We consistently hear about the woeful state of the US educational system. Inattentive parents, overworked teachers, and crowded schools constantly put the United States in the bottom of test scores. However, as a parent and a former college flunky I have to ask, what is the point of all of this?
I failed miserably in college. But my failures in college were not the work of any of the aforementioned complaints. I went to a decent school, was raised in a loving home, and was a consistent B student. At Northern Illinois, I slacked off and slept through $15,000 worth of tuition. This isn’t rare, since over half of the freshman who start college never get “The Piece of Paper”®.
I decided to write this little diatribe after an impromptu conference with Nathan’s teacher. Nathan is reading, counting to fifty, and is knows an astounding amount of facts and figures that as I parent I am proud to have. Except, according to the latest academic standards, he should have known that in utero. We’re now finding out that my wonderful child is behind, and now in trouble of revisiting kindergarten. I’ve already had experience in holding a kid back, and have no problems doing it when it makes sense. Tonight, I’m still grasping for sense out of this matter. Apparently, as a parent, I’m supposed to push Nathan every waking moment to read, add, subtract, divide, conquer Poland, etc. But I have to ask where the fun is supposed to be squeezed in. The last thing I want to do is to turn a motivated Kindergardener into a unmotivated first grader.
Public Schools do a great job of churning out kids. Unfortunately, they do a poor job of customizing curriculum for each child’s talents and needs. Over the past several years I have been a strong proponent for privatizing the education system and moving into a voucher-based economy. Our own brief experience with Emily and Hannah in a private school only seems to validate these beliefs.
In the end, we want a talented and motivated workforce to drive the American Economy. But, as a parent, a flunky, and MBA; why are we driving our kids into overachievement?