Thursday, November 13, 2008

Warning: Rant Ahead

My entire professional career has been focused on public education, in one way or another. I come from a family where nearly everyone was involved in public education - teachers, administrators, classroom aides, even custodians. So it's fair to say that I believe deeply in our public school system, and sincerely believe that public schools can be - and should be -the foundation of our democratic society.

But every now and then, I get so angry at the public school system that every fiber of my being bristles. Now is one of those times. Because we have reached the point, in the never-ending quest for achievement and accountability, that kids in school can no longer afford to get sick. Son #2 has had a fever, sore throat and a nasty cold for several days now, but because of the homework backlog can no longer afford the luxury of staying home to nurse himself back to health. He's already fallen behind, and another day away from school will just exacerbate the problem.

This is insanity. It's shameful. And everyone in the system with good intentions who has laid a brick in this road to hell - and I don't excuse any small role I may have played - should take a deep, long look in the mirror and ask themselves whether it's really worth it.

3 comments:

Mona said...

Aren't his teachers posting the homework assignments on the school website so kids can pick up the homework online and do it at home while they're sick? He can even email his homework back so it's done on time. Is this not an option?

Jeff said...

It is, but when the kid in question is so sick that he can barely stand up, much less work on 3 hours of homework, that doesn't help much. I'm not looking for miracles, just a little understanding and accommodation.

Mona said...

It doesn't seem like it would be that tough to give the kid an extra week or so to get caught up, especially with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up. I guess it's better to send the sick ones to school to spread their germs to the others. Sheesh. What a system.