American education problems: The private versus public school dilemma

Published 15 years ago -  - 15y ago 9

classroom-488375_1280Walk into any public school and talk to any teacher and you will hear the same complaints: Too many children in the classroom, not enough supplies or text books, students unable to sit quietly or focus on the teacher, and of course, teachers not paid enough money. If the list goes further you will find the physical conditions of the school itself is faulty. It comes down to the final question; how can we fix these problems?

Walk into any private school you will see similar problems but the students are seldom affected. Our politicians are puzzled by this and have decided to damage the concept of private schools in an attempt to make the governments schools more attractive.

This is an all out attempt by many elected officials to keep the level of academics as low as they can. What we now find are millions of teenagers, young adults and even grandparents who are unable to read or speak coherently enough to express themselves in or out of the voting booth.

I am often tempted to knock a few heads together in our august House and Senate and make them totally responsible for the downfall of American education. With many of their children safely enrolled in private schools their interest in education in general is not a factor in their voting agendas. The only fix any of them can come up with is higher taxes and more money to be poured into a failed system. It is time the American public stood up to this dereliction of their duties.

Every time the subject of vouchers comes up we hear the same old bromide “I don’t want my tax dollars paying for private schools!” Okay folks, but consider this, the parents of private school students have been paying high property taxes for the public schools for their entire lives. Even seniors who haven’t had a student in their lives for 40 years still pay for the education of the public schools. Don’t talk to me about fairness when these schools are failing in their attempt to teach even the basics to the neighborhood kids.

Vouchers may not work anyway. The established private schools will not want any federal voucher as it could lead to mandated rules. The folks promise this won’t happen, but we who have been there and done that know differently.

So we have over-crowded classrooms and hope for the lower or middle class parents to do a damn thing about it. The upper income parents have always had a chance at private schools and it is time for the rest to have a go at it too.

Let’s look at how the system works. Every public school is required to take attendance every single day so the budget can be given to the State accounting department and the money made available. When a child stays home for even one day, the attendance shows less need for money. This is similar to owning a motel. When someone rents a room the income increases, when the room stays vacant, no income! Simple math could figure this out. The income from property taxes and the federal funds are based on the attendance.

So when children are removed from any school and attend private schools or home taught, the money is not available anyway so why not change the whole thing? The government legislators don’t seem to realize that fewer students make for better classroom management but the down side is that the money received is less. So let’s work with this information.

When a public school student attends private school the classroom size is improved and the students who remain are more accessible to the teachers attention. This corrects our first complaint. Right? Textbooks and supplies should be reused from one class to another. Why are these even a problem? I remember having to turn in my books on the last day of school and issued different ones at the end of summer. If a textbook is damaged, the student must pay for it.

Private schools charge the textbooks and supplies in their tuition fees. No cost to anyone in the neighborhood!

Classroom management means having students who behave like civilized humans. Silly isn’t it? Public schools set lots of rules but never bother to enforce them. So scratch that one from an honest complaint.

Many private schools have the rules clearly outlined in the entrance paperwork and the parents and students must sign the list indicating they understand them thoroughly. Suspension is used as a good incentive to follow these rules.

Expulsion is used when suspension doesn’t work. Tuition is non refundable to keep the parents on their toes to ensure their kids follow the rules.

This may seem cruel and extreme to many parents and they are invited to stay in the government schools where rules are just words on paper.

Keeping the physical facility in safe condition seems to be a problem within many areas of America. I have read where several schools are actually harmful to the kids. These are very rare and certainly not valid reasons for most teachers to use.

Private schools are responsible for the conditions of their campus and many times use the students to keep up the cleanliness of the classrooms and play grounds. Basically the private schools resent having to pay good money to pick up after the slobs who leave a trail of trash wherever they go. This, of course, will be listed on the rules book.

So we have taken a corrective look at the problems facing our children. The last problem is: How do we pay for it?

I have heard that many people actually refinance their homes to keep their kids in private schools. Others take second jobs to finance it. Many can’t do this as they have too many kids to leave them alone for any part of the day or night.

Last year I heard Al Gore come up with a proposal to give tax deductions for college tuitions for Americans. Well, there it is. Why not give a deduction for any family who chooses a private school? Gosh this solves all the previous problems doesn’t it?

I can hear Gephardt bitching about tax credits for the rich! I ask him again to define “rich” and set his terms, sit down and shut up! Every time I hear his whining voice I can’t get to the volume control fast enough. I am tired of having our social structure and education systems based solely on our income. This is the epitome of snobbery and it is time we demanded a chance at some real equality and get our kids into decent schools.

We have known for hundreds of years how to teach the basics to our kids. Would someone please tell me why we don’t do it? There are millions of kids walking around with high school diplomas who can’t find a verb in their sentences. There is little we can do about that but we can stop the progression of any more being ignored by the system. The cost of education in America is ridiculous! Many countries educate their children at a quarter of the cost and those kids make mincemeat out of our American kids.

We will never change the government schools but we can remove our children from them and place them in the schools that we know have been successful. I have to warn you though that many private schools don’t have the luxuries of buses or cafeterias or many of the extras that public schools have. We parents are so grateful to have readers and writers in the family we get very used to driving the kids in carpools instead of buses.

How do we find good accredited private schools? I will share with you how I did it. I called the local universities in my area. UCLA, Caltech both got calls to their admissions office and I was given several good schools whose students were well prepared for their schools. I found an excellent high school in my area of the San Fernando Valley. I called their admissions office and asked what good grammar schools sent them students that excelled. In about 10 minutes I had the schools of my choice for my kids.

My choice came down to a new system of phonics that had just opened in the valley and I looked into this new way of teaching. I visited the administrators and bought a book called “Let’s Bring Them Up Sensibly” that was written by Mae Carden. It made such incredible sense that this jewel of a woman had given the parents and teachers all the tools needed for successful child development.

I’m certain that there are many more systems in America but I just wanted to tell you how delighted I was with the Carden system. Oh yes, I had to go back to work as my husband didn’t want private schools and the fight was on! Nothing deterred me from my desire to educate the kids is the most superior way possible.

I won the battle and dumped the protagonist! The second thing I did was dump the television too. Life was looking up!

How can we work on this tax deduction for private schools? It will take an enormous pressure on our House Members and of course the Senate. We can do it if we organize. We have the Internet and we must find a way to use it in such a way as to sell our plan to everyone.

Outside of Gephardt, the next big flack will come from the teacher’s union. Hey, bring them on they had their chance to do what they were paid to do and they fell off the boat.

I would welcome any suggestions or comments on this idea. I will be approaching my own congressman before they break for the summer and hopefully he will give us some pointers. He is a good fellow and loves any independent ideas from his constituents.

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