Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just some more reasons why we homeschool

Did you read about the 3rd graders in Georgia who were caught plotting to knock out, handcuff, and stab their teacher? Of course, psychiatrists have stated that it is unlikely that children that young seriously intended to hurt anyone. So why did they bring a crystal paperweight, a steak knife with a broken handle, steel handcuffs and other items as part of last week's plot if they didn't actually intend to use them? You can read more about the story here. To me, it doesn't matter whether they actually would have gone through with the attack or not. What matters is that they went beyond just talking about it as if it were an imaginary story to actually bringing weapons to school. What makes such a young child act that way??

The other day I read the report about the plummeting graduation rates in school districts across the country. In my local newspaper they listed the rates for some local districts as well as other districts across the state. While my district wasn't listed (it's very small) the district next door was on the list. It actually has over a 62% graduation rate and is higher than 5 major metropolitan areas in the state. (Of course, they still shouldn't be "proud" of the fact that 38% of students drop out.) The local newspaper online opened this article up for comments from readers and one person said that this was one reason why so many people homeschool now even though that's a farce, too, because of the lack of oversight. Excuse me? Why would I want the state or local school districts to have any oversight power when they can't even get their students graduating at a high rate? I am so thankful to live in Texas where homeschools are considered legally to be private schools and are not subject to state control. That freedom has allowed us to pursue homeschooling the way we want to, not necessarily the way the state would have us do it. So far, we have been successful and in the end that's what matters to us.

And speaking of graduation/drop out rates......could these abysmal numbers have something to do with the lack of options available to high school students? Whatever happened to vocational training in schools? Not all students are college-bound and there's nothing wrong with that. It would be really nice, though, if the schools could offer more options for training and apprenticeships in hands-on fields so as to prepare students for work after graduation if that's the route they wish to pursue. When my mom was in high school (mid to late 1960's) she went down the "work path" instead of the "college path" and took classes in typing and shorthand. Those helped prepare her for a job in the secretarial field right out of school. What are high school graduates qualified to do after graduation these days? Flip burgers? Check groceries? What about setting them up in apprenticeships during school to get them some training in a field they are interested in so that they can actually work and support themselves? If as a country we pursued this angle we might not be losing so many manufacturing jobs overseas. Maybe we could actually have the opportunity to buy products "Made in the USA".


Robin said...

It is a sad state of affairs isn't it? I'm afraid that one of these days, they won't even be qualified for flipping burgers -- it will be a degreed position! Keep up the good work - Robin

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're "opinionated," as I love reading your opinions! Keep 'em comin'. You seem to always hit the nail on the head!
Mary Anne