Yesterday I said that the reason the public school system is failing is due to its need to not just educate but also parent (i.e. care for and instill values in) the youth who attend.
But is the public school system really failing?
I mean, I went to a public High School. I did really well. I didn't get into drugs, I didn't sleep around, I wasn't into the party scene, and I only got shoved and picked on a few times.
In fact, there are many parents who don't consider homeschooling simply because their child is doing so well in the public school system: Acing tests, reading well, and succeeding. So how can it be fair to say, as I did yesterday, that "the public school system should not be for anyone as it currently exists"?
Furthermore, many of my friends are products of the public school system, and they are functioning just fine in society. And while you can often pick out the homeschooled kids from the public schooled kids in a library, it's much harder to do with adults in the workplace.
However, the measure of the value of a system is not that people come out of it and are successful, even thrive, but rather if the system is doing what it is supposed to be doing.
For an extreme example: Holocaust survivors, after WWII, were able to go back to a new life. In fact, there are a few who are even alive today. So, did the horrific experience of living in a concentration camp eliminate their ability to find love, joy, or meaning in life? No. But does that mean that it's good for people to have lived through such a horrific experience? No.
I am not saying that public schools are like concentration camps, mine sure wasn't (though I've heard some really terrible stories of a few). I am merely pointing out the flaw in the thinking that because people survive something that it was good for them. "That which does not kill me, strengthens me" is errant thinking. Losing an arm will strengthen your other arm and make you more creative in your approach to life, but are you truly stronger? No. There is a give and take in all things.
So, the foremost question is this: Is the public school system the best option for our children?
No, it's not. A good private school, a great personal tutor, or a fantastic homeschooling environment would be far better. And this is because these environments are more able to "parent" the child. These focused educational systems are built around instilling values (whatever those may be), and they are values with which you agree. If they stopped instilling those values in your child, you would move him or her to another environment.
What's more, the public school system is designed not to teach values to your child (that whole odd reading of "separation of church and state"), and in so doing, teaches your child values with which you may not agree and have shown themselves harmful to individuals and societies (such as the "clique" or "have/have nots" mentalities).
But really the question comes down to this: What is best for our children?
The statistics show, over and over again, how the American public school system is failing our children. And since we do not accept the parents who fail their children, we should not accept any less from the public schools.
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father