Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Great Education Soap Box

It is amazing to me the absolute ridiculous amount of opinions that come out of the woodwork when you bring up education. You would think you had just opened up the proverbial can of worms on the great debate of creation vs. evolution.

Here's the thing though, my child's education is not up for debate, opinions, or anything else from the peanut gallery. I don't actually give two shits what you think about my choices. I am the one living in this district with under performing schools, an extreme amount of cases of charges against teachers ranging from inappropriate behavior, drug selling to sexual misconduct with students. Our schools are grossly underfunded. Our state has the lowest teacher salaries in the country (its actually what we are known for unfortunately) and my district is a political cesspool of maintaining perfect integration among the schools while passing through children who can't read or write while we have one of the HIGHEST tax rates in the country not to mention an "education lottery" that does not supplement the education system but takes tax money away from the schools to be ear marked for special interest projects and replaces the same amount from the lottery. The great lottery has not added to our system at all but continues to make desperate low income poor people more poor. That's another rant at another time though.

There are a few good schools here. Don't get me wrong. Just like all over the country there are caring, excellent teachers in good quality schools there are the gems even in my district. Our district has an inter-district transfer policy "as long as space is available" but the problem is: there are no spaces in the good schools because everyone tries to get into them.

If you were lucky enough to have your child assigned to a good public school in your district, I am super happy for you. Really I am. I would love for public school to provide all kids with a great education but if you rely solely on what is given you without doing your research or striving for something better if it doesn't measure up, that is your failing not mine. My child is not going to pay the consequences for my states/districts incompetence or my laziness. DH and I have been looking at schools in our district and making plans and back up plans for the past three years, long before we ever got pregnant. Our original plan was actually to move to the desired district before we had to worry about it but we have changed our job and own educational plans and time lines and have to adjust our child's accordingly. Overall, we are doing what is best for our child's future.

We (collectively not just individually) put so much effort into choosing and purchasing the BEST and safest cribs, strollers, car seats, cars, organic foods, decisions on diapering, babysitters, day cares etc. We will pay out the nose for premium dog food so we aren't feeding our animals corn fillers but when it comes to the public education system versus paying for private school, people get in a tizzy and want to close people's wallets for political principles. You even make the mere mention of a controversial movie or article and people try to rip your opinions to shreds or belittle you for their own personal agendas (and I say that loosely, I am not implying everyone who chooses to discuss it with you of course).

Nothing is too good for my child and nothing is good enough for my child. If I find the public options lacking I damn sure will turn to private options and do what I have to do to finance it to give him the best options for his future.

I am blessed. I was raised well with a lot of opportunities most kids do not get. I was able to go to college without a doubt or question of making it through or finances. My parents have made sacrifices to give me and my children more opportunity than the generation before and DH and I are doing the same. Education is crucial in today's society for success and I will not apologize for being a well adjusted, well educated stable middle class household that will reach to go above and beyond what is "standard and acceptable" for everyone else s kids. My child is not everyone else s and his future and possibilities are determined by no one but DH and I. If you disagree with out choices so be it. I don't care. Your opinions have no bearing on our decisions that we have been formulating long before now with experience and research to back our decision up.

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