08 February 2012

Closing the Deal on Public Ed.

Is it wrong to push your product to try to make a sale?  What if it's your local school district, pushing public education?

I don't think realtors or car salespeople are all crooked.  Most of them would really like for you to be happy with your purchase, want do their job well, and go home with some cash at the end of the week.  Reasonably satisfied customers might mean referrals down the road.

But their primary goal on the job is probably not your happiness.  It's the commission, which may or may not be tied to your happiness...

"What's it going to take for a sale?" is sometimes a fair question. 

"I want an acre of land in Town X with a three-bedroom or larger house for under $450,000," might be the reply.  The realtor is going to scramble and find a listing or three that meets your needs or *bing* realize that right now, a sale isn't possible.  Nothing wrong with that.  Find out what the customer wants and then try to sell it.

Custer School District of South Dakota recently asked what it would take to bring homeschoolers back to classes.  They sent a survey to homeschooling families asking what sorts of concerns or problems they've had with the school district in the past.  And what kind of struggles do you have with homeschooling... is there a particular subject that gives you trouble?

I think it's awesome, simply awesome, that the district is treating homeschoolers like CUSTOMERS instead of a CAPTIVE MARKET.  I find that really exciting.  HSLDA apparently doesn't.  I don't know if it's because they have had bad dealings with Custer before or if it's on ideological grounds ("families should homeschool"). 

I would ignore the "difficulty" type questions because if everyone answered something along the lines of, "I have tuf time follwing homescool law an teechng my kid 2 read," that might get school officials a little too "concerned."

But I would tell them why I homeschool.  And I would tell them I'd like an Algebra I class for my 10-year-old.  Presently?  I've been told that if I want to enroll Emperor in public school here, he would be a FOURTH GRADER.  The kid is seriously doing high-school level algebra work.  They would just pop him in the "fourth grade" box because of his age.  Seriously.  The school coulda had a math "sale" there but has chosen not to cater to the customer.  I'm simply not in the market for fourth grade mathematics.

16 comments:

  1. At least some people in our school district know that I started homeschooling because I didn't agree with my oldest child's IEP... and even the few accommodations that were put into her IEP could not be followed by teachers who couldn't be bothered to read it and implement the strategies in her classroom.

    But, truthfully, unless my husband dies or becomes disabled, I am not in the market for public education. I like the lifestyle. I like that my kids are able to stay awake a few hours after their dad gets home from work and interact with him. I don't have to put them in bed early because the school bus is here at 7:10 and I would have to get them out of bed by 6AM. I like that my son is upstairs starting his morning on the piano. I like that they are learning the same thing and incorporate their school day into their play. Just last week, they were playing Army. The war? Haiti versus France. David was Dessalines. I love that we can finish all our work in about 4-hours and the rest of their day is spent in creative play...

    How can the public school compete with that without fundamentally changing how they understand education?

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  2. I don't think they can... and the fact that they know why you left and won't be back, but were unwilling to make changes is telling.

    PS. David is the cutest. I still see so much of that chubby baby you brought home in the big boy he is now. :)

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  3. Now that my kids are close to graduating, nothing would make me return, but the short list would be:

    1. You know my son is gifted... stop holding him back.
    2. I'm not giving my daughter ritalin, so get over it.
    3. Make the kid behind my son stop smacking him in the head.
    4. Don't lose my kid on the school bus again.
    5. Stop saying stupid things to me based on racial assumptions. My kids' father lives with us.

    OMG... I could write a whole blog on this, maybe I will.

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  4. My son is 2e, twice exceptional--gifted and learning disabled. How much will you pay me to keep him home? As Andrea says, there will be no ritalin involved.

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  5. It's a shame they didn't at least offer to test his math skills.

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  6. So true: We are customers! I picked that up because my dad talks often about how realization of that reality when he first started interacting with the school district.

    ~Luke

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  7. Hi, Deb! :)

    Ahermitt, looking forward to reading your post. Sometimes people are just plain stupid and some of the things you have related in the past have astounded me.

    Brains, they'd prolly rake in lotsa money for labelling him disabled. Which I think they should save that money for larger disabilities and learn to deal with smaller ones but ok.

    River, they DID test his math skills and found him to be at a 12th grade level. Then they offered fourth grade classes. Classic.

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  8. Hi, Luke! You must have typed while I was tying that last comment. The only thing is, the products are very limited. Hopefully that is changing. :)

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  9. Mmm-hmm...lots of money for labeling him disabled. Too bad they didn't try to teach him...he's kinda dyslexic. Seems those kids have to teach themselves. I couldn't afford to send him to a special school started by a mom who had been a special ed teacher in the public schools. She said nothing prepared her to be on the other side of an iep meeting, and she just cried like tha parents she used to think were goofy.

    Boy, Mrs. C, you are on a roll! This is a very thoughtful post.

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  10. There is no preparation for this. We parents are doing the best we can. The professionals? Allegedly have the right training and therefore no excuse. Why I am very forgiving of parents who use abusive disciplinary methods with disabled children; many of them are driven to the edge, don't know any better, and don't have any support. I don't excuse it, but I *understand* that a lot more than a teacher who is just there 8 hours a day and can leave the mess behind at the end of her shift. Hold it together or get a new job, chickie, yk?? :)

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  11. I'm going off topic because I just wanted to tell you that your comment about Lagerfeld was priceless

    Adele is a sweet Irish lass with an amazing voice
    check her out on Youtube or watch the Grammys on Sunday

    hugs to the family

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  12. Thank you, Dianne! Hugs to yours also!

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  13. Maybe things have changed from 30 years ago when I got my degree...but most of the learning you get is on the job. They do some behavioral things that are new, and give one a chance to look at the reasons for behavior, but teachers are people, too. They learn, and they do better when they know better. But some of them are just bad, just evil. What I don't understand is when things go on at school, teachers should be as liable as an abusive parent. They should lose their jobs immediately. If you don't have the patience, get out of a job that demands it. But it is often covered up by the administrators so the school doesn't look bad, and bad teachers keep their jobs.

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  14. Well, I homeschool for so many reasons now than I did before. You remember how much I swayed back and forth on the homeschooling. I still wanted them to go to a school but I just couldn't find one. I didn't feel good enough in so many areas or even disciplined enough. Once I got sick and tired of the same issues with schools, I had enough. Especially when they reported me to CPS just because Chaz had a bruise on his arm and they couldn't get a hold of me to ask me why. I was out of town and they figured I was just in hiding. I got sick of my kids get choked, punched, and verbally abused. I also homeschool for selfish reasons and that's because I hate saying goodbye every day.

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  15. Sorry about all the typos. It took me seven hours to homeschool today and another two hours for chores. I am plumb tuckered out....

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)