Monday, January 28, 2008
The Public School
When our oldest son, Zach, was in the sixth grade I worried about where he would go to Middle School. The local middle school was a beautiful new building which was large enough for around 2,000 students.

Can you imagine 2000 7th and 8th graders all in one place? I have to admit this is not my favorite age. I much prefer the elementary and High School years.

Anyway, I heard mixed reviews about this school from our friends and was apprehensive about sending him there.

He begged and pleaded. All of his friends were going there. He was a good kid who didn't get into trouble, why would we punish him like that he asked?

We relented. He went. We hated it. He loved it. End of story.

Two thousand students at one middle school is to many. When I would walk onto campus it felt more like a prison atmosphere. Crowd control is their number one priority. Also, my son was in an all honors program. We quickly discovered that the worst teachers were assigned to the honors students. The reasons for this being the conception that smart kids will learn no mater how bad their teachers are. Oh, the examples I could give you. I will save those for another post.

Two years later when it was Tyler's turn to move on to Middle School we did not hesitate. He would not go to that school.

We enrolled him in a private Christian School which we love. His sister, Samantha, followed him there the next year and we prayed for a money tree to sprout abundantly in our back yard.

Now, lets move on to High School.

Our High School is a California Distinguished School and was listed in U.S. World and News Reports as one of the best High Schools in the nation (its in the top 100).

Zach is now in his second year at this school. Again, I really don't like it. There are over 5000 kids at this school. In a school this big you had better find somewhere to be involved or it would be very easy to feel that you are just a number.

Our oldest has done well at this school. As you know, if you read this blog at all, he plays on the baseball team and gets great grades. Again, he loves the school.

My conversation recently with his counselor is one of the reasons I don't like this school. I had called to get him out of his CAD class (Computer Animated Drafting) for the second semester. He was doing well in the class but really was not enjoying it. He has a health class that he needs to take before graduation. I wanted him to take that class second semester to get it out of the way.

When I spoke with his counselor, whom I actually like very much, he told me Zach would have to get his teacher to sign a form releasing him from the class. OK, no problem. I called Zach at school and told him what his counselor had said. He took the correct paper to that class and explained to his teacher that he wanted to be released so he could take health the following semester.

The teacher said NO. He informed my child that his parents and counselor would not be doing him any favors by letting him out of this class. That is code I am finding out for "Your child is getting a good grade in this very difficult class and keeping my ratios up so NO I will not let him go".

This is the crux of my dislike for the public school system. They seem to think they are the parent of MY child.

Recently I received a notice from the High School stating that I had to go to a mandatory meeting with my child regarding all of his absences. He had been absent six times. I did not go.
I was informed that if I did not attend the meeting a truancy officer could come to my home and investigate.

These recent developments have just about pushed hubby and I over the edge regarding the public school system in our area.

We went and visited a near by private High School. We loved it.

However, unless that money tree sprouts in the back yard, or I get a full time job, or we stop eating all together, it is not really a realistic option for our family.

So, I decided to have a very nice heart to heart with my child's school. This is what I informed them of.

1. Zach is my child not yours. His father and I will make decisions regarding his class schedule...not you!

2. Do not send me any more letters regarding attendance meetings. I will throw them away. We, meaning his parents, will decide when he goes to school and when he DOES NOT. I am sorry you lose money when he does not attend. That is your problem not mine.

3. Please feel free to send a truancy officer or social worker to our home to investigate. I would love to speak to them about your stupid rules. I am sure they will be horrified by my sons 3.8 grade point average and his athletic awards given to him by YOUR SCHOOL.

4. You should thank God that I send my child to your school. I nicely informed the school that I had been looking for other options for my child to which I received a sputtering response that they really did not feel this would be necessary.

Really?

If you have gotten to the end of this very long post I am sure you are feeling one of two ways.

1. Thank Goodness I home school.

2. Thank Goodness she has stopped ranting and raving.

I am done now. Thank you very much.

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  posted at 7:21 AM  
  11 comments



11 Comments:
At 12:12 PM, Blogger missy said...

Wow.

You know, this is definitely one of the reasons we actually school at home. I am a HUGE control freak, especially when it comes to my kid, and if anyone tried to usurp my authority over her I'd completely freak.

Good for you for sticking to your guns!!

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

Good for you! My parents had a similar problem when we were in high school The school would not be flexible with my brother's schedule. He was in the gifted program, and the school receieved money for that. My dad told the principal that if he couldn't work out the scheduling problem, he would pull my brother out of the gifted program (they didn't do anything anyway), and the school would lose the money. Guess what? They immeidately fixed the problem. It's all about money and numbers! I am so proud that you reminded them that YOU ARE THE PARENT!

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger Heidi @ GGIP said...

I have to agree that it seems that public schools are coming up with all sorts of ridiculous rules nowadays that are so silly. And the way they want to punish parents is insane.

Keep us updated. If you get a money tree, can you send a seed to the east coast?

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

Thanks for posting this. I think you have a very good understanding of what is going on behind all the decisions the school is making.

Reminds me why we pulled our daughter out.

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger LISA said...

Grrrrr!!! I remember going through some of those same things when my kids were in school.My kids knew which teachers were the "good ones"that they would learn something in the classroom.Luckily,the staff saw it my way.Now they are both in med-school.What if they gotten the teachers that just cared about #'s?

 
At 5:39 AM, Blogger The Cheerio Queen said...

GOOD FOR YOU Julie! I have had similar problems with my children's school too. Only they were sending home my sensory processing son because he was scared of class and then after THEY called me and asked me to come get him...they changed his attendance to unexcused abscence adn I received a call from the truancy board. :) Boy did they get n earful and so did the principal. Let's just say it takes a LOT to get me mad but when I do and it has something to do with my children stand back lol. Needless to say we wound up homeschooling which is great for us but it is not for everyone. I have a question though...have you looked into online public schooling like K12.com? or something similar...I bet your district has something like a homeschooling program that would still allow your son to play sports, and have all the social time. just a thought if the public school situation gets bad. I agree with the other posters...YOU are the parent not them. You were totally right to inform them of how it would be. :)

Jenna

 
At 11:28 AM, OpenID the160acrewoods said...

glad to hear someone standing up for themselves! We don't have any children in school yet, but I worry about stuff like that happening.

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Good for you! And yes, I am glad I homeschool.

One year we sent our two younger boys to public school. It was a nightmare. That year our family got every strain of flu and cold imaginable. I was constanly called in to come and get my feverish boys.

Then one day I got a letter in the mail telling me that both my boys...a 2nd grader and a 3rd grader were considered truant because they'd missed too many days of school (it was about 7-8 each). If they missed any more days, they had to have signed doctor's slips to keep the school from sending Social Services to 'take control' of the situation.

Needless to say, we pulled them out and I am so happy to have them home!

By the way, do you think a money tree will grow in the Midwest? I'll plant it and you can come pick anytime you want. (Just leave enough for my son's treatment program!)

 
At 11:35 PM, Blogger Toni said...

This isn't why we homeschool, but it sure makes me glad we do. That being said though? I had this happen to me in my private hs. I wanted to drop Spanish II with my parents agreeing. I was going to take a different elective, fine with the teacher of that class. Spanish teacher? Refused to sign. Grrrr! I assure you, I can no better hablo espanol today because of that forced extra year. Comprendo? ;)
Blessings,
~Toni~

 
At 10:05 AM, Anonymous lisa said...

I totally agree...the perspective gets lost somewhere. My husband and I get furious. He'll say, "WE are the parents!" Our options do stink. I homeschooled my son for 3 years, but he LOVES sports and went back to public school to play. Some people may disagree, but it is what he really wanted to do. The private school is SO expensive and he didn't want to go there anyway. He did play football with them one year and it was not a fun experience. The coaching was poor, team was so small and they got slaughtered every game. He said he'd rather not play at all if that was his only option. I know winning isn't everything...he knows that too, but you can only take so much! He's in public school now and we are just praying daily!!

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Kathyb1960 said...

You know, schools are getting antsy because there are now over 1.5 million students that are home schooled. Think of the money the schools have lost.

I say GOOD FOR YOU for telling off the school!

And only 6 absenses? Gee wiz! when I was in HS, I was in Band, and we missed more days than that! Bro-ther!

They put 3000 kids in one school? Oh my gosh! There were 300 in my HS Class, and maybe 1000 in the whole HS. I can't imagine 3000 in ONE SCHOOL! Especially at that age. WEll, actually, ANY age!

 

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I am a spontaneous, out going, daughter of the King, who is married to a wonderful guy who is a quiet, shy, non-spontaneous, scientist who also loves the Lord. Truly a match made in heaven! We fight and argue, love and laugh, every single day. I am passionate about orphan care and love to tell our story to anyone who will listen. This blog is dedicated to that journey.

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