This is a post aimed at all parents, teachers, and schools. My educational background is far from pretty. So here’s the kicker when it comes to schools: I will not be sending my future children to public or private schools. You guys might think I’m crazy, but there is a better alternative if done right to public schools who don’t use positive behavioral supports, something Titusville High School failed miserably at when I went there. There is another alternative to a private school price tag that leaves the parent in the dark as to the education of the child. The biggest issue I have with parochial schools is the gross inaccuracy of sexual maturation issues. The “morality” classes are mind numbing. The whole idea of religious education is pointless. Religion does not need a school to share its message with a child or children at all. Catholic education has been hailed as one of the best alternatives to schools in the public sector, but I beg to differ because there are varying sizes of the schools, but most of these schools discriminate against children with disabilities, children of color such as those of African American heritage, and those with seemingly annoying behavior habits like those actually experiencing symptoms of Autism. Private and public schools have both become a broken “behemoth” as some may put it when it comes to raising children. It is obvious that my experiences play a big role in my education decision. So why not public schools, then, you may ask. Let me begin then.
In my preschool years, my mother was unable to find a school that would integrate me as a blind child. Even earlier in life, my mother could not enroll me in daycare. Oftentimes, children are placed in daycare early because of the two parent work schedules. Many parents of color I knew even ran daycares out of home or put their kids in daycare. The biggest issue I have with daycare is the assembly line nature of the beast. Kids are placed in a reasonable row and fed one at a time. Many Christian commentators have scoffed at this idea that large numbers of babies and toddlers could go on without the parent around. But studies have shown over and over that children raised responsibly by their parents in the best and most nurturing environment always thrive more so than the chaotic daycare environments often hailed as the best. IF I had it my way, I’d want to stay at home until my child turns 4. But then, what? Preschool could be a problem. In recent years, it is found that 6% of preschool students are suspended from school. Imagine that, four-year-olds told to stay home from school! Not only does this have a negative consequence for a child, especially children of color and those with special needs, but it has grave impact on the parent who must work to obtain funds to buy basic things like food and cleaning supplies, the house mortgage, and hot and cold running water! It comes as no surprise that any kid in Detroit may have more than his share of problems. If he is black, a child in the Detroit area can expect parental dysfunction at all stages of his young life, accompanied by school suspension putting his mother in an anxious fit because she has to go to work to get paid, and for her, staying home is taboo for fear the boss could write her a pink slip. There are alternatives to suspension, but are they really being used? Inner city schools also have lost music education, which can play a big role in a child’s behavior and focus on other subjects. Thankfully, I never had the problems of today’s kids, but today’s kids have more to worry about. If I talk to a four year old kid today, he might not recognize songs like Hot Cross Buns, the great American anthems like Battle Hymn of the Republic, any number of basic Christmas carols, or even the ethnic favorites such as those found in Eastern Europe, songs like Rat Tat Tat. Then you have more. Kids won’t recognize the basic songs that we sang yesteryear. It is even worse that they can’t recite the pledge of allegiance. While the Pledge is now devoid of any godly references, being that Atheists can sue for “under God”, children are not taught about God at all in school. Even talking about the good things of Jesus can render a teacher pale, and the child will get a detention. You parents’ eyebrows may be going up by now, but this is real.
Public schools also have lots of issues with children who have special needs and children of color. Take your white children, for instance. How likely is your super beautiful blonde daughter or your strapping young brown haired son to be mistreated by bullies? If the boy or girl has appropriate gender specific likes and interests, that helps right? Well, suppose your strapping young son is caught calling another young man a “faggot.” What punishment does he get? A simple suspension may occur but I don’t think that’s enough to stop the behavior. If that were my son, I wouldn’t let him go back to school until he learned a few things about children who are gay or lesbian. The boy would be required to write an essay about children who are beginning that journey and then apologize to the boy he was hurting. But schools don’t care about this. If my truly mysterious cameras showed up at schools today, a young black boy may also receive a harsher sentence. All because he is black. Trenton and I will not put up with civil misguidance in schools like this, including black to white preference or special treatment for white students.
What about your blonde daughter? Yes, you prize her for her cheerleading abilities. You just love it when she does her makeup for selfies on sites like Yikyak, Qik, and Twitter. But is it right when your daughter tells another girl, one who is black or has autism, that she is a slut? If your blonde haired beauty says that the girl next to her is a slut, [plans to kill her or get her to commit suicide, then what should you as parent be thinking? Don’t think that you can pull a Sarah Ashley Grills teaming with the lady who inspired Megan Myer to kill herself over a MySpace guy. IF your daughter calls girls slut, acts manipulative, and excludes persons with disabilities and repeatedly disregards other people, she should be expelled from school, right? Well, if that was my daughter, I’d have to take her to counseling, and if that isn’t the worst thing, I’d get her screened and treated for narcissism. The narcissism in children is stunningly large enough for me to wonder if it is truly safe to send a child of color or mixed background to a school like this.
Bullying as I’ve mentioned is a huge problem. When I was in fourth grade, Jerelle Brothers, a black child in Imperial Estates Elementary School and one of my grade classmates, would torment and deceive and just plain destroy the stuff I’d wanted to do. Jerelle was frequently disciplined by our teacher again and again, and not shockingly, Mr. Brothers is serving time and or may be on parole on rape charges. Brothers may be facing even more difficult challenges due to not only the disconnect that the schools he attended provided or didn’t, but because of his race, Brothers is likely to face discrimination even by parole officers. How to stop this? Simple. Do not let your colored child in a school that teaches that it’s okay to discriminate. And keep the guys like Brothers off your child’s friend list. I am not sure where Brothers is, but the last bits of information I heard had to do with Mr. Brothers’ convictions on rape and theft, petty crime. It doesn’t shock me that guys like him, and later some of Titusville’s colored football stars, have faced petty convictions on crimes like larseny, grand theft auto, and rape. I must say that the worst sentence was handed down to Muhammad DeReese, a star quarterback in Titusville who is currently working to improve his life through wrestling. Great but what about the image that puts on? DeReese was a QB for my high school’s football team while I attended, and two years after I graduated, he graduated. DeReese failed drug tests, however, and it does not surprise me that sports culture in a public school is to blame. DeReese thank God is doing better, but there are many times you see guys like kicker Pete Oliver told they can’t walk the graduation stage. Oliver was told not to walk and for no good reason. Him being black only made the THS faculty raise the eyebrows of Jim Crow on him. A buddy of mine, Joshua Mack, a grade classmate in AP Literature in the tenth grade, suffered some pretty stupid stuff. Mack, a software engineer who currently holds a job and lives on his own in Florida, is a frequent critic of racism, no kidding! In his high school career, he was given unreasonably harsh punishment for innocent acts that could be seen as bad. This guy really didn’t need it, and it is stories like Joshua’s that prove that the public school climate may never change unless we show them. Black students are not the only ones facing discrimination in schools, as a report suggests.
A young girl in Florida who had autism or similar disabilities was slapped in the face once by a teacher. Does this statement bother you? If it doesn’t, you have to be pretty sick. As a person with a disability, I was struck dumb by how violent some teachers can be toward someone who has autistic behavior symptoms. There was a young boy whose grandmother pulled him from school due to him having been paddled by someone. Videotapes again and again will show your child lying face down while someone could be cuffing or paddling him or her. Sometimes the autistic child is purposefully overwhelmed with bad sounds, all this to hurt and traumatize this child. Disabled children face such disproportionately high rates of school discipline and suspension that it would not shock me if the majority of you reading this decide not to send your child to public school.
Another huge kicker about public schools is the outdated text materials the schools are often stuck with. While history and news is always changing, your child’s textbooks could still be dated 1995, 1985, or … gasp … 1975! Could this be true? Well, history should be learned, but not from outdated copyright texts. Since the most recent books in school were distributed and published, your child is likely to miss important events in history such as 9/11, the Iraq War, and the Arab Spring. All of these historic events I’ve been privy to. The Arab Spring was a shock because Qaddafi was always the ruler of Libya, but to see the shift in power was pretty amazing. But will my child get to read about it? Likely not in public sector schools due to lack of funds for better textbooks with more recent copyright dates. Is it worth teaching history with a textbook then? Maybe it should be done with more interactive history modules instead.
While federal funding is low in schools, your teen could be given grossly inaccurate information in the private sector. How many of you guys can afford a Catholic education for your child? My parents did, and they paid heavily for it. Catholics receive discounts for being Catholics as far as tuition payments go. But Catholics in school do not see a lot of disconnect in this system.
First, the Diocese, which is like a Protestant district, but that’s the Catholic word for it, controls all the aspects of the life in that diocese. For instance, in the Diocese of Orlando, the bishop assigned will control what happens in all of its schools, which include St. Teresa School in Titusville, Divine Mercy Catholic, and more importantly for the teens, Melbourne Central Catholic. All of these schools are not regulated by government agencies, just a bishop who does not likely know what it is like to be a teacher or student at said school. Bishop Norbert Dorsey, for example, was bishop at the Orlando diocese while I attended St. Teresa’s School. He had control of all the aspects of education and curriculum at St. Teresa’s School, which also included our Christmas pageant. The school could not have a really stellar pageant one year, all because the Bishop had something to say about the Millennium and such, Jubilee year etc. What ridiculous reasons to tone down the school’s pageant, telling us what musical instruments to use and what songs to sing. The Bishop also has control of other things, but the principal at the school answers to him. Sister Vera Whalen, retired principal of the school, could not just do things because she wanted to. all activities Sister Vera wanted to do had to have final seal of approval of the Diocese if it had to do with something educational. While Sister Vera did have some level of authority about NUT days, no uniform today that is, she could not introduce new curriculum that could get her at odds with the Bishop and the Diocesan authority. She was only following instructions and yes, she did have her principal’s rights, like she could suspend or detain students, introduce new festive occasions, but her role at the school is limited. No private parochial school answers to the DOE, the Department of Education. Leaves you thinking what could happen if your child, a child of color or a disabled child, was bullied at school?
Sister Vera had all the evidence, for instance, to expel some students in my grade for bullying a friend. However, she did not do this. Could it have been family payoffs? We don’t know. My buddy Angelika Bunge, who has been a buddy of mine for years, suffered at that school. Because the school board does not answer to St. Teresa’s School, her mother, a woman of good intentions, probably had no other option. Floria, Angelika’s mom, pulled her from the school because of bullies. To some, it could mean the bullies win, but would someone do this to a black child? Easily, I’m sure. With no government oversight, the prospects for a child of color, aside from the out of range price tag, are worse. If Sister Vera had a black student in her class, she may not be aware of the bullying as much. Was she ever aware that African American students face significantly more discipline issues at public schools? Sister Vera probably had no problems with this, but I remember a young black girl who attempted school at St. Teresa, probably graduated. Chelsea Irish later became a clarinet player in the high school band, but was it truly safe for her? One can only guess. Bullying and suspension is worse even for students with LGBTQIA issues, and Sister Vera, having a Catholic doctrine to uphold, has all authority to suspend or expel students for being gay. She can if she wanted to. She could have done this, and things like this have happened. But that’s just the beginning.
Private schools like St. Teresa have an austere and sexist dress code policy. Let’s start with the prescribed uniforms: for female students, in the lower grades they wear a pinafore jumper with STS printed on the left side. The skirt and material for the pinafore jumper is beyond ugly, and does not come off as acceptable in public, even to the eyes of students themselves. In the upper grades, females have skirts to wear. The skirts are a blue plaid as the pinafores are, but worse, they are extremely primitive in look and nature. All female students in all grades have shorts, and for the winter, they have pants. The students are also issued physical education clothing, which includes a pair of shorts with a band inside that is obvious. The elastic feels like it’s a bit weird on the inside. The shirt the students wear to gym class has a picture of the school mascot, a knight, and the lettering that tells you where the stuff is from. The students who attend physical education are required to wear these things, and then you must wear an austere and plain pair of sneakers. But that’s not the only regulation on females. The uniforms are expensive, so I oftentimes wore used uniforms. The females are required to wear the dressy pinafores or skirts to Friday and other masses that the students attend. The students must wear an Oxford dress shoe in either black or white, as I remember well. The Oxford brand of shoe, for one, is expensive and inaccessible to some inner urban families, so read and do your homework when buying these type of shoes for your child. All shoes for all students can’t have any decoration on them, and worse, must not have brand or logo marks bigger than a quarter. If that screams austerity, I don’t know what else does.
Female students are also regulated in the jewelry and auxiliary accessories they can wear. They cannot wear most types of earrings and that includes those that dangle. A lot of females would find this stupid. They cannot wear any offensive symbols, but then the Diocese and principal could tell you a rainbow is a sexually offensive symbol, right? Okay, but that puts LGBT students at risk. Okay, there’s more.
Male students do not have pinafore jumpers or skirts, but must wear pants, the standard issue white polo shirt with STS on it, and a belt. Male students cannot have hair below the neckline. Does that scream discrimination against religion? Oh my.
Male students are forbidden from wearing jewelry and earrings are a no no. If this screams sexism, well, it is. There are African male students who may want their hair long. What is so distracting about basic dread locks or braids for male students? Heck, I think it’s unique to them, so why cut the students’ hair length in your dress code? Now, it is obvious that STS has such a sexist and austere dress code, but for all students, there is to be worn a white polo as I mentioned before. It is a collared shirt with short sleeves, STS printed on the left portion of the upper side near the child’s left shoulder. But white shirts can get dirty easily, so not all of us are going to really wear that to school.
The biggest issue with Catholic education I have is the inaccuracy of sex education. Ever had that talk when you were growing up about the birds and the bees? Well, Catholic schools are doing it now. Again, St. Teresa’s School. They are teaching second graders the word “ovary” in a stage of life where they should really be singing the bone song. Remember, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone is connected to the shin bone, etc. All those bones are important, and some songs about basic anatomy are lost on some of us, but why are second graders learning about their genitalia? They should be curious, but it should not be written in stone that these children will be indoctrinated to remain abstinent until marriage when they should be playing and being kids for real. Most of the inaccuracies in sex education at parochial schools numbs your mind. The basic rule of thumb at STS and other schools like it is, “Do not teach your daughter that it’s okay to take birth control.” The maxim is that birth control can “hurt a woman’s body chemistry” as directly quoted from an old “New Creation” book I studied. What is New Creation class anyway? It is a joke. You learn how to interact, and the whole concept of morality is stupid and does not allow the child to think forward for himself. He is told how to date, what is love, marriage. Oh my. I don’t want my thirteen-year-old daughter to learn all this yet, or if she does, I’d rather teach by example. Trenton and I exchange a lot of affection, for instance, and intimate activity is as it should be always kept private. We don’t parade around naked or what have you in front of anyone, even children. Your child should know that love is marriage, marriage is love. You can’t really have a successful marriage that benefits both partners if the purpose wasn’t because you loved the other and you both cared for each other. But to put this stuff in a textbook just boggles my mind.
So what choice am I making? This is something you all should be asking.
My children will likely benefit from a customized curriculum in home school. While people might scoff at me for this, here are my reasons for choosing homeschool for any child.
For one, there won’t be bad kids and bullying in the school. It’s right in my home, so the kids won’t bully another child. The second reason is because there is no school discipline or racial disconnect. My fiance being black, my kids will likely be mixed race, so a public or private school would not benefit a mixed family. Thirdly, I could enchant my children with field trips. This is missing from a lot of school days, and public schools in grade nine through twelve will not take students on trips due to budget and paperwork issues. In home schooling, the parents have control over what and where the child can go. If I take my kid to the bank to learn about currency value, for instance, she might remember that a dime is worth ten pennies even more than she could remember it while sitting in that boring four walled classroom. Watching Mommy and Daddy distribute the money to bills would teach the kids about the importance of paying for what you want, paying your bills and stuff. When I show my child the basics of microbiology, I think it would be best to take her to a hospital lab while I might do a blood test. While the lab tech draws the blood, I could then explain while the child watches that the technician is taking out a blood sample. When a child asks questions, things like this can really be of benefit. While I get my blood drawn, for instance, I would allow my kid to ask the technician, “What’s in Mommy’s blood you’re looking for?” The scientist could then explain the microbes and chemical levels the test is looking for. I would be pretty adventurous and take a child in a high school level to a lab that has microscopes so they can learn about bacteria as well. Oftentimes, I was excluded from microbiology lessons in science class in the four walled classroom, but why not let my child watch the stuff being done? What do you think the benefits would be?
And if you think I’m crazy, there is more I would do as well. To teach literature, I’d sit with my child and we’d actually read books. How many of your schools are teaching books like Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wuthering Heights, Twelve Years a Slave? Solomon Northup’s memoir would be a great educational text especially for mixed and black students because they are currently not learning where they came from. I would go further, and just imagine the ideas I’d put together. We could take a family trip to Ghana, a hotspot for African American emigres, and we’d look at slave castle sites. Imagine what might happen if the child saw the site right before her eyes versus just reading and watching lame footage on a video screen in … yep, the four walled classroom? Imagine what could really be happening as your child visits Southern museums. Here’s an interesting prospect: suppose you took a visit to Mount Vernon, now a museum, in Virginia. I did. And I learned what the clothing and lifestyle of the Prerevolutionary War era people really was like. I got to place a wooden yoke on my shoulders, and it was hard to imagine a ten ton bucket on each end of the wooden bar. This was the slaves’ work. Then, I got to wear women’s colonial clothing. Imagine just seeing it in a textbook versus actually touching and putting on the clothes. Now, the string tied pockets, the primitive and laced up stays, and the different styles of skirt and dress are more alive in my mind as I recall. I want this for my children, and believe me, I don’t want my daughter to actually try on a corset unless she dares. But I did get to feel a piece of wire that shows the circumference of eighteen inches around, the ideal waist size for women in that time.
We may not be able to take our kids back in time or visit any of the places mentioned above, but watching real live movies also helps. It would be hard to watch Twelve Years a Slave with a younger child, but if we do not truly educate our high schoolers in this subject material, then what would be their fate? Many public and private schools have bylaws in their districts and other regulations banning movies with bad words. This could make all the learning insipid. I don’t agree with Sister Vera and staff at St. Teresa School banning Mythbusters in school at all. My mother taught and still teaches science at the school, and Mythbusters would be a great way to teach the scientific method. I mean, it starts with a question, and the Myth Busters have a job, to figure out if it actually does come to fruition. But not in the eyes of staff. My mother was told not to show these videos in school due to bad language. Go figure. Unfortunately, that leaves my mother with limited options to enchant her students with real live looks at science. She is forced to use textbooks and lame ass experiments and can’t show her children bigger pictures. It’s not only my mom, but many other teachers who find themselves in hot water over films.
With home school, there would be no hot water. I would have control and decide if my child should or shouldn’t see Myth Busters as a means to teach science. Children will eventually hear bad words, but don’t let them say it. That’s the trick. So banning good shows like Myth Busters was the worst choice any school could make.
If anything, home school would also mean the child can do schoolwork in her pajamas if we’re not anywhere special. Homeschool would also open doors for musical training on the independent sector. We could do much more with home schooling, and the curriculum could be religious or secular. But does Christianity truly have to be in a book? The best teachers are not your textbook or workbook exercises. The best teaching tools are experiences and people and places that impact us the most. Thus why I am making this statement and the decision should truly be mine what happens to my child’s education.