Parents’ Complaints — Arrogant Public Schools Turn a Deaf Ear

School authorities continually claim that they want more parent cooperation and participation in their children’s education. They complain when parents don’t show up for parent-teacher conferences or push their children to do their homework.

Yet this constant cry for parent cooperation is often a smoke screen pretense to make parents think they have some control over their children’s education. In most cases, parents have no such control. Teachers and principals may placate parents or ask for their cooperation, but they rarely make the important changes parents ask for.

For example, most parents want their children to learn to do basic arithmetic without using calculators as a crutch. A poll by Public Agenda found that 86 percent of parents want students to learn arithmetic by hand before they use calculators. However, the math-teaching policy for most public schools today is that all children beginning in kindergarten have access to calculators at all times to do math problems.

Most school districts make important teaching-method or curriculum decisions in secret, without parents’ knowledge or approval. A parent’s only recourse is to complain to principals or school authorities after these authorities have dictated their curriculum or teaching methods, and the parent sees the damage to their children. Unfortunately, such complaints are often futile.

Most parents don’t realize that school authorities don’t want their opinion. Too often, school authorities ignore parents’ suggestions or complaints because they truly believe they are the experts and parents are just annoying amateurs. As a result, some teachers, principals, or administrators feel insulted when parents make suggestions or complaints. Many school officials believe parents should not have any real input in their children’s education. That is one reason why school authorities hold their committee meetings in secret.

Another reason is that school authorities fear that parents will complain about certain classes and curriculum subjects. For instance, many public schools have introduced classes and books about homosexuality into elementary and high-school sex-education classes. When parents find out about these classes, they frequently complain to the school principal and local politicians. To avoid these complaints, public schools often try to keep secret from parents what they teach in these sex-ed classes.

Moreover, teachers, principals, and school authorities don’t have to listen to those amateur, irritating parents who complain that their kids can’t read. Public-school employees get tenure after a few years. That means, in effect, that it’s almost impossible to fire them, no matter how bad or even mediocre they are. If you couldn’t be fired, would you care about parent’s complaints? That’s why they don’t, and that’s why public-school teachers or principals can be arrogant or indifferent to parent’s legitimate complaints.

Parents, the solution is to stop hitting your head against the brick wall of arrogant public-school employees. Just walk around the wall and don’t look back. That is, consider taking your children out of public school and find real education choice and control in the education free-market. Consider homeschooling or some of the many quality, low-cost, K-12 Internet private schools listed in the Resource section of “Public Schools, Public Menace.”

4-Year Colleges vs Technical Schools: Your Choice

College is not for everyone, but that does not mean you shouldn’t pursue some sort of higher education or job training. When you think about your future, what do you envision? Are you doing something you love, or are you just working for a paycheck?

If you are one of the many who is trying to make a decision about where to spend your money and invest your future, read on. This article provides a comparison of 4 year colleges and technical schools. Which one is right for you?

How to choose between 4-year colleges and technical schools:

Ask yourself these questions and then consider the benefits and disadvantages of each type of school.

What are your goals? Do you have a specific career goal? What are your educational goals? Do you want to learn as much as you can about a variety of subjects? Do you want to learn as much as you can about one specific topic (become an expert)?

What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Would you benefit from a shorter more targeted program?

Lifestyle. How will school fit into your life? Would you benefit from non-traditional scheduling such as online, evening, or distance learning? 4-year colleges and technical colleges both offer such options, but it varies by school so check with any schools you are interested in attending.

What do you need? Realistically, what sort of degree or training do you need to pursue your dreams? Research your desired field–know what the requirements are and how they compare to the programs you are considering. The US Department of Education website offers resources for career and training research.

Be a consumer. Check equipment; is it new and up-to-date? How does it compare to the equipment you will be using on the job? Trust me, this can be tedious but it is quite important. After graduation I realized I should have taken more time to research the computer programs employers expected me to know for technical writing jobs. Had I been better informed, I could have taken extra courses dealing specifically with those programs.

Investigate the following: campus size, current and former students, faculty and staff;

Find out if the school is accredited and licensed; Do they make extraordinary claims? Will your credits be transferable?

4-year Colleges

Some people like to learn just for the sake of learning, while some are more focused and driven and use school as a steppingstone for job advancement. If you are interested in more scholarly pursuits a traditional 4-year college might be your best option.

Benefits: liberal arts training applies to many fields, diverse topics to explore, prestige, “college life”

Disadvantages: expensive, time consuming, may get degree in area you no longer wish to pursue, high admission standards and prerequisites, job market may be slower upon graduation-may require additional training

Technical Schools

If college was for everyone, technical schools would not exist. Some people may feel a stigma is attached to technical schools. In a society where attending college has become standard, we lose sight of the value of skills training. People feel abnormal and may be angry if they don’t want to go to college but feel pressured to do so anyway.

Benefits: shorter duration, focused programs, easier admission standards, flexible scheduling, certifications not necessarily offered at 4-year colleges, hands on training

Disadvantages: may be viewed as less prestigious, can be expensive, may be less room for exploration of other subjects, accreditation, for-profit institutions

Many of the fastest growing jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree but do require post-secondary education (education beyond high school) These jobs include:

o Medical Assistants

o Social and human service assistants

o Home health aides

o Medical records and health information technicians

o Physical therapist aides

o Physical therapist assistants

o Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors

o Veterinary technologists and technicians

o Hazardous materials removal workers

o Dental hygienists

o Occupational therapist aides

o Dental assistants

o Personal and home care aides

o Self-enrichment education teachers

o Occupational therapist assistants

o Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

o Preschool teachers, except special education

o Respiratory therapists

For more information on job growth statistics see the Bureau of Labor Statistics webpage.

Remember, the best way to determine what is right for you is to simply know yourself and be informed.