A Little Ray of Sunshine

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

As far as the local school goes

My husband, the computer guy, got caught by the elementary teachers this morning. Seems they were having some trouble teaching writing to their lefty students!

My thought is that after he led off with the line 'My three year old is left handed and my wife is teaching him to write by . . .' they probably all gave a collective sigh of relief that they would not be dealing with Beau, now five-years-old, in kindergarten next year. Kids who already know more than the year's material can be so disruptive.

Because of the cutoff dates Beau would have another year before kindergarten. He has a friend, just a month older, who is in kindergarten this fall. So far his buddy has been doing the same sorts of academic work that Beau did last year for 'preschool'. Mindboggling.

I got my brain picked by a fifteen year old bagger at the grocery the other day who wanted to know how to convence her parents to homeschool her because 'They don't even teach algebra anymore in High School.'

This is not a bad district. It is a very wealthy district. There are laptops for every child in every classroom from third grade up. Every room has a smartboard. Every teacher has a desktop in the classroom and a laptop to take home. You couldn't drive down the street by the schools all summer for the construction. But there's no Algebra class.

I am not sure what the root cause of the problems is. I'm not sure the system is fixable. The teachers have good intentions; I know many of them. But the schools are broken anyway. Kids are dropping out as soon as they turn sixteen. Unskilled labor commands an excellent wage, one many urban areas do not match. The school cannot match the oppertunity of the job market. Living expenses are very high, and I suspect a fair percentage of the dropouts are helping keep a roof over the family's heads. They certainly aren't moving out: there's no where to move to!

I suggested to the High Schooler that she needed to find a way to home school herself, and pay for it herself, and be very accountable for her schoolwork, perhaps by using her job to pay for distance university classes, because she said her parents were worried about cost and how much work it would be for them. She is a year younger than the cut-off for mandatory attendence, and obviously not stupid.