Let’s face it, Americans do not value education.
That may explain why the sports news manages to grace the home page of Yahoo, plus many other websites where newspapers simply relegate it to the sports section of the paper. More students can name who Steve McNair is than they can the first president of our nation (George Washington). That is pretty sad, but what exactly did Obama say about education that managed to anger some Americans?
Barack Obama said that it is important for children to stay in school and get a good education so they can continue to go on to college and get high paying jobs. Given the rate of student dropouts, especially in urban areas like Detroit and Chicago, it is no wonder he might have some encouraging words for these kids. If public schools were not in such a mess, the parents who commented about Obama’s speech – primarily conservative Republicans – probably would not be in such an uproar. So what exactly is the problem with public schools?
Many believe that public schools no longer teach – rather, they indoctrinate children into very left-wing ideas that have nothing to do with education. Consider the high schools that hand out condoms to under aged kids who cannot consent to sexual behavior. Or kids who tend to fall through the cracks because they cannot read or write. Or those kids who were once labeled “special education” but then got mainstreamed, since the ordinary students have to “learn how to get along with such students.” The list goes on and on. This does not even include those kids who are labeled as ADD/ADHD because they cannot learn at the same rate as the other students. Hold on there for a second. Who says that all students of the same age learn at the same rate and pace? Why, Horace Mann did. Back in the late nineteenth century, public education was designed to create day laborers, while the future CEO’s went to private schools like Groton. Scratch the belief that just because a group of children are the same age, they will all learn the same way.
Then there is that “S” word that has disturbed many a homeschooling parents: socialization. Maybe that is the problem, Obama’s speech had nothing to do with academics, and everything to do with socialization. Note I said socialization, not socializing. Socializing is what one does during recess and lunch, not in the middle of class while the teacher is lecturing. Here, socialization means fitting in perfectly with the other kids, just like a peg in a hole. In the case of public schools, that should be a square peg in a round hole. Why? Simply because today’s kids do use up class time for a social career and not real learning. Well, some do, anyways. The serious students get pushed aside. School should be for those who want to learn, not the discipline problems or those who do nothing but hanky panky (thus the condoms) in the restrooms. Not all parents want their eight year old daughter coming home saying she knows how to do oral sex, but is incapable of locating the United States on a map of the western world. That’s scary. Well, that sort of indoctrination is something I think many parents feel their children can do without. Then one does not have to wonder why homeschooling is on the rise.
Obama obviously meant well, and it has been a very long time since he has been in a public school, and his two daughters do not attend a public school (they attend Sidwell Friends, a private school), so neither he nor Michelle really knows what sort of things go on behind those closed public school doors. He is not solely to blame for his remarks on education in our nation. It may be long in coming for public schools to be repaired, but at least alternatives like homeschooling exist for those students serious about education and who won’t be trampled over in the name of public school “socialization.”