25.4.10

It's Just the Same Old Song

When my parents decided to send me to a private school, they were told multiple times by some of their acquaintances that they were doing a horrible thing. The local public schools, they were told, needed me as a student, and needed my parents as involved parents. The local schools would benefit so much from our presence! How could my parents choose to spend so much money on their own child, and not try to enhance the community school?

Nowhere in their reasons, of course, was mention made of how going to the local public school would benefit me. I was a typically nerdy child, if one can say there is a typically nerdy five year old. I asked my preschool teacher (we didn't call it "pre-kindergarten" or "pre-K" back then) for homework. I read early. I memorized the states & capitals at age four because I wanted to do so. I also memorized "The Star-Spangled Banner." I could tell time on an analog clock. I had a whole host of strange behaviors and even the most dedicated defendant of the public schools never tried to suggest I should attend them because of what the local school could offer me.

So, you see, it's no surprise to me to read an article detailing why gifted children shouldn't be homeschooled. The article is a list of how the public schools lose out when gifted children are homeschooled. That's it. The community loses. The school loses. There's no argument that the child loses by being homeschooled, though, and I suspect that's because the author is intellectually honest enough not to argue that!

So I wish I could say that this article is surprising to me, but it's not. I wish I could say that the sentiments that attacked my parents were less common or less voiced, but they are not. For whatever reason, in a country that subscribes to an ideal of individualism, when it comes to gifted children and their education, we're suddenly supposed to idealize Spock, and let the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one.

4 comments:

Smrt Mama said...

The whole "needs of the many" argument aside, what this author is saying isn't even remotely accurate. I was the room more for both years Captain Science was in public school. I was up at the school all the time. I had regular email contact w/ the gifted teacher and standard class room teacher (and, eventually, the principal). It didn't make life any better for Captain Science.

Anonymous said...

That article is funny.

The only thing the gifted program is used for in my county is to extract more money. Each time the public schools don't get as much money as they want, they threaten to cut gifted programs. The involved parents get upset and overwhelm the county commissioners (who set the budget). Once the schools get the money, they reallocate it to something other than gifted students.

It's not just students who are pawns in the game. Parents get a chance too.

Riceball Mommy said...

I agree with Smrt Mama, the article ignores that many of those parents have already tried to work with the school, and the school still failed them. People don't give up on the public school norm so easily as that author seemed to think. Deciding to homeschool is usually a big decision that is not taken lightly by parents. I also agree that the focus need to be more on the benefits of the individual kids rather than the "needs of the many."

jonnia said...

I made the mistake of reading that article late last night, then I couldn't go to sleep for grumbling in my head at the ridiculousness if it.

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