Long time ago, in a small brick school house, my kindergarten teacher hand some paper out and told us to color in the pictures with our crayons. We were also told we need to follow the rules, and to color inside the lines. School has come a long way since those days, students now have laptops, smart-boards, wireless internet. All of this fun stuff costs money, at tad more than my box crayons.
During the last legislative session, state aid to education was cut, along with other areas in the budget. School districts are finding ways to make up the difference. Some districts have some reserves, others are cutting programs and positions. There are districts that hold class only four days a week; and others turn to their community for help.
Several schools got together and decided to sue to the state because they believed they were entitled to a larger share of the budget pie. The lawsuit worked it’s way to through the court system up to the South Dakota Supreme Court
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the state system of funding school districts is constitutional. Governor Dennis Daugaard issued this statement on the ruling.
I’m pleased with this opinion because the appropriate place to determine school funding is the Legislature, not the courts. I believe we should focus on student achievement, not spending, as the best measure of educational success. That approach is very consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision.
For parents, it has been drilled into them that only by giving money to the school districts, can a quality education be provided to their children. With all the talk of budget cuts, and lawsuits, and the like, parents have to wonder about the education that their children will actually receive. Some parents have decided they could do a better job educating their children than the local school and have pulled their kids out of school and started homeschooling their children. There are even a few more parents who have decided to take that a step further, and unschool their children.
When the word ‘school’ is mentioned we think about kids sitting in neat rows, with a teacher at the front of class. For some children, this might be the better way, With home schooling, the parent(s) replaces the teacher, and kitchen table replaces the classroom. There is still a curriculum, classwork, and examines. The unschooling method lets the child leads the curriculum and the parent/teacher becomes the facilitator.
In this Washington Post article ?Parents who ?unschool? put children in the teacher?s chair?
The perky teen from Tucson, Ariz., explores what she likes, when she likes as deeply as she chooses every day of the year. As an ?unschooler,? Zoe is untethered from the demands of traditional, compulsory education.
That means, at the moment, she?s checking out the redwoods of California with her family, tinkering with her website and looking forward to making her next video on her favorite subject, exogeology, the study of geology on other planets.
?I love seeing the history of an area,? Zoe said. ?Maybe a volcano erupted and grew taller over time, or wind eroded rock into sand dunes, or a meteor hit the ground and made a crater. Finding out how these and other formations formed is something I just really like.?
Zoe?s cheer: ?Exogeology rocks!?
It is clear where Zoe’s interests lie. It would be good to encourage that. Her ‘studies’ may take her into areas that are not so exciting, however, she is old enough to understand that biology could play a part in what she really likes. She may or may not ever earn a degree, however, she will be happy doing what she enjoys
I found some interesting factoids about home schoolers:
- Students who have been home schooled their entire academic lives have the highest scholastic achievement. The difference is more pronounced during the higher grades; students who home school throughout high school continue to flourish while in that environment. (SADC)
- Children who are homeschooled “… may be more socially mature and have better leadership skills than other children …” – Richard G. Medlin, Ph.D. (NHERI)
- Dr.Michael Donahue, Director of Admissions for Indiana University – Purdue University, has spent the last several years researching home-schooled students.
- “The home school group has about a 3.0 GPA their freshman year,” Donahue said. “In the entire freshman class, the GPA is between a 2.3 and a 2.4. They are well prepared. They’re self starters. Faculty, in general, enjoy having them in class because they know how to do things independently.” (Answers)
- Dr.Gary Knowles, the University of Michigan, studied home educated adults.”None were unemployed and none were on welfare, 94% said home education prepared them to be independent persons, 79% said it helped them interact with individuals from different levels of society, and they strongly supported the home education method.” (NHERI)
- Average income of the homeschooling family is $52,000. (HSLDA)
- A national survey found one could homeschool for $546. Michal Farris, chairman and general counsel of HSLDA, states that his family home educates for approximately $200 per year for curriculum materials. (HSLDA)
I’m sure for every example of a exceptional home student, an example of poor homeschool student can produced.
In addition to paying $200 and up to home school their children, families also pay taxes to support failing schools.
What are the home-schoolers and non-schoolers doing right? Why are Democrats demanding more money for schools?
The majority of Democrats have be taught and believe the only way to solve a problem, is by throwing more money at it. Can money really fix these problems?
Could it be indoctrination? For thirteen years, schools can subtly brainwash children that the only way to happiness is with money, and the only way to acquire money is by following their rules.
They can also undermine some of the our values and replace them with something else.
Could it be about control?
I am not saying home schooling or unschooling is for every child or every family. Every child is different, and learns differently. There are some parents, while they are great parents, would make poor teachers. Some students may do wonderful in a classroom setting, others learn by doing.
would appear to me that school districts should take a hard look at what the home-schoolers are doing. They seem to be able to provide a great education for little money. Here is a small hint, you can lead a horse to water, however, you can’t make him drink. Sioux Falls has started by offering their project based school. Open enrollment and magnet schools might also help.
Republicans do not what our schools to fail, Republicans want our children to succeed. If the current school system isn’t up to the task, then why throw money at it and hope for the best? Money alone is not going to fix what’s broke with our education system. Childern today are not like the childern of times past. They are much different, and learn differently.
America isn’t great because we follow the rules, we write the rules. Other countries run circles around us taking standardized tests; we discover, invent and create the content for those tests. We don’t ask ‘why’ something something should be done; We ask ‘why not,’ then go do it. We fail, learn, try again, and again until we succeed. We dare to color outside the lines.