Thursday, September 30, 2004

I am So Depressed

...over my daughter's school. It isn't anyone's fault. The school is just not being run the way I would do it. I was late bringing Gwennie today. The child is as slow as molassas in January. As I was leaving, they were doing the morning announcements. They had a lady talking in a slow, fake cheery, condescending voice about eating fruits and vegetables. After she played a little game with herself over the loudspeaker (absolutely no one was paying attention), she closed with "...remember to eat your fruits and vegetables and you'll be in shape like an ape!"

So now even the primates are getting more credit than humans for physical fitness.

There are several things that amuse/irritate me.

1. Most of the teachers are fat. It seems as if the indoctrination doesn't work so well.

2. The kids aren't paying attention. What kid is going to listen to some dopey voice over a loudspeaker when there is candy right in front of him?

3. Why aren't they paying more attention to the actual education of the children?

If I was running a school:

1. You wouldn't be tardy until you were an hour late.

2. Gym would be every day and the kids would be separated by physical ability and the classes would be staggered.

3. In Kindergarten, lessons would consist of pretty much what they are doing now, except I would put them in desks instead of at tables.

4. I would teach them more about plants and animals and geography and good manners and less about food.

5. Lunch would be 1/2 hour. Recess would be a whole hour.

This is all just for starters. I really believe that the teacher's unions and the state governments have forgotten the purpose of public education. They are far too focused on passing social issues and not enough on the actual education of children. And that they have no faith at all in parents to teach their children anything.

It is hard to explain the contempt I have for the contempt with which I'm treated as a parent. I have been urged twice now, to have my daughter join the library program, which I won't do. The fines for lost books are $10. I lose books; my daughters lose books. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to amass a children's library in my house, for pennies on the $10. But teachers aren't aware of my home library and only think that I care more about my pocket book than my daughter's education. Nevermind that she is already reading beautifully because of the books we read before she started school. It's just so depressing. I'm not even angry. I just want everyone to stop being so foolish and start being practical.

It doesn't take mountains of tax money to fund the schools. It takes organizations who want to teachers to actually teach, instead of implement social policy.

Truly, with the amount of tax money collected in my city, the children should be peeing in gold toilets and eating lobster for lunch. Something has to be done. The taxpayers have the power, but not the organization. God, I could write for hours about this, but I don't have time. Any comments pro/con are welcome.


Angi said...

My neice is a teacher, she is thinking of quitting. She loves the kids, she loves teaching, but she hates the beauracracy (sp?). There are so many rules she has to abide by, what she can teach, what she can't teach, the fact she has to have the kids prepared to pass the tests mandated by the government, she spends most of the year teaching test related stuff.

She has to fight to get new equipment, and then there isnt' enough to go around. All while barely making 30,000 a year.

something isnt' right here.

Ordinary Gentlemen said...

I too think that teachers are getting too tied up into their unions, and in some cases, even their own slice of monetary pie. I mean, when I was still a student in high school, entire class periods would go without teaching just because the teacher was complianing about how small their salaries were as opposed to the administration's. Now don't get me wrong, I think our teachers are far under-paid, but also we shouldn't have to pay taxes to pay them if they forego teaching to complain of their own plight.

-Psycho Bob-

jp said...

I agree. Something needs to be done. I shouldn't have to put my kids in a private school to get them the equivalent of the education I had from public school when I was growing up. I, like you, just spend a lot of time with them at home working with them on various things.

Zelda said...

I don't want to sound like a raving right-wing crazy, but when you read the manifestos of the teachers' unions, you don't read anything about plans on improving kids' geographical knowledge, just about how to properly use condoms and how cool it is to have 2 dads. Couldn't the social issue of discrimination be solved by teaching the children courtesy towards all instead of the forced acceptance of a few?

I mean if a kid threatens, or bullies, beats up another kid, for whatever reason, shouldn't he be disciplined? Why the focus on homosexual tolerance? I was a complete dork in school and I got made fun of daily and once got punched in the stomach. No one forced my classmates to read books on how cool it was to be a scrawny, nerdy kid with straight, stringy hair (in the middle of the 80s no less) and glasses.

I mean, it's killing me that these unions would put a social agenda above education. When kids graduate school knowing where every country in the world is on a map, then I will concede the social issues. Not one second sooner.

Trashman said...

Let the uprising begin. Where do I sign up?

tinyhands said...

There isn't a single issue in America today where a school can take a hard-line stance without the possibility (probability) of getting sued. Whether it's religion, sex, drugs, guns/violence, or even nutrition. If they crack down too much they're violating civil liberties. If they don't do enough they've fostered some other minority position. Why on EARTH would someone want to be a teacher/administrator, responsible for someone else's children? WANTING to teach isn't enough anymore. I'd only do it if I could make the parents sign a legally-binding contract that says I'm the teacher, period. My cousin is in an elementary Catholic school and that's basically the system they have. The pastor sets the curriculum and if you don't like it, get lost. I'm sure you can discuss it with him, but good luck getting "2 Daddies" on the reading list. I'm not a parent, but I imagine it's somewhat liberating to know that the half of the school budget isn't set aside for lawyer fees.

But I'm not exactly sure what you meant when you wrote about being asked to join the library program. Libraries are optional now? I was under the impression that it was an essential part of every school and that simply being a student meant you had access to the library. There have always been fines for late/lost books. Maybe they don't want to get sued for taking a controversial stand on Curious George.

BTW- HISD can't serve lobster because some children are hard-shell-crustacean-intolerant and it wouldn't be fair to exclude the differently enabled.

nita said...


the problem is you see this from the place of a parent who cares. the VAST majority of kids have to learn manners, nutrition, life skills along with the 3 R's. private school or montessori. i'm in agony over this issue and my child is only 3 months old!

wilde_thought said...

It really boils down to how vocal and active the parents are in the public school system. Where the parents are banded together it's like the school's become and amazing place. I've been fortunate that my son has gone to two really good school districts thus far and both had vocal and active groups of parents. (Not all of them on PTA.)

But can I complain about one thing though? I can! Well, thanks.

It's those coaches in Middle School and High School. In my experience of having them teach courses outside of physical education, usually the history and geography, eight out of ten times they were awful. Film anyone? Sit quietly and read chapters during class? What education is that?

Zelda said...

I just want to simplify things. I don't care if they have coaches making them read the book, as long as they actually read the book and know what is between the pages.

I know that certain social issues need to be addressed, but not at the expense of the 3 Rs. I feel that the actual learning of facts is being pushed aside to make way for sensational, controversial social programs that only serve to distract parents from their childrens' education.

Are there some children in need of guidance? Surely there are. But the school system is not equipped and is not responsible for their moral upbringing. They are responsible for their education. Children will keep living in poverty as long as there are maudlin, weeping bureaucrats who choose to focus on failing social policy instead of a real education.

Vadergrrrl said...

Your such an articulate and educated mother, I love this post. Have you thought of homeschooling? I know its hard dealing with public school. you feel so helpless to their "control".

Stay strong sweetie.

PS I love your spark. you rock!

Zelda said...

Vader - you have such a way of lifting spirits. Have you ever considered becoming a minister? Just kidding :-) I don't want to homeschool. I was homeschooled for awhile and I have to say that it makes you socially awkward, sound of music freak. Plus my goals are larger in the sense that I would like to see the system somewhat reformed. Streamlined.

Angi said...

Homeschooling doesn't make you a sound of music freak. My boys HATE anything related to drama, music, art, or anything that isn't sports related. If it doesnt' physically hurt, then why do it in their minds. If I even mention them wearing the same color shirt, for a family picture, they all turn and run, much less wear the same exact outfit. lol.

Socially, they play sports year round, are in church groups, volunteer, amoung other things. They have plenty of friends, and are able to play well with others. They all have healthy appetites for the opposite sex.

I don't think they are freaks, but then, I am biased, they are my boys! :)

Zelda said...

Sorry Angie, I forgot you were homeschooling. I just remember the days when my family were the only ones doing it for miles around. We were definitely smarter than the average kid, but when we were thrown into the brutal world of the NY School System, we ended up with no social skills, and a pretty big axe to grind with our parents.

Angi said...

That's ok Zelda, no offense taken. The homeschool atmosphere has changed dramatically in the past several years. There are so many support groups, athletic leagues, amusement parks have homeschool days, libraries have them, skating rinks, all kinds of sports teams have homeschool night, there is a lot of support for homeschoolers now. Not to mention the change in the curricula, and stuff.

I know that used to, there was only one company that would sell to homschoolers, now there are so many choices, it is hard to decide which one to use.

I just hope you can get something resolved with the school system about the lack of education for your daughters. I know how frustrating that is.

Jenn said...

Zelda your a girl after my own heart! I know exactly where your coming from on this point! Being politically correct is far more important these days than giving our children an edcuation.

On a side note my oldest did tell his teacher that Kerry was a traitor to this country and tells lies all the time. Heehee oh they do pay attention when mom is ranting and raving!

Zelda said...

I'm thinking of sending them to Catholic school. I know it is expensive, but I also know that their classes will be smaller, I will have a greater say in the curriculum, and they won't be teaching the girls how to masturbate. If they're anything like their mom, they will learn just fine on their own.

I can't believe I wrote that.