Privatized education. Hollyweird movies promoting false ideologies about education. Teacher strikes. Blatant disregard for the impact poverty has on educational outcomes. Male education ‘leaders‘ attacking female education leaders for being outspoken and honest. Everyone who’s never taught telling teachers they suck and need to be fired. No, it’s not the script for a new reality show, although it very well could be (if Honey Boo Boo can make it on tv, anybody/thing can make it on tv). These are the issues that have garnered the headlines for the past few months. Although I am no longer a teacher, per se, I will always be a teacher at heart. Anything that impacts the educational outcomes of children, especially those from marginalized groups, will always affect me. I’m human and I care about the quality of education, regardless of whether it involves schools my kids attend, or schools 700+ miles away in Indiana, Chicago, etc.
But you know what? I don’t miss the B.S. I don’t miss people telling me that my voice does not matter by completely disregarding my voice. I don’t miss sending professionally-worded emails to school administrators (not teachers) asking them why they have failed to provide my kids a service to which they are entitled. I don’t miss not getting responses to said emails. And my 6th grader does not miss being inundated with standardized tests.
Several years ago, I naively thought we (parents and teachers) could create a visual and performing arts charter school in our community, since the arts have almost been decimated from school budgets and planning considerations. Never thought in a million years that we would need to have $1MM dollars to even have our petition considered. When I accepted that a charter school was out of the question, I began to explore other options. Private schools are too expensive, especially when you are unemployed. When the girls started school last Fall, it only took me a few weeks to realize that it would be their last time in a Gwinnett County Public School. Even though I did not have a plan at that time, I knew they would not go back. A few months before the end of the 2011-2012 school year, I made the decision to homeschool. Was that what I really wanted? Nope. Did the girls really want to be homeschooled? In the beginning, I think they did. The middle child then realized that she would not be with her group of friends 5 days a week; she then had a change of heart. But we are settling-in and I honestly believe they are enjoying the freedom.
As a kid, I played ‘school’ with my cousins almost daily. I was always the teacher. Little did I know that it was my destiny to become an actual teacher, for that is not what I had in mind when I went to college. During those 5 short years that I was in an actual classroom, I believe I learned (saw) all I needed to learn to recognize what my kids DON’T deserve from public education (again, not teachers). I took those things, made mental notes, and set-out to give them everything I wanted to give other kids in my community by way of a true charter school (open to all kids, regardless of race, religion, income, zip code, disability, etc.).