10–I taught at the middle school level.
11–I am confused–are you referring to the family of my only white student. I think you are, which is interesting, because although the school I taught at was 99% black, it was not a poor school, financially or academically. I realize that people frequently use city schools as synonymous to poor education and black population, but such was not the case.
Muckraker Report: One place where race plays a significant role today, I think, is in education. Our inner city schools, many of which are predominately black, are in dismal shape. What do you think can be done to alleviate the situation?
Congressman Ron Paul: A good place to start would be to get rid of the bureaucratic control of education by the federal government, which has grown to gargantuan proportions in recent years. Many people in America don’t realize that most of the money they send to the federal government for education is never returned to the local schools. It’s extremely inefficient. Far less than half of each tax dollar is spent on our children’s education. Federal funding also comes with strings attached. The more money we give to Washington, the more power we give to education bureaucrats to decide the policy. Local schools are forced to carry the burden, even if it means accepting one-size-fits all education policies that aren’t in the children’s best interests. I’m for returning the power to the people to decide what’s best for their children in terms of education, and I have a steady track record in Congress of supporting legislation that seeks to do just this.
Of all the places we’ve lived that place just outside of downtown St. Louis has been our favorite for a multitide of reasons. I think it was important for my children to live and go to church in an economically (and consequently racially) diverse area. Opportunities to serve abounded for both us and our children. I lament the fact that every job I’ve had since then has had me working and living in the burbs (not that there’s anything wrong with that– it’s just less right).
When it came to volunteering in the school my wife became a real busybody. I think she wanted to be around to make sure that our decision paid dividends. She convinced my daughter’s teacher to contact all the parents in her class and find out who would be willing and available to volunteer. She then got the contact info for those two other sets of parents and organized a volunteer schedule that included trading child care (we had other small children in the home). A lot of it required some serious leaps of faith in human nature but I think learning to trust the inherent goodness in people is a valuable, Christ-like attribute. Her activity at our children’s schools has since followed us everywhere we’ve lived.]]>
Take the time you spouse would spend home-schooling and have here volunteer that time in the classroom.
That is certainly a good option. I know people who do this with great success. However, if you have younger children at home (I don’t know if you do) this can be difficult and take away from the time they need. Homeschooling with younger children is difficult as well, but there is value in the family time together and what the siblings can learn from each other. My little ones sit at the table with the older ones and color and do puzzles. It’s amazing the things they pick up — and it’s all in fun. They are eager and excited to do more as they grow up.
By the way, I loved your story endless and what you were able to do. We’ve often thought about renovating a downtown home someday to help revitalize the city.]]>
Less than a decade ago I placed my family in a similar situation. We move to the St. Louis area (where my wife was born and raised) for my career. I was going to be working downtown but I’m not a big fan of commuting long distances (I’m a firm believer in limiting communtes to no more than 15 minutes) which meant that to keep my commute to a minimum we were going to essentially have to live downtown. My wife was apalled at the idea (she’s a natural suburbanite) fisrt using the crime card then the school system card to argue for moving to the burbs. I used insurance rate comparisons to rebut the first argument and allayed her second one by pointing out that when our children were ready to start school we could send them to private school. We built an historical replica home in an historic district of the city and for the first year we were the only “white folks” living in the neighborhood. A year later there were a handful of other “white” housholds in the neighborhood. Our real estate agent told us that a white lesbian couple with an adopted child decided to purchase a home in the neighborhood specifically because they saw us outside one evening playing with our own two (at the time) children on our front lawn. Today that neighborhood is what you might call diverse and property values have skyrocketed. When we first moved there the schools were abysmal and still are– the Fed Govt took over administration last year. When it was time for our daughter to enter KG my wife initially pushed for private school– especially since that’s the route taken by our new neighbors who happened to be black. Rather than take the easy route out (we could afford private school) I investigated the local elementary school and spoke with some teachers. Although located in an “iffy” area I determined that the school itself was a safe place and that the teachers, though strained for resources and with little support from most children’s households, were dedicated to teaching. I miraculously convinced my wife to go along if only temporarily. As it turns out our daughter did just fine finishing KG and half of 1st grade in that public school. In fact, when we moved to Minnesota (a state known for it’s public education system) my daughter was way ahead of her classmates in what is considered the top public school district in Minnesota (Wayzetta).
Tom, I think you’re selling your family’s impact short and overestimating the negative consequences of sending your child to an inner-city school. If you and your spouse truly value education then so will your child. Get involved at the school. Take the time you spouse would spend home-schooling and have here volunteer that time in the classroom. I think you should at least give the local school system a shot. If it becomes appearant that it is failing your child then find other alternatives. I apologize for being so verbose but this is a subject near and dear to my heart.]]>
i worry that i’m not organized enough to homeschool, but thought we might do a kindergarten trial run this year. i’ve done some looking around, but have yet to figure out what i’m doing. anyone want to point me in a direction?!]]>