Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You're Doing WHAT?!

My thoughts on education...Parte Uno.

I'm not exactly sure that this will be a series, but I'm setting myself up for it anyway.  I have a lot to say on the subject and I want to make sure to say it all.  I also have a lot of questions on the subject, to I'll want to ask those, too.  Basically I'm giving myself the go ahead in case realize I've written too much for one day-it's OK.  I can abruptly stop. 

Up until now, and still now (sort of) I have avoided controversial subjects on the blog.  I do this because I've read other blogs where someone has a strong opinion about something and if we disagree it's just...ick.  We aren't necessarily friends so I can't defend my point to them [well I could, but I have better things to do than sit around all day monitoring comments on some random blog].  I end up feeling put down because we don't have the same view.  Many times this may not be the writer's intention, but when someone basically insinuates that I'm an idiot if I think differently than they do-well, to be blunt it pisses me off.  It's rare that I see a debate or argument [outside of religion, but don't even get me started on the horrible things that have been done in "God's name"] where I think one side is 100% right.  The problem is that even when someone is 100% right, if they treat the other side like an imbecile, they aren't 100% right anymore.  Does that make sense at all?

I think that's why God is so big on humility.  If you're humble in spirit you're not going to shove your view down anyone else's throat.  If you're humble and right, you may actually make people think and that may actually sway their opinion.  They may even be willing to admit being wrong if you're humble.  You see, I don't believe we have the power to change any ones mind with just logic.  Emotion is a powerful tool and if it is strong enough, it can blind even the most logical person.

So this is why I'm hesitant to bring up controversial topics.  And I realize I have in talking about immigration.  And I realize my thoughts are very strong on this and if we disagree I may have offended you.  Please believe me that offense isn't my goal, and I am sorry if that was the outcome of my posts.  The reason I brought it up on here is because I see this issue tied very closely to our lives with our adoption going on.  It's not just something for me to blow steam at, it's real and I believe it will affect us if we go there with our girls.  That's why I posted it.  Because as a trans racial family those issues are things we need to be thinking about. 

As a quick side note, I was able to have a great conversation with my Father in Law about the Arizona situation.  We don't see eye to eye per se, but we were able to talk about it and agree on this: the law (and nearly any other like it) will be very limited and nearly useless until we can get the border under control.  The first priority in solving the illegal immigrant problem is deciding what to do with the people who are already here illegally and solving the border crisis.  We may not have agreed on how or what, but that's OK.  He understood where I was coming from as a mother of Latinas, and I understood what he was saying about the illegal immigrant problem.  And in all honesty, I trust his assessment of the situation in Arizona.  He's lived there.  He knows what it's like. 

So what does all this have to do with education?  Specifically my views on education?  Well, I believe education is as tricky of a system as getting legislation through on immigration.  Everyone has opinions (and likely strong ones) about the logistics of educating children.  It's my job to decipher fact from fiction, form my own opinion and figure out where to go from where we are now. 

There are so many options...public, private, home school, bilingual school, Spanish immersion school, christian school...I could go on and on.  And I'll be honest, I don't really think there is one right answer that is going to fit all of my kids.

In closing (you like that abrupt transition?  I knew I'd use my 'out'!) I'll just say this: The education of my children is my responsibility.  Any school or opportunity out there is a tool that can be used in addition or to compliment what they are learning, but it's still my responsibility to make sure they are in an environment that holds education, self esteem and moral values in high esteem.  This will ensure that my kids have every chance to succeed, grow and achieve their individual, self determined goals.  And as I share my thoughts about education on here in the future, this is going to be my guiding principle.


NanaStearns said...

Jenni, I agree with you that education is a controversial topic...even within the education community.

I also agree that the person most responsible for a child's education is the child's caregiver, whether that is a mom, dad or other. It has been my observation that this fact is getting lost somewhere in the education of teachers. The basic assumption appears to be that the teachers are the responsible party versus the parents' partner in the child's education.

So the two of us have no controversy there...what gets me really started is the number of teachers who either have no business teaching or who have lost their passion and are no longer quality teachers. In my personal experience (and based on my observation of my own children's experiences, I think it may hold true) nearly 10% of teachers do as much if not more harm than good.

The real problem is that most children don't know that the teacher is causing harm so parents don't hear about it (or don't believe it); the current unionization of education protects teachers who need to move on, and observation/supervision of teachers is virtually nil once the teacher is fully accredited. (can you tell I have some strong opinions)

Love you all,
-- Nana Stearns