My two oldest children attend a public school. While there are some benefits of a public school there are also a lot of downsides. I have put together a list highlighting the parts of public school that are less than savory. Between my experience as a student and as a parent of students in public school I feel like there has to be a change in the way things are done.
My children are sick a lot. They have missed quite a few days at school. Instead of understanding, I receive red letters home. Red. The most aggressive color they can think of to say "Hey, your kid has been absent." I could understand if my children were missing more than a day or two a month due to illness and if their grades were slipping. They aren't. We do all of their make up homework and I help them stay caught up. Also, we have the added benefit of being in an on post school, so they also talk about going to my husband's command. Because through all the stresses of my children seeing specialists, therapies, and every day illnesses that happens in public school, I should also have to deal with fear for my husband's career.
As a parent with a child in public school, I have no choices about the education my child receives. The teacher my child has now is very old school. She seems like a lovely person, but her methods definitely do no line up with my preferred parenting style. My child spends eight hours a day with this person and is bringing home ideals that I feel are harmful. And there is nothing I can do about it.
I am fully aware that the majority of the United States are Christians. I have no problem with religion. I also know that there was a separation of church and state for a reason. We are an atheist/agnostic family. If my children decide that Christianity is right for them when they are old enough to make that decision I will support them. I feel it is my job as a parent to open the doors of religion to my child. Not their teacher's or their schools job. When a specific religion is included throughout the school day it is discriminating against a minority. We live in a southern state, which means it is nearly impossible to find private secular schooling. Even searching for non religious daycare options is exhausting.
The lack of time for play.
My children are young. My oldest is full of energy. It is really hard for her to sit still and listen for 7-8 hours a day. She gets 10-20 minutes of recess. She gets 20-30 minutes for lunch. The rest of the time is spent in a classroom. She is 7 years old. At that age kids need to play. They need to learn by playing. They need to get out and experience the world. Between my work schedule and their school schedule family vacations and field trips are impossible. I work from home in order to spend as much time as possible with my children.
The school lunches.
While I have been to some public schools that offer amazing choices for lunch, I have also been to a few that I wouldn't want to eat. How do I force my child to do the same? Yes, I could pack them a lunch, but packing them a lunch compared to buying becomes a lot more expensive. And with food allergies running rampant in the schools I would hate to pack something unsafe for others. I feel like there needs to be healthy but also good tasting options for children at school. There are days my child only eats a vegetable. Also, for children who don't eat meat, there are next to zero options for them unless they only consume sides. There are programs out there that work with public schools to offer vegetarian options.
Obviously these things can't be changed in a day. I know homeschooling isn't an option for everyone. We need more options. Our children are the future of our world. They deserve an excellent education. As their mother I will strive every day to try and give them what they need to succeed.