My Humble Questions about Public Education

Non-Humble Beginnings with Public Education

With threee small children and a fourth on the way in 1998, we chose to send our eldest to public kindergarten, even though we ultimately intended to homeschool. As I have mentioned elsewhere, my know-it-all score was off the charts back then, which explains my righteous indignation as well as deep consternation when the kindergarten teacher told me she couldn’t work with Valerie and her advanced reading skills lest Val be “bored” next year at school.

The next 16 years saw every combination of schooling known to man, save boarding school, and I surely wished that had been an option a few times.

Changing my Mind about Public Education

When Kepler was born in 2006, it wasn’t long before I realized that the public school system was going to be able to give him a whole host of things I wouldn’t be able to provide. So in spite of Mary Hood’s “seminal” tome, Onto the Yellow School Bus and Through the Gates of Hell, (real title), we sent Kepler off to pre-school two days after his third birthday. Public school and Kepler are so far a match made in heaven.

Meanwhile, the “fourth on the way” grew from a bean to a young woman on the cusp of getting her drivers license and we decided that public high school would be a great adventure for this young thespian and musician.

But What About High School

Now into her second semester, here is my main question.

What is the value of these four classes she is taking, in the way they are being taught? History, English, Geometry, Biology. There is obvious value from a liberal arts point of view and I wholeheartedly support her education in these areas.

But the reality is that the geometry teacher reviews the problems for one particular worksheet for five straight 90-minute classes but does not teach geometry?

More than one of the teachers provide class time for homework, as well as overnight or over several nights, plus additional class time for an assignment that can easily be completed in the first class period.

Thus My Humble Questions

I’m certain that these teachers have twenty times the experience I have, but I am struggling to come up with how to encourage my child to care about her schoolwork when the pace seems glacial, homework is most often checked for completeness only so there is rampant cheating/copying, and my student is not enthusiastic about STEM classes anyway.

I often overlook the obvious, so the answer may be staring me in the face, but teachers, if you do not seem to care about inspiring your students, what are you hoping will inspire them?

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