mother of all meltdowns over where he should go to school. I went to public school as a child and have great memories and a good education, but you know how the first kid is. Nothing is good enough. We studied homeschooling and interviewed at private schools, but it just didn’t seem to work for us. One day, in a fit of complete desperation, I decided to go check out the public elementary school just 5 minutes down the road. My butt draws up just thinking about the way I carried on that day. I marched my skinny self right up to the front desk and demanded to interview the principle, like some kinda nut. Lucky for me he obliged instead of calling the cops, and I learned that day maybe I had over reacted just a smidge. Maybe, just maybe, the public school system wasn’t so bad after all. Well here I am 7 years later, 4 of which I have been a crazy PTA president, and I can honestly say I believe in the public school system.
I know what your thinking so I’m going to go ahead a nip it now. What about standardized testing? Well, I’m not going to lie. There have been better ideas. No Child Left Behind is a desperate attempt to keep children from struggling and, well, getting left behind. The problem with the system is that it is not the governments job to keep the child from getting behind. It is the parents. Unfortunately, there is no accountability in parenting anymore. It is all on everybody else. Children are sent to school by parents expecting the teachers to teach them every thing, making the child smart and successful. Children are sent to church by parents expecting Sunday school, children’s church, and youth teachers to teach them everything they need to know about the bible and spiritually thrive. Children are sent to ball practice by parents who expect the coaches to turn them into amazing athletes who will get a college scholarship. Success starts at home. Faith starts at home. Victory starts at home. Moving on.
I believe in public school because I believe in people. Call me crazy. I still believe teachers love kids and teaching. They sure aren’t in it for the money. This blog may come across a little suck-up-ish. Fine by me. My greatest gifts are in the hands of teachers 5 days a week 7 hours a day. I want these people to know I am on their side! I have never understood folks ranting on Facebook about everything the school is doing wrong, then being puzzled why their experience isn’t going so well. Check it out. If someone gets on Facebook and rants about how hairdressers are lazy and poorly qualified, and give jacked up hair cuts and charge to much, then turns around to make an appointment with me, they probably aren’t going to get my very best work. I’m going to feel angry and paranoid and my work will reflect the negative feelings. My husband always says, you draw more flies with sugar. You’re dang straight I’m going to be sweet.
I believe in public school because I believe in diversity. I want my kids to love white people and black people and brown people. I do not want them to shy away from those with disability. I want them to respect everyone, even if they don’t see eye to eye. I want them to love the unlovable and be a friend to the friendless. I want them to learn tolerance and know how to cope with jack legs. You ain’t ever gonna be free from jack legs.
I believe in public school because I believe in fun and we have plenty of it. Every time I turn around we are going on a field trip, doing awards, having a dance, or celebrating something. It’s fun, and ya’ll know I am all about fun. Someday when my kids are grown, some of my best memories will be the ones we made in public school.
I believe in public school because I believe in Jesus. There is no law that can keep Him out of public school. I have peace because I pray daily. I have faith He will keep my children safe. I know He uses them at school to glorify Him.
I believe in public school because I believe in me. Public School is only as strong as my leadership in my children’s lives. I stay on top of it. If something isn’t going well, I handle it. I hold my children accountable for their behavior and their studies. My mother in law gave me advice I will never forget. “It doesn’t matter what school you choose. It is what the child puts into it and what you put into it.”
At its very best it is flawed. But I believe in it. I just do.