Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Has Happened to Public School?

harvey milk day
With Harvey Milk Day sitting on the Governor’s desk and Alameda School District attempting to introduce homosexual acceptance education in kindergarten curriculum, I am left breathlessly wondering, “WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PUBLIC SCHOOL?!”

(And I’m sure I am not the first person to so lament.)

Take a look at this . . . .

2009 Official California Public School Event Calendar

Race recognition in our schools:

January 19 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 20 – Frederick Douglass Day
March 5 – Black American Day
March 21 – International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
June 11 – Race Unity Day
September 25 – Native American Day
February – National African American History Month
May – National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
September – National Hispanic Heritage Month 
October – Filipino American History Month
November – National American Indian Heritage Month

Environmentalism in our schools:

March 7 – California Conservation, Bird, and Arbor Day
April 12-18 – National Environmental Education Week
April 21 – John Muir Day
April 22 – Earth Day
May 3-9 – Be Kind to Animals Week
June 5 – World Environment Day 

Women’s rights in our schools:

February 15 – Susan B. Anthony Day
March 8 – International Women’s Day
August 26 – Women’s Equality Day
March – National Women’s History Month

Other Days of Note:

March 31 – Cesar Chavez Day
April 1-7 – Labor History Week

(source)

Don’t get me wrong, nothing is inherently wrong with childhood awareness of each of these, but my goodness, what happened to the good old days of simple public instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic?  Why are parents being steadily denied the opportunity to teach their children the essential moral lessons of all time?  To honor women in a manner deemed appropriate by them whether that includes traditional roles or not?  To teach about civil rights without mandatory instruction of newly contrived “rights”?  To present the Constitution as our Founding Fathers designed it?  To teach respect for the earth with whatever level of enthusiasm they wish to instill?  To impart that true tolerance demands only respect for differences, not acceptance of them?  What gives government the right to decide that parents are performing inadequately simply because children’s opinions do not align with those of popular culture, Hollywood, and Liberalism?

I think David Kupelian, author of The Marketing of Evil, hit the nail square on the head when he said:

“Today’s culture is so poisonous that your only hope is to literally create (or plug into) another culture entirely – a subculture.  Just as today’s homosexual culture, for example, used to be a miserable subculture lurking in public toilets and seedy clubs, but today has become the sophisticated culture of the “beautiful people” and Hollywood, so must your true American culture – if it’s ever to come back – begin again as a subculture.

The best solution I know of for accomplishing this is to homeschool your children and network with other like-minded parents in your area.  Trust me, it’s already being done, you’re not reinventing the wheel.  Sports, music, drama, Scouts, 4-H, whatever extracurricular activities you want are all available to homeschoolers.  You can literally pick and choose the culture in which your children grow up, and you can actively participate in its creation.  I believe homeschooling today represents the single most important and promising avenue for the true rebirth of American Judeo-Christian culture.  The real America is now being reborn in families where children are raised with real understanding and insight and protected from the insanity of the popular culture until they’re big enough and strong enough in their convictions to go out in the world and make their mark.  May it only grow.”

He later goes on to say:

“Of course, the main factor keeping most American children in government schools is that they’re free.   So isn’t free schooling a good thing?  Sure.  Free food is great too, but not if it’s been poisoned.

The government’s schools are free in the same way everything else the government does is free – you’re forced to pay for it with your hard-earned taxes or you go to prison.  Still, it costs a lot to raise kids these days, and if you’ve had thousands of dollars extracted from you in taxes to pay for these schools, shouldn’t you get your money’s worth by sending your children there – for “free”?  Although that’s a powerful magnet, there’s also a hidden cost, as John Taylor Gatto points out.

Beyond all the other reasons it might be unwise to entrust your children to the government, Gatto points to one more, which he considers the core problem.  When all is said and done, he doesn’t dwell on the grotesque psychological experiments and failed pedagogic approaches, and school crime sprees that steal headlines.  Rather, Gatto points to the subtle, soul-killing power of forced government schooling, the devastating effect on each child’s not-so-hidden genius of sitting at a desk in a classroom all day for one’s entire youth.”

. . .

“The net effect of holding children in confinement for twelve years without honor paid to the spirit is a compelling demonstration that the State considers the Western spiritual tradition dangerous.  And of course it is.

The bottom line, says Gatto:

Spiritually contented people are dangerous for a variety of reasons.  They don’t make reliable servants because they won’t jump at every command.  They test what is requested against a code of moral principle.  Those who are spiritually secure can’t easily be driven to sacrifice family relations.

Please understand.  The people responsible for this disaster – both then and now – are not deliberately trying to hurt children.  They are people who fervently believe, with a religious zeal, in a radically different world view than the one in which most Americans believe – indeed, radically different from the one on which this nation was founded.”

What is the moral of this story?

If you choose to enroll your children in public school education, don’t do it blindly.  Don’t do it with a singular anticipation of the hours of free time it will afford you.  Know what you’re up against.  Stay involved.  Be prepared to address any negative education from teachers and peers that your children may receive throughout the course of each 7-hour day.  After extracurricular activities, you will most likely only have about three hours before bedtime in which to do damage control.

If you have a desire to homeschool, but don’t know where to start, just get researching.  Yes, there is so much information out there that it is easy to get overwhelmed and give up.  Just don’t.  Empower yourself through education.  Know your rights as a parent.  Don’t get stressed out.  You can do it.

Here’s to homeschooling and safeguarding the next generation!

~Pearl

28 Comments:

LdsNana said...

My last child of five, will graduate from public high school, next month. However, I have nine grandchildren that potentially might just need to be educated in the home.

I remember thinking around 13 years ago, when one of my sons was in jr. high, that for academic reasons I needed to consider home schooling him. I chickened out. It felt it, too big a responsibility. I worried about his social needs, as well.

Today, I feel completely different about it. I would definitely consider educating my children in the home. The reasons to do so, are nearly overwhelming. From over-crowded classrooms to lowered moral standards, our children deserve so better.

Fortunately, because there are now more mainstream moms turning to homeschooling, I believe the future looks bright for the next generation. If ever the stay-at-home was empowered to do something big - this is it!

tDMg

whyhomeschool said...

Well done. I can't tell you how glad I am that my children have never attended public school.

Janine

Euripides said...

In Arizona, we don't have as much of this inculcation in our public schools. The only thing we need to worry about is weeks and weeks of test preparation for the next accountability test. Our children don't come out of the system brainwashed with liberal heroes, they come out of our schools without any ability to do math, read, write, or think. It's an even trade, I'd say.

Jennifer said...

Wow, how weird is that! What an interesting topic too, I'm an education reporter so I'll have to look at how this is done in TX.

Great blog too! I just voted for you in Blogger's Choice '09! Good luck! :)

And I don't mean to spam you, but if you get a chance, my blog is up for Best Parenting Blog and I'd love your vote! http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/75335

Pearl said...

Thanks Future Mama. I appreciate that. I'll happily vote for your blog, too. Good luck with your future children. :0) Parenting is fulfilling.

If you'd like to read more Pearl Diver, please feel free to join my "followers" (doesn't that sound so pompous?!). :0) And don't hesitate to send readers my way.

(Ha! How's that for shameless self-promotion?!)

Pearl said...

@LdsNana -

I agree that there are many, many reasons one would choose homeschooling over public school. It's not just about the lack of clearly defined morals and principles, it's also about teaching to the lowest common denominator due to No Child Left Behind, and, as you pointed out, overcrowded classrooms with underpaid teachers.

It has been noted that children's interest in learning generally peaks between the ages of eight and ten, but by that time, publicly schooled children are burned out from the rigorous academic schedule they've been following for days and years starting at the age of five (sometimes earlier with the advent of preschools). It's no wonder that so many boys are tuning out and turning delinquent in middle school!

Oh, I could go on and on, but I am relieved to see this economic recession resulting in more and more children being homeschooled. Parents whose children normally attend expensive private schools are tightening their belts by bringing their kids home to teach them. And many, like me, are slowly awakening to the fact that a public school education is frighteningly inadequate in so many respects.

@Janine

Good on ya! Way to go.

@Euripides

It is a fairly even trade, though some might be facetious enough to suggest that rather than a trade, they are more accurately equivalent. Liberal = Non-thinker. :0) (Oooo, ouch, Pearl! That was a low blow). In all seriousness, though, it is becoming more and more clear that the Liberal movement would have individuals abandone logical thought entirely and instead measure all matters and issues based on feelings and emotions. It's more than a bit scary.

Lisa~ said...

I know what happened to publi schools. They kicked God out and invited the devil in.

Seda said...

Whoa! I can't believe it! We actually agree on something.

Not Harvey Milk Day, of course, which I think is totally cool, but homeschooling! You've been reading Gatto - good choice. He knows whereof he speaks, and he does so eloquently and (mostly) accurately. (I've blogged on some of his stuff.) Have you read John Holt yet? He's got some really good stuff - "How Children Learn," "How Children Fail," etc.

I think Gatto's point, though, was not so much that government schooling, per se, is bad, but that coerced schooling is bad. It works so much better to just let kids learn at their own speed. Just the other day, I listened to my 6-year-old son read Sherlock Holmes to his older brother - and yes, he knew almost all the words, right off.

Next September, he'll be eligible to start first grade. But don't bother looking for him in a classroom, he'll be out in the world.

And Lisa, it's not that public schools kicked god out and invited the devil in. They just got lost prioritizing order over freedom, and coercing kids against their will. Big mistake, yes, but not evil.

Pearl said...

That's cool, Seda! My four-year-old reads and writes like a champ. I knew, when he could recite the alphabet at age one, that public school would never work for him. As I've researched more about education, public schools, and homeschooling, I've felt more and more content with our family's decision to pursue the latter course.

I talked with my cousin the other day and she said the same thing you just did (she's homeschooling all her kids - teens on down), that the most amazing benefit of homeschooling is to be able to tailor academics to each individual child. (Indeed, my very own two boys are worlds apart with regard to how enthusiastically they approach learning). Where one child may excel, another may need encouragement, and vice versa. They can't get that at school. A teacher has a schedule and a way-too-large classroom. There's no one-on-one and I think that daily, forced anonymity is damaging to a child's spirit, will, and desire to learn.

Anyway, I could go on and on. I'm glad we've found something in common! :0)

P.S. I actually haven't read any Gatto. I am in the early, early stages of homeschool research, but I came across his quote in "The Marketing of Evil" by David Kupelian. Which of Gatto's works would you recommend first? (Or is there only one?). Same for John Holt. I would appreciate your recommendations.

Seda said...

I think being forced to mingle only with children of the same age is also damaging, and leads to the Lord-of-the-Flies mentality that seems so prevelant in schoolyards.

For John Holt, start with the books mentioned above, and go from there.

Alfie Kohn is another one I would highly recommend, even before Gatto. "Punished by Rewards" is a paradigm-changer. "Unconditional Parenting" is absolutely wonderful, and should be a must read for every parent. And if you're not convinced about homeschooling, try "The Homework Myth."

For Gatto, I'd start with "The Underground History of American Education." "A Different Kind of Teacher" is a book of his essays, and some of them are really good. I blogged on one here: http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/search/label/Gatto He's got some others, too, and they're all good. He's way more conservative than I am, but that'll probably only make you like him more. ;-) I also think he's less practical, on a day-to-day, how-to basis, than John Holt or Alfie Kohn; he's really good for the reasons why to homeschool, and a philosophy and overview of the process of education.

I also love this quote from Pete Seeger (another one of us bleeding-heart liberals): "Don't let your schooling interfere with your education."

Seda said...

Pearl, I just read this comment you made earlier: "In all seriousness, though, it is becoming more and more clear that the Liberal movement would have individuals abandone logical thought entirely and instead measure all matters and issues based on feelings and emotions."

As a liberal, please allow me to respectfully, and strongly, 100% disagree. Rather, seems to me that the conservative movement is the one determined to remove all logical thought, and replace it with mindless acquiescence to Mother Culture. (Read "Ishmael," by Daniel Quinn, for the Mother Culture reference.)

Pearl said...

"I think being forced to mingle only with children of the same age is also damaging, and leads to the Lord-of-the-Flies mentality that seems so prevelant in schoolyards."

I agree completely. Being in a classroom filled entirely with children of your same age is not reflective of real life. In real life, we move throughout our day interacting with a wide spectrum of people from the aged and infirm to the wee babes. Public education offers a very unnatural setup that actually stunts a child's social skills in that they become unable to interact with people outside their age group. Although, to be fair, if parents are social and willing to interact with all ages, much of the PS effect can be overcome at home.

As per the liberal statement, I just call it like I see it. I went to the hearings for HR5 and SR7 in Sacramento when the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee were deciding whether to pass resolutions urging the Supreme Court to repeal Proposition 8. I heard individuals from both sides of the issue presenting their arguments. Those who were anti-Prop 8 used extremely emotional personal stories and expressions to appeal to the legislators. Those who were defending Prop 8 were logical and methodical in their presentations.

This was my impression of the Obama campaign and victory as well. The people were caught up in a frenzy for "change" and "making history" and refused to recognize crucial failings in the man they were championing. Many Conservatives readily admitted that McCain wouldn't be their first choice and was far from ideal, but Obama, he could do no wrong in the eyes of liberals.

Isn't it nice, though, that we can agree to disagree and not hate each other for it? :0)

Seda said...

It is nice. However, I quite prefer agreeing to disagreeing, so would rather talk about homeshooling and parenting than politics. (With a brief note that it seemed to me that Bush could do no wrong in the eyes of conservatives, no matter how big his crimes, while I think Obama screwed up bigtime in choosing his cabinet, and many liberals I know agree, so that doesn't add up as "could do no wrong." But yes, you're right that we were d*&^ sure in a frenzy for change!)

What got you interested in homeschooling?

It sounds like you have two boys. Any other kids? How old? Have they been in school? How long have you been homeschooling? What do you use as a guide, whether for specific curriculum or simply over-arching philosophical base?

Seda said...

"Being in a classroom filled entirely with children of your same age is not reflective of real life. In real life, we move throughout our day interacting with a wide spectrum of people from the aged and infirm to the wee babes."

Exactly. If school is supposed to be a preparation to set out into the real world and live the life of a responsible, free citizen, how ironic is it that we do so by removing the child from any semblance to normal society and place her in an institution that honors conformity and mediocrity above all?

It doesn't make sense, and it doesn't work very well at all.

Seda said...

Okay, I seem to be hogging this comment thread, but ...

Do your kids play with public school kids? Mine do - after all, that's all our neighbors, and most of their friends. The thing I find most disturbing about that is the highly sexualized nature of their play, which I can only relate to things the other kids pick up at school, on the playground. Do you have any experience with this? If so, how do you deal with it?

Pearl said...

Hog away! It's a topic I love to discuss. But I warn you, we're all babes when it comes to any kind of schooling, home or public. I have two boys ages 4 and 2, so they haven't attended any school at all. I've been debating whether to put the younger in joy school with some friends' kids from church, but I just don't think it's necessary, let alone worth the $170 it'll cost me. Besides, what do I tell the older one? "No, you can't go to joy school. You're too old. That door has closed for you and now you get to stay at home while your younger brother marches off to joy school which is really a glorified play date that you are not invited to." Yeah. That's nice.

Anyway, that was a lovely tangent. :0)

Since we aren't anywhere near starting formal homeschooling, I'm still in the gleaning phase, researching curriculums and asking veteran homeschoolers for their advice. An out-of-state friend highly recommends the Thomas Jefferson method and my cousin suggested I read the writings of homeschool pioneers Raymond and Dorothy Moore. Another friend here in SoCal is a fan of the Charlotte Mason school of thought. Flexibility appeals to me, as well as healthy distance from public education. I won't be using charter schools or state-run homeschool programs. Are you in California? Are you a private independent? I'm still trying to figure out which papers I have to file in order to become such, but I'm not worrying about it too much (still got a year to go!). Anyway, so that's where I am. Of course I'd like to implement LDS standards and gospel study throughout. It's important to me that my children develop a personal relationship with their Savior that is integrated throughout their daily lives rather than solely manifested once a week at church worship services.

My kids do play with public school kids because we associate so much with other members of our church congregation and most of them enroll their children in public school. What do you mean by "sexualized nature of their play?" The only thing I've noticed about the PSed kids that my children play with (granted, they're fairly young, just like my kids) is a propensity to parrot somewhat harsh expressions such as "stupid" and "shut up." The boys especially get into the unwholesome, violent talk that is so signature of those who play video games.

Okay, I gotta go change a poopy diaper. I'm thoroughly enjoying this, though. Hope you hog some more. :0)

Seda said...

Ugh. I really relate to disgust about the harsh language, and boy does it seem to proliferate on the playground! My kids are older, 8 and 6, and they play with kids who vary from about 12 or 13 down to 3, so it's a real mix. In the last few months, they've started doing things with the girls like pulling down their pants or piling on them or licking them. I mean, not just my boys, it's like the whole kid pack gets together and this stuff happens, and the girls don't make it clear that it's not okay - in fact they actually seemed to encourage it while simultaneously hating it - and it's just a mess. We really have to watch out for them - but here's another place where I love homeschooling, because the relationships we've made with our kids made it possible to really connect with them on how much of a problem that is, and it seems to have really mellowed out over the last few weeks.

Oh, I feel so lucky that you haven't gotten to far into curriculum! Here's a couple blogs that may give you an idea of ours: http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/search/label/homeschooling . We don't actually have curriculum. The biggest influences on our teaching have been Alfie Kohn, John Holt, and Nonviolent Communication through Marshall Rosenberg and Inbal Kashtan (Inbal wrote "Parenting from Your Heart.") Good stuff. I'd start with Alfie Kohn, especially "Unconditional Parenting." Really good stuff. Oh, what a difference it's made!

We live in Oregon, so the laws are different. I looked up the actual laws in the Oregon Revised Statutes, so we wouldn't get it filtered through someone else. We tracked that down online, as all the ORS is online. We didn't register until this year, which is technically 2 years after we were supposed to, but I just don't feel that impelled to call attention to us from the state, y'know what I mean? We don't have the private independent school thing that California has, but I think you can use that. It might be a really good setup, but I don't know about it.

Kristin (my coparent and former wife) blogs frequently on homeschooling and parenting - and she's a really good writer as well as being a very wise woman. http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/ . I recommend her. Unfortunately, she doesn't label her blogs, but her archives have some real pearls in them. (pardon the pun!)

Oh, one last thing - don't worry about teaching your kids religion/spirituality. They'll absorb whatever you live, regardless of the lessons you give them. Another marvelous benefit of transition...

Seda said...

Speaking of parenting, if you haven't discovered this, here's some good info: http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2009/04/best-kid-stuff-for-creation-and-play.html

Seda said...

A little fun from Kristin: http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2009/03/urban-farm-mother-says.html

Seda said...

Another one: http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2008/12/out-of-jungle.html

Seda said...

http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2008/12/going-natural.html
Do you see why I love this woman?

Seda said...

And finally, a couple of posts relating more to homeschooling: http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2008/11/wisdom-from-trinidad.html and http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2008/11/notes-on-teachers-and-learners.html

Sorry about clogging your thread with links to K's blog. I was just going through it reminiscing and enjoying it a second time. And I thought you might enjoy them...

Seda said...

Ok, this one's too good to pass up. But it's the last one. Promise! http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2008/10/their-first-day-at-school.html

Seda said...

Okay, over the top, and I'm breaking my promise - but here's an example of the way we homeschool (which is really unschooling): http://kristincollier.blogspot.com/2008/10/what-we-unschoolers-do-all-day.html

Pearl said...

Okay, Seda. I'll be honest here. It may take me a while to get to all of these. :0) But thank you for sharing. I'm excited to read what wisdom other homeschoolers have to impart and I'm glad you had fun reminiscing.

Seda said...

Oh, my goodness! I really did go over the top! *blush* Hope you enjoy them!

You also inspired me to put up another homeschooling post.

Seda said...

Pearl,
Do you know this website? http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp . Home School Legal Defense Association - they have a rundown on state laws - VERY useful - no, essential - for homeschoolers.

Seda said...

Well, Pearl, I won't toss any more links out. If you do wish to talk more about homeschooling, though, you know where to find me.

Be well,

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