"Marley was dead, to begin with." (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol). That's all that came to mind as I considered this blog post on education. Do I begin from today or from 8 years ago or 3 years ago? Do I begin when our troubles began or when I began to lose faith in education? Do I begin with my own experience in school? I begin with today and thus, "Marley was dead, to begin with."
There is so much to say and I will begin by saying that my daughter's public school sent an email saying that a significant number of children are failing in this virtual environment. Our pathway in education has been long and windy, for which I have significant regrets. After being in a lovely public elementary, we moved our daughter to a private Waldorf school that she attended for PreK and that our son was an alumni of and it was a disaster. From a lack of teaching to downright trauma and abuse, we have been clawing our way out for over a year of effects of that situation.
We were faced this year with the option to allow our daughter to remain in her new private school or make the move to public and hopefully get her more academic assistance (she needed it from the previous school) and honestly, have a free education. Maybe not free, but not the tune of $10k to $20k per year. Well, my inability to make good decisions for my kiddos has once again bitten me in the arse and we are here.
Where is here, you may ask? Here is in 5 to 6 hours of staring a tiny Chromebook with a split screen doing what can only be described as read, answer questions, repeat. Read, answer questions, repeat....on and on and on. Due to the nature of math, I'm actually okay with read, answer questions, repeat as it also has equations a lot of doing and brain gymnastics. But, science, ELA and social studies looks like R, A, R. Add assesssment/test in and you have it.
There is a lot of discourse, and has been for years, on the nature of public school and its mission to crank out worker bees. Based on what I am seeing, I cannot help but believe it is true. Vocab? What's that? Sentence structure and diagramming? That's old school. Drawing maps or doing any projects? Nope. Who needs that when Google Classroom or a host of other apps and cloud based "tools" can do that for you? We have information to digest and spit out to meet our metrics. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Back to the school emailing to say a significant number of students are failing and they have never seen this before and are trying to make some decisions on course correcting. Well, you know me, I had say something. I also wanted to sound at least somewhat coherent and not a rambling angry mom (I can go there, trust me). I sat on this for several days, nearly a week in fact and this morning, I sent an email. I'll be peeling this apart in other blog posts as within the email is a lot of what is wrong with how we are approaching our kids in the realm of education. This isn't isolated to public school. I have seen these challenges in private school as well. (Catholic, not Waldorf, which is it's own special kind of wrong).
So, the Marley was dead and I, starting from today and will be visiting the ghosts of education past, present and future. I hope you'll stick with me for this journey.