Schools are the HOT topic among my friends and acquantances. It turns out that whether you are in a top performing Chicago-area school (public or private) or a middle-of-the-road school, EVERYONE is worried about whether or not their children are getting a good education. It turns out that Jack Cafferty of CNN thinks we should be worried.
We all have different reasons for thinking our schools are failing our children. Some parents worry about the lack of art and music. After all, test scores are not based upon a child's ability to draw a beautiful sunset. No Child Left Behind doesn't reward schools where children are learning to play an instrument.
Other parents worry about the social aspects of school. I have a friend who was called into the principal's office because her daughter's teacher didn't like something the girl wrote in her journal. G is in fifth grade and she wrote that she hated the mean girls because they were calling her names every day on the bus and in the halls. G ended up being sent to counseling for her anger, while the mean girls who taunted her daily received no punishment. My friend tried to explain that all this did was teach G to lie in her journal, but the principal explained that clearly G had the issue. This is one of the top-rated school districts in Illinois.
I tend to think of the in-class time the girls spend as only 1/2 of their education. For them to grow up to be well-rounded, productive adults, I think it's our job to provide the other 1/2 of their education. Whether this is through trips to hear concerts or lessons in what is acceptable behavior in our family, it all adds up.
We won't know if we're successful in our efforts for quite some time. Until then, we'll keep doing what we think is best for their overall education and take some comfort in the fact that we're all in this together.