Looking At The Reality Of Education – Part 2 Comparing Options of Educating for Families

Comparing Options of Educating for Families

Here is a quick look at what Betsy DeVos has to come up to speed on quickly. Incorporating homeschool into the Department of Education thinking along with other innovations or methods may need to become a reality for our country and our budget.

It is also a starting point on how parents need to be evaluating their children’s educational options. Public education is for everyone regardless of ability to pay, disability, and other issues. It began in answer to a deep desire for people to know how to read, write, and do other things like mathematics, science, and history. The wealthy had no problem providing for their children through tutors and elitist schools but the average worker had no such ability to gain an education. It was only when education was open to all that we as a nation were able to move ahead and open up the scope of a better life for everyone to meet their own goals.

Please note – like any other occupation, teaching is not drilled into a candidate but comes from deep within. Just as their inner voice helps provide a wonderful year, so can the antithesis provide a bad experience. The art of teaching is either present or not.  Students are barometers and critics of discernment when they are in classes. Even the best evaluators are not able to determine a teacher’s merit as well as students do. Really good teachers do not have to have a diploma but the best educators do because they want their students to receive the best they have to offer. 

Public vs Private Schools Comparison

In a 2009 GreatSchools and Harris Interactive poll, nearly one in four parents are currently considering switching their child’s school either from private to public or public to private as a result of the economy.

Main Differences:

1) The bottom line: The most obvious discrepancy between public and private schools comes down to cold, hard cash.
The admissions game: Another obvious distinction between public and private schools results from their respective admissions procedures.

2) Teachers, curriculum, and class size: While most people assume that teachers at private schools are as qualified as those at public ones, it’s important to note that all teachers in a public school are usually state certified or, at a minimum, working toward certification. Teachers in private schools may not be required to have certification. Instead, they often have subject-area expertise and an undergraduate or graduate degree in the subject they teach. There’s a similar discrepancy between curriculum development in private and public schools.

3) Special needs: Due to special education laws, public schools must educate all children and provide the necessary programs to meet their special needs. Private schools do not have to accept children with special needs, and many choose not to (although there are a small number of private schools designed for special-needs children).

As usual statistical analysis of testing performance by students has claims and counter claims of performance. For one thing class size, acceptance based on economic ability to pay or elitism, focus on specific government performance keys versus unregulated or non-standardized course norms of study in private institutions is constantly under debate with both sides taking their stance and manipulating data to their benefit.

Public versus Home School Comparison

Classical Conversations in 2015 discussed this issue. Public school vs. homeschool has become the number one educational question for many families over the past 30 years. Some recent news reports claim that there has been a seventy-five percent increase in homeschooling in the past eight years.

When the first families began homeschooling, they had to scrounge for textbooks and other materials. They fought for the legal right to educate their children at home, aided by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. But times have changed.

These are the reasons most often given in favor of homeschooling: Religion; Safety; Academic Quality; Travel; Positive Socialization with people of different ages; Family togetherness; Separation of government and school; Tailored student learning plans; Emphasis on mastery instead of grades; and, Private School Expenses.

Main Differences:

1) The cost factor: Many parents cite expenses as a big factor in their decision of whether to choose public school or homeschool. Families can educate their children for far less than the government spends per pupil and for far less than they themselves would spend for private school tuition, books, and uniforms in most cases. Taxes, meeting state and federal guidelines, and testing are still necessary and may present a burden.

The difference must be weighed as to performance of the parent in committment to the education of their child. Will it be less of a “cost” burden for a stay-at-home parent to homeschool or does the family finances or life-style take away from the family’s ability to provide quality educational experiences. If a tutor or other person is homeschooling for the family, is that person’s ability and credentials above-board and vetted for any problems like abuse?

Certainly in the last few years, public educators have come under fire for their own behavior. Public schools have become hotbeds from the shackling of their ability to maintain discipline and quality experiences to the many local, state, legal, and federal government interferences. Public schools have frightened, apathetic, or poor performance from some teachers who have reached a breaking point in their ability to face the problems.They often feel abandoned, helpless, or jaded from too much, too long, and too little public or family involvement; or, from the stifling of their own abilities through the demands of curriculum, political interference, and constant micro-management.

2) The guidance for homeschoolers versus trained teachers under observation by principals: Where public class vies for a single educator’s attention with many more in a classroom, guidance from home is a wholly different method. Whether one or the other is successful is based upon the skills of the teacher, interaction in classrooms, social interaction as a whole, and availability of materials to provide an enriching experience.

3) Parental temperament and education: Sometimes being teacher and parent can create a real and confusing line for parents and the children just as a parent trying to be a “friend” to a child who needs to have a “parent” take charge in situations can hinder family unity and togetherness. It is a unique family that can be successful in this situation.

Having involvement, focus, desire, confidence, good parental skills, knowledge, and determined concentration on the education process for a parent can be a challenge in homeschooling. Most states now have taken some of the guesswork out and provided a large volume of materials and testing that was not available years ago when homeschooling began to become popular. There are now web sites focused on those who prefer and qualify to become homeschooling parents.

4) Articulation like speeches and acting, social interaction and other extracurricular activities: Early families also made sacrifices of extra-curricular activities for their children. Now, most states offer homeschool choirs, marching bands, orchestras, sports, cheerleading, PE classes, art classes, and much more. Families can choose to homeschool exclusively in their home or can choose from a wide array of local homeschool co-ops or online courses.

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Federal government has been increasingly infringing upon all levels of education perhaps because states are abdicating their responsibilities as they receive greater subsidies from the the feds.  We now have daycare, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, Head Start, elementary, junior high, charter schools, high schools,  junior colleges, technical schools, colleges and universities where many years ago one small schoolhouse serviced all grade levels from first to graduation.

We have learned a lot over time about how, when, and why children mature and increase their skills as they grow. Interaction, play, familial time spent in reading and nurturing, creative and knowledgeable programs of early learning skills all contribute to a better maturity level as students enter elementary school.  These building blocks are very important to a successful life from thereon out.  

At some point, however, the child’s own skills take over and learning becomes internalized. If those beginning foundations are not present because there is no deep family base, poor teaching methods, or the experiences are more traumatic, then those children will have a much more difficult time and less to build upon in order to develop their own learning skills.  By the time they have reached late elementary level, a lot of good and bad habits have been established either through home, peer, or other examples. My point in mentioning this is that schools play an important role but hands-on experiences and home life play is just as important especially in early years.

Having groups of educators begin the process of indoctrination into socialistic or any ideological viewpoints at any time until after high school graduation but in particular preschool and elementary level is unconscionable. The focus should rightly be placed on developing the age appropriate developmental skills needed to think and reason for oneself and learn rather than ideological BS.

As a young person I had to learn a lot of historical information, mapping, math, science, and memorization skills.  These are mostly lacking now as the technological crutches have been rapidly creating dependent and conformist brains. 

High schools, colleges, technical schools play less of a developmental role and should focus more on meeting the student’s interests and goals after they graduate from personal accountability and finance management, to business skills, to employment interviews, to science and technological skills. This is critical for them to know Not whose the fascist, what we are protesting today especially if there is no lesson taught explaining the whys, wherefores, and history of the action.

These politically motivated and socialistic attempts to undermine real life have no place in the realities these students face the moment they are turned loose. It is their ill-advised and discriminatory prejudice as well as the poorly developed attitude of some college boards that is at the heart of these snowflakes and their slanted view of life.

Some students either through good upbringing skills or life experiences understand this. Those who are more loosely grounded, latch key, shuffled off, or lacking good foundational skills will generally fall for these indoctrination lies and beliefs with little hesitation because they have little core strength.

“Conclusion About the Development of Language and Literacy Skills

The oral language and vocabulary children learn through interactions with parents, siblings, and caregivers and through high-quality interactions with educators provide the foundation for later literacy and for learning across all subject areas, as well as for their socio-emotional well-being. The language interactions children experience at home and in school influence their developing minds and their understanding of concepts and ideas.”  NCIB

This is where I wonder how motivated and understanding someone not grounded in education can handle the pressure and responsibility of strengthening rather than destabilizing a department as important as Education. Perhaps Betsy DeVos will be a great Secretary of Education because she realizes she has to do studying and understand the mechanics as well as the spending.  I certainly hope so. Questioning the how, why, when is just as important on day one as having the background and skills needed to start with in any job.

Would turning back the clock to teach like the 1950’s help? Only insofar as we let the young ones develop without values, morals, discipline, and the crutch of technological interference possibly. Encouraging the mind to develop skills from hands-on activities, memorization, developing real-time role-playing, reading, or exploring values and morals need more personal touch than the tools used for research and online programming. Otherwise there are far more advantages in today’s understanding, expertise, and innovations for reaching students regardless of political or other kinds of prejudices and narrow-mindedness than when I was small. 

–Uriel–

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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