Why public education is messed-up, or My observations from today’s orientation & open house fiascos   1 comment

Hey everybody! I’m baaaaaaaccckkkk! Took a much-needed break and enjoyed spending time with my mom, who came to help me paint and de-clutter. I think she really came because she knew I have been in a rut for…well, a long time. Anywho, I am back and ready to ‘go in’ on the Gwinnett County Public School System!

I think by now most of you know that I have homeschooled my oldest (15) for 2.5 years, but we (basically I) decided that he needs to go back to school this year (READ: I need a break). So we all got-up and went to the high school to register him today. In addition to the two classes I taught, he also took two online through the Georgia Virtual School. (I might add that he did really well in those two classes and on the 9th grade Literature End-of-Course Test.) Well, a few weeks ago I emailed the virtual school coordinator and asked her to fax a copy of his final grades and test score to South Gwinnett High School so they would be there when we went to register. Easy, right? WRONG! The coordinator was helpful and faxed everything on July 26. Well, that was almost 2 weeks ago so you’d think the school would have placed them in a place where they would be easy to find, right? WRONG! It took them at least 25 minutes to find the fax, but what got me is the fact that they had the unmitigated gall to ask me what it looked like. Huh?

So anyway, we go into the auditorium/theater to wait to see a counselor for a schedule. When our turn came, we exchanged pleasantries and took a seat at her table. While she busied herself with something else, I just happened to look at a course listing (it was right in front of my face). I wish you all could have seen how quickly she grabbed those papers from us and placed them on her side of the table! I could understand if the papers contained personal information about students (I would not have read them), but they were BLANK forms! It’s like she was scared I would obtain some sacred information reserved for college-educated folks (they never know I have several degrees, they just assume I’m ignorant because I have kids and no ring). But I let it slide. That niceness didn’t last long because chick thought I was about to sign a form without reading it or knowing what it was! I politely let her know: ‘I don’t sign anything without reading it first. What exactly is this anyway?’ Checkmate.

So chick is talking to my son and asking him about his interests and what he wants to do after graduating. He tells her that he is interested in acting, yada, yada, yada. She starts making out the schedule and I let her know that he doesn’t need World History because he will be taking it online. She offers to place him in U.S. History but I declined and said he can do another elective. I asked about Spanish. Get this: ALL of the first-year foreign language classes are closed! WTF? And they don’t even offer first-year French. She suggested that he take German. I looked at him and asked: ‘How many people do you know that speak German? It’s pretty much useless.” (Sorry if I offended any German speakers but it’s not very marketable, especially not here in Georgia.) I was just sitting there trying to wrap my mind around the fact that this big-ass school will not offer any first-year foreign language classes….I muttered something about something being backwards and she perked-up then! I was ready to move on but then chick said, ‘Well, he will have plenty of time to fulfill his foreign language requirements because we only require 2 units.’ There she goes with another assumption. Just because he is attending high school in the state of Georgia does not mean he will attend college here. I know that lowering standards and expectations is the standard, but we do things differently in our household. The admissions requirements to the state’s (public) colleges and universities is not on par with those of schools, both public and private, in other states but we will ensure that we meet those requirements. I took 4 years of Spanish in high school and then took a placement test for college. I thought that was the norm, but I digress.

We finished up at the high school, but we had already missed Open House for grades K-2 at the elementary school (my 1st grader was non too pleased about that-see below), but we did manage to meet the 4th grade teacher. Our interaction lasted all of 7 minutes and then we were on our way out. As always, my mind was turning and I just started making a list in my head of why I really do HATE ineptitude and obvious lack of common sense/proper planning. (NOTE: This blog was just supposed to be a list but you all know how I do so stop complaining!) So here goes the list of ‘Things in Education that don’t  make no damn sense.’

  1. Who schedules registrations and open houses, across grade levels, at the same time on the same day? Apparently a ‘world-class’ district. My kid was disappointed because she didn’t get to meet her teacher.
  2. Who schedules these events during times that many parents have to work? See #1
  3. If you cannot offer foreign language, or any class due to student population, shouldn’t that tell you the school is too damn big?
  4. When you cannot offer said classes because the school is too damn big, shouldn’t you make plans for an additional high school instead of adding on to the add-ons?
  5. If parents take the time to visit the school, you should not have staff stationed at the end of hallways like the Gestapo, blocking off areas.
  6. Dear Principal: We DO NOT want to hear your screeching over the PA system every time we walk into the building. My ears are still bleeding!
  7. I need to start carrying around a pocket-sized copy of my degree, so when folks act as though they are talking to the village idiot, I can politely slide it across the table. No words necessary.
  8. 180 days of unknown….I’ll drink to that!


One response to “Why public education is messed-up, or My observations from today’s orientation & open house fiascos

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  1. I totally agree with your post! Our elementary school posted student classroom assignments the exact same day of meet and greet. All during the day when MOST parents work. I am lucky and work from home, but MOST parents have a job outside the home. They make it out like all us women are just sitting around baking cookies waiting for our kids to come home and spend 3-4 hours on worthless homework!

    I like the language comment. Like you care about the basic requirement to graduate. You care about your child actually LEARNING spanish!! What a concept LEARNING not just passing and getting by. My 10 year old is starting Spanish with me this fall as a 5th grader. He should be able to speak fluent spanish in a few years not just pass some lame test.

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