Our School Gets an F.

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Home School vs. Public School?

As the daughter of a 5th grade teacher I have always had the utmost respect for our public school teachers. I know the dedication, sacrifice, and utter devotion good teachers have for their jobs and “their” kids. I was lucky enough to graduate from a small, engaged school system in a white-collar neighborhood. With only 59 kids in my class, being college-bound was the rule, not the exception. I had all the academic and extra-curricular opportunities  available from elementary school through high school. 
 I was very lucky.

Times have changed. I never would have thought I would have ever considered home schooling my children. Not because I think it’s less of an education, or because I have misconceptions about what is involved in home schooling. But, simply, because I am a product of a public education. I know the value (and the pitfalls) of the public classroom and the social and emotional growth it offers. It’s familiar. And, I have misgivings about my abililites to be The Teacher.

I see a lot of Moms making the choice to home school for a variety of reasons. The Home Schooling community has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades. There are about 2 million school-age students being home schooled in the U.S. today according to the National Home Education Resource Institute (nheri.org). It’s obviously working.

So, why am I considering home schooling?

First, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT had a significant impact on me. The senseless murder of those innocent children (and school staff) haunts me. Why Sandy Hook? Why not my daughter’s school? Who is next? I cannot fathom it.

Second, the Governor of the State of Maine recently released a statewide grading system that gave every public school a letter grade. The state average was a C. My daughters’ school received an F. This new grading system has brought a lot of attention to public education in Maine. I know there are a multitude of reasons for such poor marks including the socio-economic status of different areas, parental involvement, teacher certification, and other concerns. What I don’t know is how are we going to fix it? And when? Are my children going to see the benefits? My girls are mortified that their school got an F. They know that would not be accceptable if it was their own grade. 

Third, the city we live in has just requested a State of Emergency as we have unbelievably suffered 5 suspicious fires in less than a week. The disturbing part is that at this point, two of the fires have been deemed arson. Two suspects have been detained for the two separate incidents. Both of them are twelve year old boys. These boys are the same kids my girls go to school with. The same kids that are impacting the education level of their school…yep, the one that got the F. I think there are much bigger issues at play here. Whether or not they are finishing or understanding their homework seems ludicrous when they are burning down apartment buildings. How do I demand a quality education from a school that is getting handed kids like these two boys? 

I have to be the best advocate for my children. As a parent, it’s my responsibility (and hope) for my kids to have a quality education that they can depend on and be proud of. Our elementary school is hosting a parent meeting next week to address concerns and explain the details of the new grading system. My hope is I will at least have more information to help me make the right choice for my kids. They don’t deserve an F.

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15 Responses

  1. My daughter starts kindergarten in the fall and I recently went through a similar "crisis" of what to do about it. Luckily, we got into a really great charter school and my fears are calmed a little. Home schooling was more of an option for the school we are districted for, so I understand where you're coming from!!

    Christa @ http://www.mompaperscissors.com

  2. This is a really good post Jessica! It is sad that our school systems are the way that they are now education-wise and security-wise. I have the same concerns as you do when it comes to the safety of our children and the level of education they are receiving in public schools today. I was so glad when I graduated high school in May of 1998. The school massacres started happening just before I

  3. We live in a very small village with a very small school district. My step-daughter only has 44 children in her whole grade. Do I think tragic events could happen here, definitely. They can happen anywhere. I just don't think I could handle homeschooling my children. I already teach them Sunday School and it drives me nuts. I know lots of people that home school and love it. You have

  4. WOW that is really scary! Good teachers seem to be hit or miss. Its a really hard decision! My kids attend a french catholic school and I'm happy with the results! All the best with home schooling

  5. Momma Lew says:

    It's very sad that our schools are in such a sorry state. Aren't our little ones worth nothing but the best?

  6. Athena Nagel says:

    What a great post. Connecticut schools are revamping everything too. I wonder how Maine got to their letter grading system? What formula did they use? Seems impossible to put everything that is done in a school district into one solid letter grade…

  7. I hope that all the people being moved to home school will give U.S. public schools a much needed wake-up call. The system isn't working, and it needs to be changed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic! I can't believe your school got an F!!!

  8. couponwahm says:

    Great post! My kids are in private schools however I am considering homeschooling them eventually.

  9. Victoria says:

    I am one who will not be sending my kids to public schools. I plan to enroll them in a private school because in our area too many things be going on in public schools.

  10. Staci Luker says:

    I am also an education major and have taught in public schools. I used to think Homeschooling would never be something I would consider. However, this coming up year will be my first year homeschooling and I think it is the best decision for our family.

  11. Autumn Banks says:

    I completely understand all your concerns. Kids are getting worse these days and I can't understand why the parents are letting their children get that far down the wrong road at such young ages. My daughters are in public schools and one is in the same grade all those little angels were at Sandy hook. It haunts me every night as well. Our state don't have a grading system but on that

  12. I hate when they try to standardize a level for things. Our school is rated low as well, but it is a fantastic school – we get the lower score because most of our students are bussed in from lower income families and apparently that makes it a lesser school. I don't understand. Good teachers make good schools – not other things.

  13. Aim Cutler says:

    I cannot believe your school got an F! That is crazy. My parents are/have been teachers, and i have many extended family that are/have been teachers and/or work in the school system. I too have considered home school, for the simple fact that I fear for my kids! What they're gonna pick up at school, or what's gonna happen at school! Instead of homeschooling though, I volunteer like a

    • Volunteering like a mad woman is a smart idea…it at least gives me the piece of mind knowing whats going on a daily basis. I hear you about being scared for sure. 😛 What a future your daughter will have being on a 4th grade level in Kindergarten! Woo-hoo!

  14. The school disrrict needs to update to common core standards. Call their houghton mifflin harcourt rep asap

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