"Parents and school boards in affluent communities may not want to hear that the teaching in their schools is mediocre. The accountability system does not call attention to the problems of instructional quality in these schools, nor does it reinforce efforts to solve them....Unlike low-performing schools, which may be galvanized by external pressure to improve, so-called high-performing schools must often swim against a tide of complacency to generate support for change."I get so frustrated at the perception gap in my town. "We're a California Distinguished School!" the school boasts. "We moved here because of the good schools!" beams an acquaintance. I just smile politely but inside I want to scream, "wake up and smell the coffee, people! Things aren't as hunky-dory as you all seem to believe they are!"
Laura McKenna over at the "11D" blog takes a more blase view of the problem of underperforming affluent schools:
"First of all, you should not rely on your schools to educate your kids. I spend a lot of time with my kids teaching them random things. If Jonah's doing his homework, I will be there in the room using the homework as a jumping board for my own lesson. If he does sloppy work, I make him redo it. I reteach the math lessons. We'll go up to the computer to look up a country in Africa. No school does this."If a parent has to "afterschool" in order to make up for the academic deficiencies of the school, then what's the point of enrolling the child in the first place? Why not just homeschool and free up the child's afternoons for enrichment activities and unstructured play?
Laura follows up with a post detailing a number of the things she dislikes about her kids' school:
"Jonah's teachers have been terrible about math. They don't do enough repetition of math facts, and they just explain things really badly.So again my question is- if the academics are so lacking, why bother sending her kids there in the first place?
They don't do handwriting anymore, because the teachers tell me that all work will happen on laptops in the future.
Their time in specials (art, library, computers, health) is a complete waste of time.
They don't do enough writing.
They are not preparing the kids for good colleges. In fact, the head administrators seem to think that college consists of kids working in groups on laptop computers. They aren't preparing the kids for big lecture halls and blue books.
They assign book reports that consist largely of art projects that the parents complete.
They assign stupid homework like word searches and crossword puzzles."
Is it "socialization"? I discussed that issue a couple weeks ago. Also, just today I was reading the newsletter from my town mothers' club when I came across a humor piece in written by a woman whose oldest child is a kindergartner. Here is an excerpt from it:
"They say a parent's influence only makes a difference for about the first seven years of a child's life. Well, make that five years. As soon as they enter the stream of public education and co-mingle with the throngs, they soak up everything like a sponge: the latest YouTube videos, the trendiest fashion fads, the most in-vogue vernacular. Soon you'll find yourself made obsolete as the go-to source of all things hip and happenin' and you feel as redundant as yesterday's newspaper (wait, make that newspapers, period)."Yeah, I think I'll take a pass on this kind of "socialization" of my kids.
Now, quite possibly Laura is employed outside the home and is looking to her kids' school to provide childcare while she is at her job. I don't know her situation so I'm not going to make a judgment about that one way or the other. But for me personally, I'm a full-time homemaker and (God willing) plan to stay that way for a while. So that's not a reason for me to put my kids in a subpar school. I'm only going to enroll them in a school that would do a better job educating them than I can do myself. And that's definitely not my local government-run school...