Michael McBride

I am through. After this semester, I am pulling my daughter from public school. I won’t be enrolling her in private school either. It is pretty obvious to me that between the diminishing capabilities of teachers to grab students’ attention, and increasing social pressures for adolescents…that the high school environment is not the place to be “learning”…school related subjects at least.

Don’t get me wrong…I am not a snob. I grew up in a working class suburb of Detroit, where I attended public elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school. My parents thought well of the district and its opportunities. And my brothers and I were greeted by enthusiastic teachers that challenged us, and showed a great deal of interest in their students and classes. We had, and used, wonderful science labs, up to date facilities, and robust extra-curricular programs.

All four of us went to college. Two of us went to private colleges, even though times were tough in the mid-70’s. My other two brothers attended two of Michigan’s public universities. We are all well rounded and successful, and you would not be able to sort out which of us attended which university.

Which is why I strongly believe the great equalizer was our public primary education. My mother retired as an elementary school principal from the same district. So I was a believer in our public schools…”was” is the operative word. Past tense.

For a number of years we went along with my daughter’s teachers’ recommendations. We have suffered through the mediocre dissemination of knowledge. We met indifference and incompetence, and worse, apathy and denial. We have encountered scant little passion, and even less competency. In short, it has been pathetic.

We had her in Title I Math when she was struggling. It must’ve helped…she soon had an A+ in Title I Math, and the teachers seemed quite pleased with themselves.

Getting an A+ in Title I Math seemed a bit incongruous to me, so we asked what needed to be done to get our daughter back in the mainstream instruction so that she could get back on track with her peers in Math. We received some quizzical looks in return. We suggested that she be given any make up work to be done over the approaching Christmas Holiday break. This time we were met by …hmmmms, and …ahhhhs…, but no make up work came home over the holidays.

Michael McBride

Michael E. McBride retired as a Major from the Marine Corps and blogs at http://www.mysandmen.blogspot.com.

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