If you have found yourself outraged, frustrated and feeling a little paranoid about guiding how your child is educated in public school, don’t be surprised because you are not alone. In fact, the only parents that don’t have this sensation are the ones who send their kids blindly off to public school with little concern about what is being taught there and accept the curriculum without question because it’s “what they are teaching at school.”
Perhaps at one time such blind acceptance of authority was considered noble. But this generation are not the kinds to simply accept that just because the school administration is a public institution, then they will always make the right decisions about how to educate our children. In fact, the very fact that public schools are government functions makes you suspicious that more likely than not they are making the wrong decisions and some amount of parental oversight is called for.
The problem comes with the amount of leverage that parents actually have over public schools. And that amount of leverage is somewhere very close to zero. School administrators have parents in a spot and they know it. The public school system is set up in such a way that other than for the purposes of public opinion, schools don’t have to answer to parents at all.
Now just think about what that means. You take your precious children every day and turn them over to other adults for six to eight hours of day during which those adults are given the job of putting knowledge in your child’s head. But there is no accountability for what they teach and if you determine that the school is abusing the privilege of caring for your child, except if it’s a criminal situation, you have no power to stop or change it.
There is no other situation in society quite like this one. And especially in this era of child abuse and our concern about the influence of others over our children, we continue to think nothing of the carte blanche power public schools have over the minds of our kids. So what can we do?
Well the ultimate vote is our presence in the system. We don’t have to submit to arrogance or tyranny if that is what we see happening in our public schools. The public schools are funded by the number of students in the school. So if you simply reduce that number by one or the number of children you have and take them to private school, not only do you capture a lot of control back, you send a clear message to public schools that they are not completely outside the parental control and judgment.
Now we can only vote one family at a time. But if your public school system is abusing their privileges and not regarding your desires as parents, public outcry can raise the alarm and send a message to other parents that maybe its time for a mass exodus to private school. The threat of this kind of parent revolt is exactly what public school administrators don’t want to see happen.
They would love it if we would all be good public school parents and just send cookies and never meddle in what they are doing with our children’s minds. But they are accountable to you and the leverage of your participation is powerful and will cause them to pay attention. It might take some media coverage, some citizens meetings in your living room and some organization but the system will respond if you care enough to make them listen. And even if they don’t private schools are paid to listen so that might be a perfectly acceptable alternative as well.