This young 18 year old had the maturity and introspection enough to realize how getting out of public school helped her become a young woman with values and character. I was stunned at her perception, her being able to verbalize it like that. And I was very touched and moved.
Earlier, about five guys and girls were in the Reception area talking about University High School, not far from my home. They said it’s the worst school ever, with kids selling marijuana in the back of the classroom and teachers doing nothing about it. I can’t begin to tell you the awful things these kids said some of those students did to other kids, including putting wax on kids and then feathers. Tar and feathering in 2014. No teacher gave a damn.
You all do know that most public schools are similar to that, don’t you. Racial division, ethnic division, and nobody studying hard because the parents and the teachers don’t really care. At the Christian high school, there isn’t any of that. The school is, if I had to guess, 30% Black, 30% Hispanic, 30% White and 10% Asian. You don’t see the Black kids ‘over there’ and the White kids ‘at the other table,’ EVER. It doesn’t exist at this school. They all sit together, they all talk together. They are treated by administration and the teachers as equals, and so they treat each other as total equals, standing up for each other’s arguments during Socratic seminars, supporting each other in their dance or acting, totally supporting each other at sports. It doesn’t matter what color, what religion (it’s a Christian high school which has had Muslims and Jewish kids and all love each other), what economic background. Nothing like that matters to them. And they study. Hard. Two girls today were standing by me today agreeing that Sartre was a loser and they felt they’d wasted their time reading him at all. There they went, talking about why he was someone they couldn’t admire, a Christian and a non-Christian girl both agreeing that Sartre felt empty to them. They knew Sartre well! At 17 years of age. The best part was they wanted to discuss him! Outside class!
At this school, two Hispanic boys whose parents I’d guess never graduated from high school and certainly didn’t go on to college, and are hard working people who’ve created loving, solid families, are now attending Carnegie-Melon and Case Western on total scholarships. Arturo and Oswaldo are going to succeed in astonishing ways. That is what a private school which makes itself affordable to many can do. It's hard for the school; they could easily take in all rich kids and thrive, but they don't. They work at not doing that.
This school is approximately $18,000 a year, but very few pay that. Located in a very upper class area, they don’t want all White, rich Christian kids. They want all kids to excel, to build their character and be exposed to excellent values; and they are.
This girl I spoke of above, Sophia, has been taught enough at the high school to know who she is now, the good she’s received, and that she’d not be the grand girl she is without it.
Care about your children. Encourage them. Celebrate their successes and cry with them for any failures. Make sure their education is not just teaching them to KNOW but to LIVE WELL! Kids will feel that, they will ‘wear’ that, they will internalize that; they’ll make a better life for themselves and a far better America.
How times have changed.
The public high school I attended in 1971 - 1973 was very much the same as you describe this Christian school now.
The average public school these days sounds like hell on earth.
What happened over the last 40 years?
If the trend continues another 40 years, then we will be eating each other.
In the past year or so, the homeschool group with which I work has been inundated with requests for admission. Interestingly, it is the students themselves who are demanding to be removed from the public school system -- even from acclaimed magnet schools. We're also getting applicants from certain private schools (not private Christian schools, though).
Students whom I have interviewed range from 6th grade through 12th grade.
Reasons vary, of course. But the two overwhelming reasons are as follows (paraphrases of actual comments from students during interviews):
1. "I'm not learning anything. These teachers don't want to teach, and the materials are boring and confusing."
Please see this one specific example about which I posted last year.
2. "The behavior on the buses is unreal. I can't ride the bus anymore. And we have the same problems in the hallways and the cafeteria."
BTW, "the Lorax kid" about whom I posted a year ago is brilliant! I placed her with the high schoolers this school term even though she is technically an 8th grader. I'm working on course grades right now, and all of her averages are A's and B's.
I'm one tough grader, so her achievement is remarkable. Just as remarkable: she had major deficits and made up those deficits with great rapidity.
At one point last year, she said, "I've learned more in one hour here than I learned all year long in the public school."
Hi Z, I so could relate to this post. We have had this discussion before. I pulled my 3 boys from public school and put them in the area Catholic schools many years ago. It used to be that I believed subjecting your children to public schools was tantamount to passive child abuse. Now I believe the adjective may be removed. When I was between careers a couple years ago, I would only substitute at those same schools for most of the reasons you listed.
I wanted to add that the third member of the conversation, the girl who wasn't talking about who she would have been, is amazingly bright and good.
When the girl who DID say she'd have been different had she gone to public school said Susan wouldn't have been, that she'd have been AS good as she is now no matter where she'd gone,
I said "That's because Susan's parents, in no way, would have LET her 'go wrong,' kind of like MINE!"
Susan, who was sipping a Coke at the time, looked at me and pointed her finger at me as if "EXACTLY"!
Let's not EVER diminish the importance of PARENTS and SCHOOLS, right?
Fredd, I couldn't agree with you more. For years, I STOOD UP for the public school system, feeling that the education and socialization was so important....I was fighting homeschooling, to tell you the truth.
About 15 years ago, I realized how very, very wrong I'd been. Or maybe it's just that schools went SO wrong.
"eating each other"? An extreme conclusion that I TOTALLY sympathize with.!!
AOW...Excellent examples and I know you, of all of us, REALLY knows of which she speaks!
It is really compelling to have STUDENTS today realize they're not learning!
I think I mentioned yesterday in a comment that Santa Monica High School teachers WWII for a week and that entire week of History class is spent studying how America knew the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor. A foreign exchange girl from Pakistan told her host family (my friends) that she was always astonished that her teachers seemed to be teaching how BAD America is. We're heartbroken.
That's an amazing story about the Lorax kid! GOOD FOR YOU and for HER!
DaBlade; do you think it's because teachers at those awful public schools get burned out from no support of the parents and the cushiness of knowing the union will stand by them if they teach well or NOT??
I believe most teachers go into the business because they want to teach.
Anomalies...anomalies all. There wil always be exceptions and not the general rule.
Good for them....but meanwhile 50% still have illegitimate kids...and less than half graduate.
It's just the way it is...sorry.
Sartre was a loser.
Articulate little gits.
Great article, Z. I always think that blogs about personal experiences are the best ones.
It sounds like your Christian school believes in a diversity of students, and this is a laudatory thing. The policy is similar to that of universities that have enshrined diversity as a primary entrance goal.
It sounds great that many of the students don't have to pay full boat, and that poor black and Hispanic kids get a wonderful opportunity. I cannot help but think that there are many, many kids of other racial makeup (white, Asian) that don't get included in that gravy train because their skin is not brown enough.
I believe that for every black or Hispanic kid given a ticket on the educational gravy train, there are multiple white, Asian, or Indian kids just as poor, just as deserving, denied life achievement because of their family situation and their upbringing.
This is not a racist attitude. I am not going to claim this just because I have black neighbors that I love. I don't see color and race like a lot of other people.
Great article. This is why we homeschool. The ability to focus on core education and an exposure to diverse world views with our values as an anchor; and without the social distractions of pop culture and peer pressure.
It's win-win. My daughters get a first rate education and the State still gets to frivolously waste my tax dollars.
Let me ask this Bob...why is that when we are inundated with diversity...it's only whites that it applies to?
Do we hear it of Latinos or Asians? Do we hear it in China or Japan? Do we hear of it in Africa? What other race is told that they must diversify or that diversity is 'good'?
Why can't whites be allowed to live where and with whom they wish without PC or a government mandate?
The only discouraging thing about your post is that it is the exception, and not the rule. Schools have always varied (when my mom moved to California as a senior in 1939, her classes were a repeat of her 9th grade year in Iowa only easier) - but the whole range of variance has plummeted down.
I get so sick of all the blather about quality education (usually followed by a $$$ pitch) when they're only using it as a smokescreen to hide the fact that they're really running re-education camps (I read AOW's link).
Anonymous.."Sorry?" I'm not sure why you think this piece goes against what you're saying??
You don't really think I feel all kids are this terrific, right?
Sorry you misunderstood it.
Ducky, these are two high school girls who know enough about Satre to not admire him. Pretty amazing stuff, the incredible conversation they had about why.
You see, when you blog, you don't usually include verbatim text...we synopsize to bets relate the point. "Loser" was mine, clearly.
I'm so sorry you misunderstood the whole point, too. so sad.
There's such goodness here and you totally miss it?
Bob; I'm with you. But our white and Asian kids with little money also can pay as low as $4K a year, believe it or not...We go strictly on the economic situation of the family. Absolutely NO influence of color.
You make good points. I think you're right in many cases.
I will say that the California university system has finally done away with affirmative action acceptances, believe it or not. Kind of stuns me. That some get better scholarships for color is probably a very good guess.
Baysider, even in 1939 we were behind, huh? That's a little surprising because our schools were SO GOOD when I went to public school. I think we've all seen the old test from a hundred years ago for, I think, elementary school, which I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT many of US couldn't pass. Kids LEARNED then.
They also learned love for this country.
I am 100% certain NO OTHER COUNTRY has teachers who go out of their way to teach the negatives of the country instead of the positives...except us.
I will say some liberals in Germany, too, however, pile on the NAZI background and try to shame students today.
Until we figure out how to stop that, we have NO CHANCE of American exceptionalism to remain...
Z: In respectful disagreement with you (you are the blog proprietor) if the percentages of racial balance in your school are correct (30, 30, 30, 10), then there is probably a diversity policy in effect to achieve this precise balance. In other words it looks to be a quota system.
With any system like this, by definition some kids will be left out of the process because of the artificial nature of a diversity system. That's what the numbers tell me.
Bob, I have worked in the admin office for almost 3 years and have never heard that once "take him, he's Black"
There could be a desire for a good mix, I know there's a desire not to have it all White CHristian Protestants (although they would if that's how the dice rolled one admissions year...they ARE (admin) mostly White Christian Protestants...they're not against them!
Maybe there's a subliminal thing going on....I just happen to know how many apply and I know the acceptance criteria and I've never heard anything like that.
I'm just so proud that so many Black and Hispanic kids apply ... and they live quite far, some of them. But, they hear about the school..etc.
you could be right; that's not been my experience and, of course, my percentages were a total guess from the looks of things to ME...Perhaps it's slightly up or down in each of those categories....but I'm close.
I'm not sure of the point of this article,
One example is a couple of students who receive full scholarships to solid colleges. Great. But that happens all the time in public school.
Then we have the example of students who are achieving and as an example they think Sartre is a loser. Well, Sartre made some serious mistakes but it's tough to call a major philosopher a loser especially on the basis of the limited amount they would have learned in high school.
Just what makes Sartre a loser? Existentialism?
Do they have the same assessment for Christian existentialists like Kierkegaard and Marcel?
Pardon me if I detect some indoctrination.
So the article is very limited if what we are to draw is a belief that the public schools are failures. Just isn't so.
Burnout is certainly a factor.
But other factors are in play as well.
Ducky: The article is not a Pulitzer/Emmy/Oscar candidate with artistry leaking from every pore. It's a story,
Yesterday, I listened to you talk knowledgeably about the film world on AOW's streaming broadcast, and know you are better than what you write here.
Sometimes a story doesn't have a point. Sometimes we talk about something that happened, and who it happened to. There doesn't have to be a moral, lesson, or social message like many of the films you criticize.
For example, take the film Bullitt. As you mentioned on the program, there are several dimensions to the movie, but the one most people remember, me included, is the classic car chase scene. Like I said, we can all get something from a story, and everybody doesn't have to see the same thing.
Contrast Bullitt to Vanishing Point were the point was just to see cop cars wreck while chasing a Dodge Charger. No point and not much story, but a lot of people still watched it.
If there is a point to Z's story, it is that not all the young people, today, are so ignorant they can't find Minnesota on a map. Kids of all races do very well in private schools as opposed to public schools. Z is proud that she has a part in the process, and she wrote a good story. That's what I get from Z's blog.
Ducky - "So the article is very limited if what we are to draw is a belief that the public schools are failures. Just isn't so."
That depends on your perspective, doesn't it? The power of the citizen and the power of the State are always in competition. The public education system [and Cabinet level department] is an organ of the State. If you're a Statist, you're not prone to want to admit that such a powerful and funded organ is failing.
If you're an advocate of the primacy of individual sovereignty, you see that the grand experiment has failed in all respects excluding a role as a money pit, while overtly undermining the idea that the citizen should retain power over the education of the next generation....not a bureaucracy.
There is always two side to everything. My sister is a high school math teacher in the public school system in MA and few of your concerns are real problem. Guess MA is doing something right.
That's not to say there aren't problems. Some teachers and some parents Don't care. But painting the it as you've is inaccurate.
Broad brushing is intellectually dishonest.
"There is always two side to everything."
Simplistic. There are more than two sides to an issue more often than not.
I agree...there's always those who can never make up their mind or take a stance on anything. Over thinking everything into meaningless blather and an inability to act.
When voting...do you get to vote for 3 or more? Or one?
Well CI, a good deal of the hype behind charter schools has been competition and development of superior methods.
Haven't seen anything yet.
The only thing we've seen is grifters like Michelle Rhee lining their pockets and trying to bust the teachers unions.
We've got Bill Gates' wife trying to set public policy when all she's famous for is Microsoft Bob.
You make the cutesy little "statist" crack from your place in the Libertarian sandbox but deliver, NOTHING.
Massachusetts public schools have been doing well and the alternative schooling movements have not kept up.
Ducky, CI never leaves his sandbox. I think it frightens him.
Anon - "...there's always those who can never make up their mind or take a stance on anything. Over thinking everything into meaningless blather and an inability to act."
Those people certainly do exist, just as do those who reflexively take the politically correct position demanded by their party affiliation. But that clearly was not what I was referring to. Taking an alternative position to 'us' v. 'them' is no less taking a stand or acting. A citizen has every right to be self limiting in their policy assessments...but they deserve the political paradigm we see now.
"When voting...do you get to vote for 3 or more? Or one?"
Are you confusing a vote selection, or the choices one has prior to pulling the lever?
Ducky - Z's topic today clearly encompasses homes-schooling and private schooling, not merely charter schools. With public schools, we see not only a linchpin of liberal orthodoxy, but we see a typical bloated bureaucracy and an ever dwindling return on the investment of our tax dollars.
Since I don't defer to your judgement on what I deliver, your sandbox snipe illustrates your own inability to proffer cogent arguments here...even when handed golden opportunities.
Besides, the sand in my box is much nicer than yours.
I just deleted two long comments I made...
Then I thought this piece was totally anecdotal, clearly stated, and meant to arouse a really lovely awareness that young students can actually realize what gifts they've been given...and if some can't take that in...how can I change that?! :-)
And do I care to? Not much, no.
I want to tell whoever mentioned a sister teaches and isn't aware of problems like philosophy not being taught, and dope dealt in schools, that maybe that teacher needs to pay a bit more attention.
We can't make things better without that.
CI, I am not aware of any stats on home schooling. I suspect achievement is pretty good but I don't see any way it can substantially replace public schools.
Parochial schools in the Boston area have NOT performed significantly better than public schools despite having the advantage of being selective.
I'm not opposed to private schools. i pay the tuition for a Montessori school for my grand niece. She is thriving despite being surrounded by radical family.
But why not admit that what you want is to break those nasty unions. That's what it's all about.
Kudos to RN's sister for sticking with a tough job that gets little of the respect it deserves.
Ducky - Home schooling shouldn't have to replace public schools....but for many it's a necessity to ensure our children receive an education that prepare them to succeed, not merely join the masses.
And I didn't mention unions....I mentioned the top heavy administration bureaucracy and general sinkhole of tax dollars. I'd appreciate it if you didn't presume what it 'was all about' for me. I could care less if teachers unionize [voluntarily].
Good to hear Z. I have to say that at 18k a year, they are paying less than what taxpayers are paying per child for a kid to go to one of our jimmy carter created, libtard supported, union run down and theft extravaganza public hellholes.
This is what federal government administration of anything amounts to.
Recently, the actor richard dryfuss said that at 40 Billion, if even only one child was helped it was worth it. 40 Billion. And you know 40 billion isn't the real number anyway. Much higher.
All you need to know about the libtard driving forces behind supporting a public school system that has devolved into crime and drug infested, no education, communist indoctrination center hellholes at best.
I have to say that I think a large percentage of parents were and are responsible for making and allowing this to happen. It's all bad.
Man I hate libtards.
Z - It should be a foregone conclusion that the students you reference, as well as the many others who fit the same mold, come primarily from homes where the parent[s] take an active interest in their kids education, work with them outside of school to nurture their creativity and curiosity, and hold them to standards.....regardless of race or economic class.
It's a shame that we see more products of those parent[s] who don't participate in the above.
By the way, this dovetails perfectly with what will become of health care in America under obammycare.
Service will devolve on par with what's going in in education, doctors will end up unionized and uncaring, and incompetent.
People who can aford it will be paying he tax to support this gross abuse of the population while also paying seperately for actual health care from doctor groups of some outside obammycare.
In effect, this is mainly what's happening in Canada now. All are paying for government HC, and those who can afford have seperate HC plans to actually get the HC.
Man I hate libtards.
Article on home schooling, pros and cons.
CI, Good point. If a parent is willing to pay 18k a year, or some portion of that as Z says they all don't pay the full bill, then they've taken an active interest and will no doubt be motivating their kids at home as well.
My bosses wife is a grade school teacher in Cincinnati, and has worked in good and bad/low income areas. Certainly in the low income areas, the kids come to first grade and don't know anything, 123, abc, colors, Nothing.
Where public schools aren't as bad, I'd assume there is some parental participation going on.
In the 1960's we learned much more than today and still even then some of it was just absurd. I cam away from grade school knowing nothing more about George Washington than he chopped down a cherry tree and told the truth. Catholic grade school.
it's all about parents.
We have tons of divorced families at school and at least one parent is always very involved. Sometimes both, but I don't see both very involved very often, sadly.
We have the son of a film writer who's made HUGE films I can't mention and is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet...and there are kids from homes that make so little money I can't imagine how they survive.
Those two kids are often best friends.
I'd go as far as to say it's ONLY about the parents. I don't care how good a school is, they need parental motivation, caring, affection, encouragement..
I've heard of schools here in L.A. that just can't cut it financially and the parents chip in and actually clean the bathrooms and buy computers for the kids.
I've heard of schools here in L.A. where you can't go near them for the disrepair and lack of ANYTHING. (they get money, but where's it go? and the kids have no respect and treat everything like trash).
From which school do you all think the kids are going to thrive?
I talk to quite a few parents in the course of a day and I have to say that White or Black or Hispanic or Asian, it makes NO DIFFERENCE the ethnicity....no particular ethnicity cares more for its child than another....not at our school.
Homeschooling comes in different forms. Yes, parents do teach their children at home -- particularly in the early grades (K through 3). However, by 4th grade, the homeschoolers whom I know contract out to private teachers who run classes. So, in that respect, some homeschool groups are actually more like private schools than anything else. Class sizes range from 4 students to 20 students.
When homeschooled students reach the 11th grade here, they can dual enroll -- that is, attend both homeschool classes and classes at the community college.
In fact, one of our 2010 graduates a few years ago was never taught at home by his parents. He attended a private elementary school and later, at the 7th grade level, enrolled in homeschool groups (more than one at a time so as to select particular subjects), and at the 11th grade level, added courses from the community college. He also played basketball on a homeschool basketball team which played against various private schools and other homeschool groups. He is now about to graduate from UVA. The pattern that I'm describing is typical of the homeschoolers with whom I work.
Education comes in all shapes and sizes, you know. The traditional, one-grade-per-classroom school is a relatively recent development. In essence, our Founders were homeschooled, you know.
18k a year in this area is a bargain basement price for private education.
Please take a look at this schedule of fees (private Christian school). Also take a look at this one (private prep school).
AOW, some of us forget your type of 'home schooling'...which I'm hoping is going to grow and grow.
By the way, what kind of certifications does one need to open a business like that?
I'd love to tutor but am not a MATH or SCIENCE person. And I'm looking to start a new business.
I do NOT have a teaching certificate nor much experience but I'm passionate, enthusiastic and a very good editor and know history....
just a thought.
So prep schools are about $10K MORE than Christian private schools...well, I suppose it's different for each school.
Our is $18K but, as I've mentioned before, not enough pay that :-)
Virginia does not require that homeschool teachers be certified by the state.
I hold a business license from the county as an itinerant teacher (piano and school subjects). I've had such a license since 1972 because of teaching piano lessons.
The homeschool group with which I work is unique in that we are not a full-service group nor are we under the aegis of a church. Rather, I am often the only teacher offering classes to our group!
Most homeschool networks that I know of will not contract for a teacher unless that teacher has prior teaching experience or some other experiences which are considered important -- that latter indicating to parents that the proposed teachers can do a better job of teaching particular subjects than the parents themselves can.
Chess is another homeschool group in this area. Again, not the group with whom I work. The Chess teacher bios are HERE.
Harvester Teaching Services -- not the group with whom I work -- has a large homeschool operation. The organization's home page is HERE.
See the Harvester teacher bios HERE.
Hope that the above answers your questions.
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