Monday, January 09, 2006

Eden on Education

Eden Gardner is an interesting lady, and this article in Reason (a magazine I frequently disagree with, but you have to read it frequently to disagree with it frequently; and it is worth doing so), has inspired her to share a personal story about friends making educational decisions for their child

Here's the 'graph that I like the most though:
"In Alice's world, K-12 education would be standardized on a federal level. All schools would teach exactly the same thing, with flexibility for some units about local history and issues, and all schools would be clean and safe, with devoted, brilliant, motivational teachers who are paid like rock stars. The happy, excited students would spend two years in required community service, then trounce off to affordable colleges where they could study Plato and Newton and Chaucer (preferably segregated by sex so as to not distract the young adults with sex when they should be learning). Then, they would proceed to grad school for professional training or be welcomed into high-paying jobs -- though not with greedy multinational corporations -- where their open and well-informed minds would quickly catch onto the skills required. It's like a freakin' science fiction novel and she thinks it's all possible if schools were simply given more money.

Allow me to pause for laughter."
This has fairly quickly become a major issue in my life, since I now have a four year old (actually her fourth birthday is next Sunday), who is, horror of horrors, pretty damned smart.

I think we all know how I feel about so called education for "the gifted" at this point, having been through the wringer myself and barely come out the other end sane and functional.

Worse, Arizona public schools, even in my high dollar neighborhood, are almost universally bad. In fact, in my estimation ALL public schools are universally bad; but Arizona schools are particularly bad, consistently ranking in the bottom ten in the nation.

So we're looking at options right now, and from our estimation we're looking at the following:

1. Private School: Not a lot of non-religious options, and expensive, but a decent education. We're seriously considering the local catholic schools, which accept non-catholics and have a non-proseletyzing educational policy. The Jesuits (now anyway) believe in educating everyone to think and reason and learn; and that if offered, the educated mind will come to faith on it's own.

2. Charter schools: Still stuck with the public education monstrosity, but at least we get a real choice of teachers, policies, and even curricula (here in AZ anyway). This I think is our most likely option.

3. Home Schooling: Mel is going to be staying home, so we would, but it's unlikely the custody situation (their dad is a Canadian) is going to allow anything non-government sanctioned; at least for now. In general I'm a big supporter of home schooling, basically because I don't think any public school, and most private schools, can properly educate anyone, except in how to be a socialist drone.

We've got a few months left to decide (actually depending on what we decide to do she could enter this september, or she may have to wait til next); and it is just kindegarten, but still...