You might not believe me, but last weekend, my daughter turned three years old.
She is growing ever so fast, and is very smart and independent. There has not been a single day that I can remember where she hasn't made me laugh. She is learning her limits and tests our patience most days, but all she has to do is run up to me when I pick her up at daycare after work, smiling ear to ear and excited to see me, and my heart melts. I am hers, she is mine, and that's that.
I have a couple of friends who have children who are a few years older than mine, and they've been talking a lot recently about their struggles with the public schools where we live. I've been getting some insight and insider knowledge about what I can expect (in a few more years at least) what my daughter would be going through. Honestly, it frightens me.
I've heard of teachers picking on their students. Using the same kids as scapegoats because of their history when incidents occur without first investigating to find the true instigator. Ignoring their aptitude and refusing to place them in classes that challenge them and foster their interest. Not listening to parents and addressing their concerns when they are brought to light.
It seems obvious to say it, but the education you receive while you are growing up can make or break your future. My parents made the decision to pull my sisters and I out of public school before we entered high school because of their concerns over how the public school system didn't seem to be doing a good job. My parents chose the curriculum and set the pace for us, and we excelled. I applied to eight different colleges during my senior year, and got accepted to every single one of them.
Not all public school systems are bad, but in my region of the US, most of them are not doing their students and justice. I heard a statistic (I don't recall the source, so don't quote me on this) that less than half of the local high school students are able to read at their grade level, and even less of them could receive acceptable ratings on standardized tests pertaining to history and math.
Now that high school is more than ten years ago for me, and I'm looking at sending my daughter to the same public school system that I was pulled out of, I'm worried. While home schooling worked for me and my sisters, my wife and I cannot afford to have one of us stay home to do the same for our daughter. For the same financial reasons, private schooling is also not an option. So, we are spending time researching and reading reports, learning about what other public in our state seem like a good place for fostering the mind of our beautiful daughter.
Lowell Milken, someone who has spent decades working to improve teaching for the K-12th grade levels across the United States, has said:
“The need to assure that every child has the opportunity afforded by good teachers is urgent. As urgent as the need to be well nourished and for exactly the same reason. A child's growth depends on it.”
I couldn't agree more. I understand it is my job as a parent to make sure she gets the most out of her schooling, and will not sit idly by and not make sure she has the best that I can provide for her.