Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 9

Freedom of Education.  That's what I'm most thankful for today. 

You see, I live in an area of the country where the local public education system is failing its students, its families, and quite frankly the entire community, miserably.  I live in a place where the local high school demonstrated an increased graduation rate last year...all the way up to 57%!  I live in a place that, year after year, has reorganized and restructured and shuffled kids around.  I live in a district that has lost 2200 students in the last 2 years, some to moves, some to a new charter school district, and many to neighboring districts.

My own daughter is one of those students.

We've chosen to move our daughter out of our "local" district, in favor of a smaller, much more stable, neighboring district in the next county (which is actually closer to our house).  Had we chosen a school system in our own county, we wouldn't have to pay tuition because our district is a "failing" district.  Since we chose a district in another county, though, we are subject to tuition.  The district into which we've transferred, however, has decided that it's more beneficial to the district and the families it serves to run a tuition-free district!

Little Lou is in a first grade classroom with a teacher very much like my own amazing first grade teacher.  Her teacher, like mine, looks at each individual student's strengths and weaknesses.  He challenges each student at his or her very own level.  He pushes them.  Hard.  But not so hard they can't handle it.  He does crazy things like have them write their spelling words in Nutella.  He sings crazy songs with them.  He sits on the floor with them.  I'm guessing he spends many many hours outside of the classroom, countless dollars out of his own pocket, so that these kids can each thrive.  

It's not just him, either.  This district is full of small classes and big hearts.  There are teachers in every classroom that have the best interest of the children in mind and who work hard to help them excel.  There are administrators with strong heads on their shoulders and the dedication to back up their ideas.

I'm not saying there aren't good teachers or administrators in the local district.  There are tons of great teachers there, too, who are equally as dedicated as those in the district we've chosen.  Their expertise is overshadowed, though, but the constant shifting, regrouping, and experimentation the district's administration has chosen in an attempt to make the district "competitive."

So, today, I am thankful for the opportunity to make choices for my own children, to ensure that they are getting the very most out of their educations, both in the classroom and out.  

Dear Lord, thank you for our teachers and administrators.  Thank you for the job they do each and every day, giving selflessly to our children.  Thank you for the dedication so many of them have to help guide our children academically.  Thank you so much for putting them in the paths of our children and giving them the words to use to push our kids forward!  Lord, please help the teachers to be encouraged.  Help them to be healthy and of strong minds.  If there is a specific way that I can support and encourage my own children's teachers, please make it abundantly clear to me.  Thank you, thank you, for a public education system and the ability to choose!


Charis's Mum said...

That's great that the school district you sent your daughter to is willing to work with you, but it's also sad about the school district you live in, especially when you think about all the other students who are still there.

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