Sunday, January 25, 2015
For the Children
My newest guilty pleasure is a brand new soap opera centered on ultra-concerned parents and their quest to fight the power of the local school board. It's an emotional and suspenseful tale of selfishness, prejudice, intrigue, and cry-baby tears. You won't find it on telly, nor is it streaming on any of our devices. It's a real-life, bona-fide drama happening in my own community.
My little suburb is a rapidly growing one, and as a result, schools are being rezoned in order to accommodate. The reaction against the rezoning, with regard to the high schools in particular, has been staggering, and the outrage surrounding it is nothing short of shocking. Bear in mind, gentle reader, that none of the ugliness comes from the high-school students affected by it - the 'adults' are the ones sinking to new lows in order to 'express their dissatisfaction'.
I don't have children, so far be it from me to tell others what's what when it comes to child-rearing. I do, however, have almost twenty years experience as an educator, consultant, and private tutor, so I feel fairly safe in proclaiming the following:
You people need to lighten up and pay attention to what really matters.
In four years or less your child will be out of high school, and this nonsense won't matter in your world anymore.
Education is important, but not every child is academically inclined. Where's the outcry over diminished art and music programs? Why aren't you people yelling over the fact that special needs students receive precious little to meet their special needs within the public school system? And although we claim to celebrate the diversity of this fair city, why are you so bent out of shape at the possibility of your child attending a school with people 'not like him'?
But these are not the issues, surprisingly. To be frank, the issues have been overshadowed by general bad-behavior at recent meetings that would result in disciplinary action if you were a high school student.
So what's the solution? I'm so glad I asked, for I've got an idea worth pondering. I've no idea how to bring it to fruition - that's not my job. I'm the idea gal, so you figure it out. But wouldn't it be interesting if....
All freshman attend the same school in order to get their basic courses (Language Arts/Math/History/Science/The Arts) and then...
transfer to one of the following (in no particular order):
School A: The Math and Engineering Academy
School B: The Science and Medical Academy
School C: The Fine/Applied Arts Academy
School D: The Technology Academy
School E: The Trade Academy (consisting of but not limited to: auto-repair, cosmetology, welding, and old school 'shop' because let's face it, the world always needs these folks)
School F: The Business/Law Academy
School G: The I'm Not Sure Academy, where they'd be introduced to a little of everything and then move on to one of the above.
*Once a student enters any of the academies, parents are not allowed to communicate with teachers or administrators, unless it's Christmas and they have a substantial gift card to drop off.
*Each academy will offer athletic programs for those inclined to participate. Personally, I can't wait for 'The Fightin' Future Docs' vs. 'The Indestructable Interior Design Hopefuls'.
1. Eliminate standardized testing
2. Hire teachers with real world experience pertinent to a particular academy
3. Make our annual fund-raisers and auctions centered on the special needs children within our community.
But let's mainly...
Be nice to one another, accept differences, set an excellent example for our children, and remember what 'community' really means.