Recently I have come across two stories about parents who are concerned about their children’s academic future. The first example is from the article “Why I’m pulling my kids out of public school” from Tampa Bay Times and the second is “Meet the ‘Brainy Bunch,’ family with 7 kids in college by age 12” from TodayParents. Now, there are a couple stark differences between the two examples, such as the parents’ reaction to their children’s education experiences.
The first article I mentioned,”Why I’m pulling my kids out of public school,” is written by Lynne Rigby, a mother of five and former teacher, who addressed a letter about her son’s experience with standardized testing to Florida Governor Rick Scott and Seminole County school officials. In this article, Rigby details the experience her third-grade son had while enrolled in a Seminole County school. Due to the looming FCAT–as well as son’s not-so-great scores on previous assessments–and AIR tests (which I assume are a state-mandated standardized tests similar to Indiana’s ISTEP and ECA), Rigby spent countless precious hours grooming her child for these tests. Or so she thought.
Fast forward to when her son’s scores are returned in the mail, with no explanation but what his answers were compared to what test officials deem the “correct” answer to each question. Now here is where the public education system, and standardized testing, is failing without even mentioning the great argument I’m sure I have shared on this blog before, which can be seen as a reminder below.
This argument is rather simple and does not take an educated official to analyze and understand: One Parents are not given the correct materials in order to benefit their students’ future, through methods such as reviewing each incorrect answer and analyzing why the correct answer is in fact correct; Two, Rigby claims states pay other states to field test their standardized tests and these officials estimate that “fifth-graders will have fourteen hours of testing,” and though I do not know if this declaration is backed by facts, it is a scary thought to mull over; and three, states are updating their curriculums without upgrading their tests to align more closely with that new curriculum. Thus, these children, bright and intelligent students, are being set up to fail from the onset. They are not given an opportunity to prove their brilliance, because even if they achieve A’s and B’s in all of their classes, they can still be assigned to remediation classes due to their test scores. Unfortunately, Seminole County school officials have lost two students due to this problem. Hopefully, this issue can be resolved before the public education system as a whole is recognized as flawed by a large number of parents who are willing to homeschool their children, such as the family we will discuss next.
Take a moment to now analyze the successes of the Harding family, who has already enrolled seven of their nine children in college by the age of 12. At first I didn’t understand how this was possible, but then I read the key piece of information that made the impossible possible: homeschooling. This is the same solution Lynne Rigby discovered for her disappointment in Common Core and it is the same idea that enabled Heath, Serennah, Rosannah, Hannah, Keith, Seth, and Katrinnah Harding to achieve a high school diploma and conquer the fears of college by the age of twelve. These children–because yes, most are still in fact children–have accomplished by age 16 what takes most to achieve in 22 years. Is this what is the future of our education system, where parents have to take matters into their own hands to ensure their students’ success and bypass all of the formalities that seem to only hold a student back?
Unfortunately we cannot blame educators. We can’t even blame school administrators or other officials. This is a problem trickling down specifically from the state and federal governments. Though we cannot pull every single child out of public school, and I’m not even suggesting that is a beneficial solution to the problem, we can write letters to officials such as Lynne Rigby. Inform your state representatives and governors that you are disappointed in the current system. Pressure them to change their ways of measuring your students’ academic capabilities. Facilitate a professional conversation that renders solutions to this issue or at the very least brings attention to the flaws of Common Core and other standardized testing.
I’m writing my letter now.