Going a little off the cuff here.
One of the popular memes in the ‘sphere is how public schools suck and are bad for children and a drain on taxpayer resources. The attitude of the Captain (in this post) and many others is that teachers are nothing more than babysitters, who push feminist propaganda, kill the spirit of boys and are lazy kill joys who don’t prepare children for life beyond high school. I call bullshit on at least some of that, at least in my limited experience. Teachers have a rough gig, to take kids from various socio-economic means (which alone varies by district) and take them all along a train to get to an end point where they can all be properly edu-ma-cated as proven by the test score du jour. Often times they have to cater to the lowest common denominator and I’m thinking some percentage of children are bored and not reaching as high as they could be. This is the reason that parents home school or send their kids to private school, to give them the opportunity to not be held back by little Johnny who’s mom is a crackhead and dad an alcoholic and doesn’t have a good home life. But not all public schools are like that.
We moved a while back from a school with a decent public school system to one with an excellent public school system. It was really foreign at first the level of interest parents took in the PTA and at school events. The basics of the curriculum were similar, but what is becoming apparent is that there are mechanisms in place in our new district to put the kids on the higher end of the curve on a path to challenge them further.
I’ll brag a little here and say both Loudboy and Birdsnest are very bright. They’re still kids and have some developmental social things to get through yet (especially my shy, sensitive guy who needs to gain some confidence), but intellectually they are very smart. Loudboy, at five years old, can do three digit addition in his head (and faster than his sister sometimes) which amazed us the first time he did it. We recently had a meeting with Birdsnest’s teachers about some special testing she did earlier in the month. Basically, with limited extra-curricular parental work by us, she’s a very advanced reader compared to her peers, though not quite in the “gifted” category (at least as the numbers say). Her teacher did say that her writing (journal writing, assignments, etc.) are as good as she’s ever seen in all her years of teaching, which was a “WOW” from Holly and I. That means she gets additional attention by the “special” teachers, slightly modified curriculum and is in small groups with similar peers to keep her challenged, interested and motivated. They haven’t yet tested her math in this manner, but I’m guessing they will. I guess they typically see the delineation more in the next couple years, as they acquire more basic educational foundations, but by third or fourth grade is when they usually start to separate.
When I was in elementary school, I got put into my own advanced classes by 4th or 5th grade with a handful of other kids. I know one of the other kids in these “special” activity class grew up to be the main speechwriter for one of our state’s Governors. I’m doing pretty ok for myself in a STEM field. I appreciated the fact that one or two teachers pulled me aside and gave me some opportunities when younger to stay challenged, and know it put me ahead of the curve in school.
I guess I just wanted to share a counterpoint to the “public schools suck and are a waste” meme that seems so prevalent out there especially in this corner of the interwebs. All the teachers our kids have had coming through the ranks thus far have been very caring, laid the foundation of education and were able to provide appropriate opportunity for challenge and learning. I’m sure an inner city kid is not given the same opportunity, but we can’t paint with such a broad brush (that all public schools are the suxor) since there are some really good public schools out there and I would guess the vast majority of teachers (no matter what the school) care and are good at their craft in their own right. While I do think schools and teachers do have issues in general as they relate to feminist overtones and dampening the high spirit inherent in boys, there’s not much I can do about that except to counteract that through my masculine teachings at home and father-son and father-daughter bonding that we do on our own. Think of it as Red Pill pre-K teachings.