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26 January 2011

A public school experiment

by Vox Day @ 1/24/2011 01:00:00

SarahsDaughter writes of giving public school a fair shake:
We just returned to homeschooling after a 2 1/2 yr trial with public school. There are several incidences to site for our decision, here are a few:

-7th grade, my son was playing Halo online and was friend requested by one of his male teachers and was chatting live with him for a couple of minutes before we were made aware of it. We met said teacher in the principal's office. He was confused why it was a concern and, his words: "it's the same as if I'd met up with him at the bowling alley," my husband almost physically beat that wheelchair bound man. The teacher went away for three days and my son was moved to a different class.

-7th grade Geography teacher's lesson for the day, "The Space Shuttle is blasting holes in our ozone layer," and "the world will end in 2012" (great thing to have pubescent teens be made aware of.) We met her in the principal's office and requested that she stick to the book.

-8th grade Pre-Algebra progress report reflects a "D" for my otherwise straight "A" son. Turns out the lazy teacher failed to enter in the remaining 2 of 6 graded assignments into the computer. His actual grade was a 100% "A". One would think math of all subjects should have more than 6 assignments in 4 weeks.

-8th grade Reading, our son has a solid "A" leading up to the final assignment that is worth 1/3 of the grade. After 2 weeks of knowing about it he spends 10 minutes working on it the night before it was due. He received a well deserved 41%. The next day he brought in 3 canned food items for their food drive and was awarded 5 points per can toward his grade. Then he gave the teacher $10 for an extra 20 points. Received an "A" for the final grade.

-Last straw, I wrote the following on a piece of paper and asked him to read it: .62, he replied "point six two," I asked how it is actually "read" and he couldn't answer sixty-two one hundredths. Then I asked him to convert it to a simplified fraction. I was apparently speaking a different language. Back to homeschooling we went.
I don't have an intrinsic problem with a teacher playing online games with his students; I've probably played with thousands of kids online although I have no way of knowing how young or old my various opponents and teammates happen to be beyond simply observing their reflexes and speech patterns. The initiation of the friend request by the teacher, on the other hand, is a little creepy. If the kid knows Mr. X is a hardcore gamer, he very well might want to play with him, but in that case, the request has to come from the kid, not the teacher.

Of course, one could argue that the Reading teacher has taught her son a valuable life lesson. Probably not as important as being able to read, but certainly not without value. Everybody's got their price.

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