Saturday, August 16, 2008

Don't Worry, Our Kids Aren't Left Behind Either

Let me start this out by saying that I am NOT a fan of "No Child Left Behind". I think there are many, many things wrong with it. Good intentions, but bad way to go about helping our public schools, which do desperately need help.

At the same time, I'm not a homeschool fanatic. While I wholeheartedly believe it's best for our family, I know it's not for everyone and because of this, I want to see our public schools do the very best they can do. We have lots of little nieces and nephews in public school and I want the absolute very best for them. We totally and completely support them and encourage them just as we do our own kids.

We have some really great public school teachers around here who I believe truly love their students and do the very best job they can do. However, when they're not given the money they need nor paid what they deserve and when they are required to teach certain things and certain ways, well, then they are limited in the job that they can do.

All that said, we, as homeschoolers, are in the minority. In our family, our church, our town, and obviously in our country. And anytime you do something that is 'out of the norm' you're going to draw criticism and 'helpful' advise. I have some concerned acquaintances who, every time I see them, talk about how I should put my kids in school.

So to be able to answer this 'advise' with a strong defense when needed I try to stay informed of how our local schools are doing. It's not always enough, nor do we always have the time to give the whole spill about how we feel this is how God is leading our family, how well our kids are doing, how 'socialized' our kids really are, yadda, yadda, yadda. And to be honest, with some people none of that makes a hill of beans difference to them. All they know is that we are doing something very 'different' and 'weird' and that we are 'hurting' our children. Some even think we feel we are 'better' than other families who don't homeschool! Oh how this is SO not true and really hurts our hearts.

Anyway, last weekend our town's newspaper had an article on how our local schools scored in the 2008 Yearly Progress Report for NCLB. Again, I am not a fan of NCLB, but if that is what our schools are required to 'live by' and measure up to then it's pretty safe to assume that this is how our schools are run, trying to meet the goals and requirements set forth by NCLB, whether they agree with it or not. Right? I mean, what school can afford to lose any amount of money? And to lose it because your students aren't 'measuring up'? What real choice do public schools have other than to do whatever is necessary to meet these 'goals'?

I won't go into all the details, but the schools that our children would be required to go to didn't do so well, and this is several years in a row that they have not 'met their goals' so they are now under certain restrictions.

I'm so glad we don't have to worry about all the politics of education our children. We just teach 'em and have fun doing it!

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