Parents face cut-throat competition—for kindergarten

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Karen Moran has done everything a mother can do to find a good school for her 5-year-old twin daughters.

The Wicker Park mom has trolled the Chicago Public Schools Web site for test scores and class sizes. She has spent her mornings touring a half-dozen private and public schools. She has hit the playgrounds to quiz parents about the best schools. And she has had her children tested for entry into gifted programs.

"I've spent more time on this process than in I did trying to get into college or law school," Moran said. "There's so much stress and uncertainty right now, I feel sort of panicked about what's going to happen."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducation

19 Comments
Posted February 26, 2008 at 7:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Nikolaus wrote:

Aw jeez!  As the spouse of a long-suffering Kindergarten teacher Karen had better 1.) WAKE UP 2.) GET A LIFE 3.) STOP PUSHING HER KIDS OUR OF CHILDHOOD!

February 26, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Couldn’t agree more Nikolaus. Perhaps some of the parents described could more profitably spend their time planning the books THEY are going to read to their children, the museums and art galleries to which THEY are going to take them, and the family recreation in which THEY are going to participate.

Better yet - since they can obviously afford it - have one parent take some time out and home school.

February 26, 11:29 pm | [comment link]
3. Nikolaus wrote:

Jeremy, you rock!

February 27, 10:23 am | [comment link]
4. writingmom15143 wrote:

Gentlemen…I couldn’t agree more with your comments that our children need to experience childhood and that homeschooling is a wonderful option for those who are called to do that but this mother’s experience is a very sad, but eye-opening, look at some of the realities of our educational system today.  Kindergarten is no longer a half-day experience where social interactions, time to play and educational basics are the norm.  Children are expected to have gotten these in early playdates and preschool experiences.  Kindergarten is now often a full day class with a set curriculum with homework that includes math and language arts work leading to the expectation that most should be reading by the end of the year if they weren’t already reading when they entered kindergarten.  As school progresses, what many of us learned in late elementary school is taught in the primary levels, high school algebra is often introduced in 5th and 6th grade and all children are expected to perform at certain levels on state-mandated tests beginning in grade school and continuing through graduation.  Multiple hours of homework become routine in grade school with the expectation of papers and projects filling up weekend hours as well.  The belief that a child must have a good foundation from the start or the problems will be insurmountable in coming years is one held by many parents.
High schools want to measure their students against the world’s best.  Colleges look at the number of AP classes taken.  The pressure to perform and produce is enormous.  I have three children in school right now.  I’ve taught in the public school system.  I’ve also homeschooled my children.  And when I read about a mom trying to figure out how to do the best for her children in a system that doesn’t make any sense, my heart aches…And when I read your comments…my heart aches as well.

February 27, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
5. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Writingmom,

Point well taken. If the article in question had been about families in the Chicago ghetto striving to find a school that could give their child the education to lift them out of poverty I doubt if I would have felt prompted to make the same observation. The article, however, described families that are blessed with the means to focus on family-centered formation and it is frustrating to read how much energy is being put into the search for schooling for a five-year old. I’m sure you’re right about rising expectations of what students know - though that seems to go hand in hand with declining levels of basic skills - but should we conform to that expectation? As the possessor of far too much education (of the wrong sort) I’m painfully discovering of late how little value that can be in the real world. Spending $18,000 on a kindergarten seems a sad use of resources that might better be expended elsewhere. It is true, of course, that we only know the motivations of the people involved through what the article tells us. If I have been uncharitable, perhaps it’s because I’m envious of those who’ve been granted the gift of children.

February 27, 1:23 pm | [comment link]
6. writingmom15143 wrote:

Jeremy…After I read your comment “...we only know the motivations of the people involved through what the article tells us.”, I went back and re-read the article and realized something.  I don’t believe the author gives us the rest of the story (Where’s Paul Harvey when you need him?)  Could the ‘rest of the story’ answer why these parents are desperately trying to get their children into the very best kindergartens?  A motivation driven by an educational system that demands more and more from students at earlier and earlier ages so parents are fighting to get their kids into the schools that will give them the greatest chances for success (survival?).  So as I re-read this article through the eyes of someone who may not have the ‘rest of the story’, the parents’ actions may just seem frivolous and ridiculous.  Thank you for reminding me that God’s grace asks me to read those words through your eyes as well as my own before I respond to your thoughts.

February 27, 3:46 pm | [comment link]
7. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

At this point, I feel I should echo Nikolaus.

Writingmom you rock!

February 27, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
8. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

We are talking Kindergarten, here, right? I mean, what does top notch Kindergarten look like? Fresh play-doh? Lefty scissors?

February 27, 6:12 pm | [comment link]
9. mugsie wrote:

Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple as #8 states. I’m going by my own personal experience. I moved to my local area from Canada almost 11 years ago. My son (who was 3 at the time) was having some difficulties with his speech. While we were still in Canada he was being treated through the Health Care System with really good speech therapy. We also had him in an excellent nursery school program to help him receive more stimulation and to learn to relate to other children. He was making wonderful progress in both areas. He was respected and loved in both areas and never once was he judged or labeled.

However, after moving here I was shocked at what I encountered. Firstly, the health care system here doesn’t even care about the speech needs of kids. They dump it on the schools. It’s a MEDICAL problem, NOT an educational problem. I could not get any medical help for him anywhere. Neither did the doctors we tried to work with provide us any information on how to obtain speech therapy for him so he could continue what we’d already started. I was pulling hairs big time.

So, we tried to find him a nursery school where he might find a loving environment and with other kids to play with and receive more stimulation to help him advance in his speech development. Again I was SHOCKED at what I encountered. The educational level of the caregivers in virtually every nursery school was next to nothing. They had no idea how to relate to kids in general, let alone to help a child develop speech. There was a lot of abuse and labeling clearly evident everywhere we went. On top of that, the environment in most of the nursery schools we visited was very dreary and dirty. Not exactly what I would call a healthy and stimulating environment for healthy development of a child.

My son was an only child so we really did need to find these services for him. It wasn’t just a whim or an excuse to get him out of our own hands. We didn’t know anyone here for quite a while and we had no other kids for him to play with to help him in these areas.

It only got worse. Finally I did find (through a neighbor) a source who could test him for speech difficulty. From there we were directed to the public school system’s “preschool” programs offered through “special ed”. That was the beginning of many years of continuous nightmares for us. Right from the beginning my son was given every label you could imagine. We withstood and fought and finally he developed his speech well enough that we felt he could be taken out of the “special ed” classification. The nightmares got even worse. They wouldn’t let him out of the “special ed” classification. Even more labels were slapped on my son. Gross assumptions were made about him. I felt like I was walking in a living hell and could not see the way out. It was like I was in a totally different world I just could not recognize. The level of cruelty, judgement, and abuse my son received was beyond cognition.

We finally took the case to a “due process” level and discovered that it was a joke too. We wasted thousands of dollars in that process alone. At the end of it, I just threw in the towel and pulled him out of the public school system entirely and began to home school him. Our first six months were nothing but recovery from abuse. The traumatic effects he needed to overcome due to the way he was treated in the schools was enormous. After about 6 months I started gradually introducing him to studies again. I had him evaluated by a tutor service and learned he was about 2 years behind in his schooling, which did not surprise me at all. After our first year we got more organized in our studies and started to make progress. Initially it was very difficult for him. He was so traumatized by the school system that he was literally sick to his stomach about going to school. Now he’s been out of the system for 3 and 1/2 years and is 1 year ahead in math, language arts, and science. He’s regained his confidence and love for learning. His inquisitiveness now works FOR him, and not AGAINST him. I know in my heart I did the right thing.

So, I can fully understand what the mom in the article is going through. It’s no secret that the school system is really messed up. I’m sure she’s heard more stories than she’s cared to about abuse and labeling in the schools. I’m sure she is trying everything in her power to ascertain that her daughter doesn’t become another victim of the system. I applaud all the effort she’s putting into it, and I pray she will find the right place for her daughter. If not, then I pray she will be able to home school her daughter and find the resources and support she needs to do that well.

So please don’t judge too quickly what others do. There is always a lot more to the story than you are aware of.

Mugsie

February 27, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
10. TACit wrote:

#9, you’ve certainly been handed the sharp end of the stick.  As a product of the US public schools myself, I have a theory that we considered all this abuse an aspect of education (like a feature rather than a bug!) - a bit more like the army than like Sunday school.  Both my husband and I eventually battled our way to PhDs, and I mean battled.  Of course the US public education system is modelled on the Prussian (and not the English or Scottish, as Canada’s would be), intended to produce an army of good obedient citizens.  But you may also have run afoul of the more recent feminization of that public system and you were sensible to remove your young son
If he is approaching high school age and you can find an affordable private boys’ school near you, consider it.  There is an astonishing difference for the individual boy in an environment in which their needs are catered for with frequent physical exercise breaks, appropriate course content and no need to hide their real issues in classroom discussions of literature, for instance. 
I have just finished schooling our son in a Commonwealth country, so have the inverse of your experience.  He needed in Years 5 and 10 to be certified ‘smart’ by IQ testing, to get the system-monkeys off our back when they wanted to pronounce him ADD and give Ritalin, or require visits with a psych.  He did withdraw socially a bit in his last 2 years and studied more.  He then produced spectacular SAT scores, all 6 tests in the range 720-800.  (I have to fight the urge to march into the Years 9 and 10 English teacher who used to pick at his essays, and wave his scores of 800 in Critical Reading and 730 in Writing (77/80 for the question section) in her smug face! - the male teacher in Years 11 and 12 helped repair the damage.) 
As a caring parent you have to run interference, always with the goal, not of protecting your child from life, but looking out those mentors who will give the benefit of the doubt and can train up your child to respond to the right stimuli.  It was a pretty constant battle for me, and until it finished I was never sure what the outcome would be, but I prayed a lot and followed my intuition and the advice of the best trained professionals.  Thus it was a pediatrician, not an educator, who advised us to get the IQ testing done to be able to stave off an ADD diagnosis.  Etc.
Sorry for the lengthy comment but I would like others to be able to benefit from our hard-won experience.

February 27, 8:39 pm | [comment link]
11. writingmom15143 wrote:

It seems like there is a lot of pain and difficulty in trying to educate our children…I heard that in the original article as well as in the comments from #9 and #10.  And what makes the situation even more confusing is that there are wonderful teachers who are doing an amazing job helping our kids to grow and learn as well.  And while I do see the continual pushing of our kids to have many negatives, I’ve also seen some positives.  So what do we do?  I guess we need to share.  Listen.  Oh…And pray without ceasing.

February 27, 10:10 pm | [comment link]
12. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

We home school and my son, who is not yet five years old, is doing Pre-K.  I had the great joy of having him make the sound of the letters for each letter in a word, while sitting on my lap, and I got to watch his face as he discovered that he could read. I work a rotating shift, so I count myself very fortunate that I was home that day and got to do that with him.  Still, if it had not been me, it would have been his mother.  In fact, a few days later, his mother watched while he read his first book.  He was so excited that he came running up to me and read a sentence from its pages. 

Ya’ll need to know that, “Tip is a pup.”  It says so, right there in my son’s book.  He is certain that it is so because he read it to me.

We pray with our children, sing hymns and songs, have daily devotions, and give them a most excellent education.  They are not subject to bullies, cliques, and long bus rides with carbon monoxide exposure, indifferent teachers, or predators while they are attending home school.  We have no fears of a Columbine incident, either.  They are active in their Church, the AWANA club, dance, and gymnastics where they meet and play with other children.  We also bring them to the playscape at the mall where they interact with all sorts of children.

It’s true that we give up the extra income we could have had from having my wife work outside the home, but we also save much by having lower taxes, less work related expenses, and no daycare costs.  All told, we are only down about $100 per month after the expenses are balanced.  So, for the loss of about $1200 a year, we don’t have our children raised by strangers, or have them programmed with secular humanist dogma, and we ensure that they receive an excellent education.  We also get to raise them in the daily nurture and admonition of the Lord.

If you can possibly do it…home school your children.  The worst day of Home School is better than the best day of Public School.

February 28, 2:00 pm | [comment link]
13. Larry Morse wrote:

How would you like to have HER for your mother? And wht will she do when it comes to - gasp - high school and then -  oh woe is me - college? The poor child, to be in the grips of a sabertoothed Mummy.
  I dunno. How did I survive childhood? My mother sent me out to play and I came back for supper. My public school has two rooms for grades 1-8, a chemical toilet and no running water. When I complained about the chemical toilet my mother said, “Be glad its indoors.”  But my childhood must have been blighted by unreality, because most of the families I knew looked EXACTLY like “Leave it to Beaver,” regardless of the family income. Strange, but I remember my childhood out in the boonies of southern New Hampshire as distinctly happy. But then, my mother forced me to take piano lessons, so there’s that.

  Odd, but someone on one of the entries commented that there was no one who would willing go back in time to suffer the pre-progress past. And it’s true, I would be dead several times over if I lived a hundred years ago, but I wouldn’t hesitate one second to go back to, say, 1860, and live them. Has anyone read a book by an attorney name Shute who wrote about his childhood (Diary of a Real Boy) in Exeter NH in the middle of the 19th C? It’s pretty funny but it matches what my grandparents told me about their childhoods.  So I died of diptheria. It’s better than dying of Alzheimer ‘s. I gladly give you progress.  Love your cell phone, y our computer, your blue tooth, your adolescent’s obsessions with e-games, Paris Hilton et al, and the mummy who headhunts a kindergarten. I’ll farm with a horse and pull lobster pots with a Friendship and die when I’m fifty.

February 28, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
14. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Larry,

I don’t want to deny your point entirely, but wouldn’t it matter where in 1860 you went back to? Rural New England sounds quite appealing, then as now, but Hell’s Kitchen at its worst or a plantation in Mississippi?

February 28, 8:03 pm | [comment link]
15. mugsie wrote:

#13 Larry, did you read my post #9? There’s always a lot more to a story than you can see on the surface. I wouldn’t be too quick to judge. Yes, there are those out there who are pushing their kids beyond their years and trying to set them on a path to an Ivy League school career. However, I doubt that’s the majority. In my experience, it’s definitely a minority. The parents I know are more concerned about the welfare and safety of their kids. They want them to have a happy and healthy schooling experience as well as getting a good education. Speaking for myself alone, that wasn’t the case for my son. The school provided all sorts of labels, bullying, rejection. sexual abuse, rejection by teachers and principals, and I could go on for quite a list.

I’ve spoken to lots of parents about the school situation due to the shock I encountered in just trying to get a “normal” uneventful school experience for my son. I don’t expect any school to be perfect, but I don’t expect all the staff and students to be allowed to railroad a child into hell either.

Like you, I have fond memories of my school days. I grew up in northern Canada. Our school was small, (about 10 classrooms), but it was a very positive experience for me. Sure, there were fights in the playground, etc. What school doesn’t have that? However, nobody, and I mean NOBODY labeled any child and tried to ram medications (amphetamines by the way) down their throats. I’ve had people red-faced and angrily yelling at me to put my son on Ritalin. Did I do it? Heck, no!!!!! I’m a registered nurse. I’m not ignorant of what those things are. Going back my own school days again, I remember all sorts of personalities in the school. Some were laid back, some were really busy and inquisitive, and some were anywhere in between. That’s just differences in personalities, NOT a condition with a label. All those kids are adults today, mostly very productive. And guess what! The ones the schools would label as “abnormal” today have turned out to be the most productive as adults, whereas a lot of the “perfect” kids ended up being losers who didn’t go very far with their lives. I’ve seen some of these “perfect” kids become alcoholics, drug addicts, bums on the streets, and welfare recipients. I find that very interesting. However, those who were inquisitive, busy (so-called “hyperactive”) have gone a long way in their education, started their own businesses, become gainfully employed and held very respectable positions in the employment area, raised good families, and given back to their communities in many areas of service. I’m drawing all of this from the kids I went to school with. I keep in touch with a lot of them. Several are still in my home town area and my parents keep me posted on what they are up to.

So, yes, the “good old days” were good as far as my schooling experience was concerned. It’s not “good” today in my experience to have a child in the public school system. It’s a very broken and abusive system. I’m not faulting the teachers, although I’ve met several who I really question should be teachers. It’s the whole system. It needs to be torn apart and overhauled from the ground up. How can that be done? I don’t know. A lot of attitudes need to be changed across the board before that can even begin.

So, please don’t make judgments like you did in your post. You don’t know this mother personally. You don’t know her twin girls. You don’t know her community and the schools there. You don’t know her personal reasons for feeling she needs to find the “right” school for her daughters. By all means share your own experiences. That may actually help someone else who’s really struggling with getting their kids into a good, safe school which won’t harm the kids.

Mugsie

February 28, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
16. writingmom15143 wrote:

Mugsie…I would certainly agree that making judgments about
people’s motivations concerning their children (especially when we don’t have all the facts) is neither helpful nor appropriate.  And as I read your posts, I’d like to ask if you, inadvertently, may also be doing that about those parents who chose medication for children with ADD in how strongly you state your negative feelings about medication. You know your child better than anyone else and your decision not to use medication (or accept a diagnosis of ADD) is just as correct as other parents who know their child just as well and choose to use medication.  Yes, Ritalin is an amphetamine or stimulant.  And that’s the piece to consider.  For a child without ADD, Ritalin would just stimulate them more, rev them up.  But for a child WITH ADD, Ritalin, a stimulant, does the exact opposite…Helps them to concentrate and focus because it is working on the chemical imbalance in the brain.  The same medication works in the opposite way because of the difference in the brain of a child with ADD.  So I guess I’ve never understood those who espouse the belief that ADD is purely a behavioral issue.  Certainly there are behavioral issues for the child to learn to manage as well and that is an important part of treating a child with ADD.
As difficult as it must have been to work through a system who
insisted on treating your son in a way that you knew was wrong, it can be equally as difficult to make a decision to choose medication for a child and then be told that you’ve made the wrong decision by
people who really have absolutely no information to make that statement but feel that they have every right to do so.
(Gosh…We’re certainly not talking about high-end kindergarten anymore…I guess the common thread that runs through this is how much we care about our kids.)

February 28, 11:44 pm | [comment link]
17. mugsie wrote:

#16, since this thread is about kindergarten/schools, I don’t want to off on a tangent about ADD. My point I was trying to make is that most public schools these days are very unwilling to allow kids to just be kids. A lot of assumptions are made about children, just because they don’t fit into the “mold” the school thinks they should fit into. The “mold” is already formed by the school for the kids. They’ve already got a preconceived idea of what is “normal” and won’t budge from it. That’s my point. That attitude is just plain WRONG!

I don’t begrudge any parent who chooses to use medication for their kids who are diagnosed with ADD. That is their choice. However, I’m still not convinced there is really any validity to the “condition” of ADD. It’s still very controversial. I’m more inclined to believe it has a lot more to do with the development of the child’s nervous system. It happens at very different rates in different children. My concern is that medication is being used as a bandaid treatment for teachers and school administrators who just don’t want to let the kids develop at their own rate. I personally believe that the medication may be doing more harm than good. A lot of research is being done on the subject, and the results are not in yet. It’s still very controversial. That is my position on ADD and I think I’ll stop there. It should answer your question. This thread is not about that.

So please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way judging parents on their own choices for their children. I may not agree with their choices, but it’s their decision to make, not mine. My concern is more with the fact that the schools like to ram these diagnoses and medications down the throats of the kids who just don’t fit into what they believe is “normal”.

My son is 13 years old now. He’s a very inquisitive young man. He’s not hyper, but very curious. He asks lot of questions, reads lots of books, and just loves to learn new things. He also loves to be mischievous at times. What boy doesn’t? I have 3 brothers and they all did their share of mischief. When my son was a young boy in the public school system he was very inquisitive then too. He wanted to touch and try everything out. This was due to “curiosity” not due to ADD or whatever other labels they tried to pin on him. He’s been homeschooled for 3 and 1/2 years now. He relates well to people of all ages. He’s still very curious about many things and the people who surround him now in the community and our church encourage him instead of trying to stifle him.

This is my reason for being very skeptical about the diagnosis of ADD. It never existed when we were kids. I gave some information in my earlier post regarding the different behaviors we used to see in school. Unless it was a very deviant or violent behavior that was clearly a concern, nobody every interfered. Kids were just kids. Boys used to get into their little fights in the playground all the time. Even some girls who were more on the tomboy side used to do this. It was just kids growing up and learning how to work out their own problems. The teachers never interfered unless someone was really getting hurt. Like I said in my earlier post, most of the kids who I witnessed to be more active, inquisitive, and whatever ended up being the most productive in their adult years. That’s been my experience. I don’t know what yours is. I’m only sharing my experience in case it may help someone else who is really struggling with their concerns about schools today. There is no judgment being made, and it may have been very presumptuous on your part to think that. I apologize if anything I’ve said has offended you in any way. That was never my intention. My only concern is about the gross judgments being made about the kids in schools today.

Mugsie

February 29, 12:18 pm | [comment link]
18. writingmom15143 wrote:

I think all of this points back to the fact that expectations for how kids behave and what they are expected to learn have drastically changed since many of us were in kindergarten/grade school (and for me, that was in the 60s…I’m old!)  K is not longer an intro to school, it’s a full-day academic environment.  As children get older, if they haven’t completed all of their homework, their recess is taken away and they have to stay inside to finish it.  Classes like phys ed, music, art, drama are the first to be modified when budget cuts are made.  Classes are often “taught to the test” rather than teaching what the teacher thinks would be the most appropriate for his/her class.  School districts insist on being measured against the world’s best but I can’t figure out how they do that when the educational systems in the US and countries like China and Japan are completely different.  Mandatory education ends earlier in other countries.  Only the top students have a chance at further schooling and the pressure not to dishonor their families is enormous.  China has the highest adolescent suicide rate in the world.  And yet we are continually being told that our students must be pushed..That they don’t measure up.  That they won’t be able to compete.  But I’ve yet to hear how we are to measure them because I don’t think there’s a universal measurement in place.  It’s almost like we’re saying to our kids..“Go on..Keep swimming..Farther..Farther..I know it’s hard.  I know you feel like you may drown but you have to go farther because that kid in China…still weighs more than you.”  So we ask more and more of younger and younger kids and then we get upset when 5 year olds can’t sit, act, learn like 9 year olds and the cycle continues.  So I don’t think it’s about the mom who’s desperately trying to find the best school for her child or parents who are looking for appropriate ways to help their kids..It’s about an educational system that, I believe, is rooted in good intentions but
has fallen into the “everything has to be bigger, better, designer label, world-recognized” trap that our country has.

One final thing concerning the last comment:  Schools cannot diagnose and medicate children.  That can only be done through the child’s pediatrician or a child psychiatrist/neurologist.

February 29, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
19. mugsie wrote:

writingmom,
Everything you say above is true. Like I said in an earlier post, the system is what’s broken, not the kids. I also said I don’t know how it can be fixed. There are just too many people in the system who just won’t change their attitudes, and that needs to come first before the system can effectively be changed. In my case, it was the head of the “special ed” department who did everything in his power to block us from getting our son out of the “special ed” classification. He kept coming up with more labels which were getting more and more ridiculous as he went along. It’s about money, not about the kids. In our case, I had already had my son evaluated and tested by an neurologist due to his speech delay. He did extensive medical tests and all came back normal. He felt our son was just developing his speech at a slower rate (he also suffered from numerous ear infections) and told us to continue with therapy and not to worry just yet. He was right. By age 3 and 1/2 he was speaking just fine. His ear infections subsided. He had tubes inserted when he was 2 and 1/2 and they worked well for him. He just needed a bit more time. Your hearing ability really affects your ability to form speech.

It kind of makes you think about all those parents who want their kids to be toilet trained by 2 years old. Most kids won’t meet that goal. In attempts to do this, the parents badger and push their kids to a breaking point. Same scenario, different problem.

The kids are just not the problem a lot of the time. The school system is to a large degree, and some parents contribute to the problem as well. They don’t teach their kids anything at home such as basic letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. They never read to them. And the biggest problem of all——they never discipline them and teach them any respect. All of this then becomes another thing the schools have to deal with, and I don’t fault them for being frustrated with it. However, when the schools encounter kids who do present a serious lack of respect, discipline, etc. and become destructive to property or other people, or are vandalizing, then the school needs to be able to discipline those kids. It needs to be nipped in the bud while the kids are still really young. The schools are just bending backwards when the parents complain about attempts to discipline their kids. The kids are given way too much leverage, and are learning no respect for authority. Not a good situation. My husband, who is a teacher, refuses to teach in a public high school due to the administration’s lack of support for the teachers when kids need to be disciplined.

You are so right. We can’t compare our schools with those in other countries of drastically different cultures. Many of those systems are built on strong cultic beliefs being dominant in their cultures, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. We can’t and shouldn’t be comparing our schools with those. The schools I went through were public schools, but very Christian based. We said the Lord’s Prayer every morning before starting classes. We sang a few children’s hymns in school before the start of the day also. We had these little soft cover hymn booklets. I remember them well. That really inspired me to want to join the choir. We did a lot with music in our school when I was a kid. We competed with a choir and soloists each year. We also competed with our school bands. A lot of discipline was learned in those activities. It was a very positive thing.

You’re right the schools today are trying to push the kids too far too fast. I don’t agree with that either. Yes, the educational system has fallen into a trap——satan’s trap. It’s about materials, money, and fame. So much has gone wrong.

On your last statement, yes, I’m aware that schools can’t diagnose and medicate children. However, they do employ a lot of “psychologists” to try to do just that. Then they try to ram their opinions down your throat. I think I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I’m a nurse. I have a 4-year degree and 17 years experience. I retired just before my youngest son was born. I’m well trained in the areas of psychology and child development. They try to tell us all sorts of garbage and expect us to believe it. I was able to see right through it, luckily. They do all this to get more kids into special ed so they will get more money. My husband knew this tactic, due to having grown up in the area, but it was all strange to me. I didn’t want to believe him. It just didn’t make any sense. Why would they want to keep a child in special ed when that child was clearly no longer in need of special ed services?  I was totally shocked at what I eventually learned about the way the schools worked here. I have 2 older children who are much older than my youngest son is. They were educated in the Canadian public school system during the 80’s and 90’s. They suffered no ill effects and were never labeled like my youngest son was. My daughter also had a delay in the development of her speech, but she was treated through the medical system in Canada with loving care by a speech pathologist. The schools were not involved. She started school when she was 4 and her speech was developed well by then.

I have no idea what it’s like now in the Canadian schools, except reports from my youngest sister and best friend who are still teachers in public schools in Canada. They both have challenges with the changes in society, but don’t believe labeling kids is appropriate. There biggest frustration is with the lack of discipline and respect in the kids today. Kids come to school with the worst language, with stealing, with total disrespect and name-calling of the teacher, and total defiance when efforts are given to discipline them. The parents just don’t care.

So, there is a lot that needs to be fixed. The mom in the article of this thread seems to be trying to do the best for her daughters, but we just don’t know her whole story. We don’t know her personal motivation for the search. It would be interesting to be able to sit down with her with a cup of coffee and hear her story.

February 29, 1:51 pm | [comment link]
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