To me, this was frustrating. Dude, you have public school available to you at no cost! Making matters worse, colleagues of mine were sending their kids to private school. This is like sending them to the competition! I vowed, before we had kids, to give my children the same public education that my wife and I were raised with. After all, what kind of statement am I sending about my belief in our system if I don't even send my own children through the system?
Then my wife and I had kids.
As our oldest child gets closer and closer to "school age", we have some decisions to make. Do we put him into a classroom that is expanding by the year? Do we enroll him in the school where he is supposed to go, which is currently holding a 4 rating out of 10 by greatschools.org? Or, contradicting my original belief, do we send our boys to private school? What about home school?
According to the California Department of Education, the average class size in a California Kindergarten classroom is 22.6. Yes, that is from the CDE... TWENTY SIX crazy 5 & 6 year-old kids that one person is required to educate, enrich, and influence in a way that will prepare them for the rest of their lives. If I had to deal with 5 kids like my son on a daily basis for 4 hours, 180 days in a year, I'd go nuts. Kindergarten teachers, you have my utmost respect.
The sad part about those stats are that we all know class averages are deflated by including the librarian and anyone else on campus with a teaching credential. The reality, based on conversation with my colleagues on twitter and friends who teach, is that class sizes are realistically in the 30's. This is nothing personal with elementary school teachers, but I can't see my child going through that. Quite frankly, I don't see how any child can.
Being a high school teacher, I can handle (most days) a class of 40. They are mature (most days), self-regulating (most days), and easier to have conversations with about the right/wrong things to do (most days). However, even that can be daunting, as stories have been told, when teachers don't have control of the classroom.
According to the US Department of Education statistics, 48.9% of parents who home school their children do so because they feel like they can give their child a better education at home. In the same survey, 25.6% of parents cited a dissatisfaction with academic instructions at public schools as their reason for taking matters into their own hands. This should strike a chord. Parents are so frustrated with the current state of education that they are pulling them and taking matters into their own hands.
So the question is this: Would you send your child to your own school or district? Why or why not?