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"Right" to Public Education?

Reasonably speaking, if I'm paying for my child to go to school, my child has a right to go to school. But sometimes I look at incidents like the 600-child riot in an L.A. school and think we're spending our money in the wrong place. Recently, in Patrick's junior high, over 200 students sat in the cafeteria and protested the firing of Mrs. W, the Spanish substitute teacher.

Mrs. W had been teaching Patrick's Spanish I class since his regular teacher was on maternity leave. Often Patrick would come home and tell me what a zoo that classroom was, and that no learning was taking place. It was so disorganized that the teacher and children could not coordinate a class party for Cinco de Mayo. (When children can't get things together enough for a party, that's really saying something!) But because Patrick is an A student and knows the material, I said nothing.

The school, after about a month and a half of craziness, figured things out and fired her. Mrs. W has a son in Patrick's class and everyone learned what had happened. A Spanish-speaking woman was pulled from the cafeteria to teach the rest of the week (ok, I thought it was necessary to be certified and all, but I guess not). The students all gave texts to each other and went on Facebook to coordinate this sit-in. Naturally, since Patrick doesn't have a texting machine or a Facebook, he wasn't involved.

The administrators simply asked the children to go back to class, and they did. I suppose if we lived in a "bad" district in L.A., things would be much worse. The powers that be may not wish to fire any teacher during the year at all for fear of student violence.

Noticeably, nothing about the protest made any local paper, or even the school website. Therefore, it did not happen and I, Mrs. C, must be making it up. Fanciful, aren't I?

On Dennis's blog (, he's outlining his personal public education credo. I think we all ought to get around to doing that sometime and examine our own opinions closely. Dennis is a public education teacher who believes that while education should not be considered a "right," we all ought to pony up the dough so every child can have the "opportunity" to go to school.

I don't know how I feel about that. On the one hand, judging public education by the riots in a few bad districts isn't fair. But you can't entirely discount it, either. Judging the entire public education system as being "bad" because a few pedophiles work there and have sex with the students probably isn't fair, either. I will boldly state, however, that when I'm forced to pay for curriculum that is decidedly anti-Christian that we've gone too far.

I support reasoned thinking, and I'm hardly advocating a theocracy in public schools. But how about a little respect? If 40% of your populace claims to be Christian, why do 100% of your schools have to teach sex ed and secular humanism (gay tolerance and the like) when the district has twelve elementary schools? Why do all twelve have to have the same curriculum and even the same racial and economic makeup? They'll move kids around without regard to personal feelings until they get it, too. Then their public relations team will talk about our pride in "neighbourhood schools." Yup.

Did you know that the "equality of the sexes" is actually a part of the Missouri state curriculum standards?? That they teach this to children as young as kindergarten? If that isn't indoctrination, I don't know what is.

The idea that poor children will miss out on education if we quit funding public schools is, to my mind, a red herring. I feel the central point is the fact that I'm being taxed without any input as to the content of the curriculum. Yes, I *could* be on the curriculum committee that selects textbooks, but they all have to meet these magical Missouri standards. So we could teach about gay pride with a rainbow OR a pink triangle and I'd get that amazing "power" to decide. Yayyyy.

What kind of representation is that? That's crap, is what that is. And you'll find me voting against every bond issue, every time until it changes.


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