If Public Schools Fail Try Home-Schooling

To the Editor:

 In the past several weeks, the News has followed the progress of the parents who are unhappy with the K-8 program being implemented in Bridgeton schools. The parents have taken their concerns and grievances
to the school board, and as of yet, have not prevailed.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where parental preferences are no longer considered to be the deciding factor in how our children are educated.  It is the humanistic agenda and the power of "cooperative" school boards that decide the environment as well as the tools of education.  If you doubt me, consider the outcome of the
"Chocolate War" in a local school district earlier this year - Educators: 1; Concerned, responsible parents: 0.  That was a prime example of just how much power the school board has, and how little the taxpaying parent has to say about their child's publicly funded education.
 There are other options and many parents in the area have chosen one that produces fine academic results, a safe environment, and does not present a conflict with the morals and values these parents want to instill in their children.  I am talking about homeschooling.
Homeschooling  is not an option for everyone, but then neither is private school or subjecting children to the inadequacies of the public education system.  It does require that a responsible adult be available and home with their children. Admittedly, in many families, this is either considered impossible due to financial obligations or single
parent homes.  But before you dismiss the idea, consider what our current system of education is already costing us: children who cannot read, write or solve math problems at their achieved grade level, teachers that are reduced to being disciplinarians because many parents do not do their part in training their children properly, and yes, the
issue of safety.
 Let's face it, before April of 1999, no one thought Columbine was a school "at risk" because of the affluence of the community.  In our community there are going to be risks with students as young as 5 being in the same building with teenagers.  Drugs, molestation and bullying are just a few that come to mind.  If schools do not listen to parents regarding a book, what assurance do we have that more serious issues will be addressed in a timely and comprehensive manner?
Homeschooling provides the child with a safe environment, conducive to learning, and a committed mother (in most cases) doing what is best for their child(ren).  The education can be tailored to that child's strengths, pinpointing and improving areas of weakness, as well as creating a stronger relationship with siblings and parents.  Often
people, unfamiliar with homeschooling, question the value of the "education" and "socialization issues."  Any homeschooling family will read that and chuckle.  It has been shown repeatedly that homeschooled children (in general) succeed academically in both home and college arenas, are capable of being independent learners and do not lack any social skills.  It is a sacrifice because it often means operating a household on one income, although many homeschooling moms find creative ways to supplement the family coffers.  But for many of us, the sacrifice of time, careers, a bigger house, a newer car or big vacations is well worth the results we see in our children.
I certainly hope the parents prevail, the school board listens and is prepared to address the genuine concerns of the parents.  But if they do not, perhaps homeschooling will be one family's option.  Or at least one in which the parents actually have some say in their child's education.

Bridgeton 08/26/03