Budget Cuts, Part 2

There are so many contradictory ideas in how we run our schools. The idea that they can make kindergarten a half day must be based on a belief that kindergarten is like it was 40 years ago: just play and art and getting used to the school environment. That’s not a bad idea to have kindergarten be that way but somewhere since I was a kid the powers that be changed the rules. Today, kindergarten is like first grade used to be. The standards include significant achievements in math and reading/writing. Kindergarten today is a critical foundation for the rest of elementary school. But there’s no way those skill get taught in half a day, certainly not unless the kindergarten schedule gets very, very academic. So suddenly, even kids who have a chance to be prepared for first grade aren’t.

I was talking to a friend this morning. He’s very much the ‘pillar of the community’ type, yet he brought up the idea that all this may well drive significantly more people to homeschool. Private school is tough because, as you mention, this all comes at a time when private financial resources are tight too. What’s particularly sad about that is the area where the school system is failing children most systematically is in low SES areas. It seems to me that families in such situations have the least options. In many cases neither homeschooling or private school are options. They’re stuck with what public school provide.

I believe government generally does a pretty mediocre job at what it does. I’m ok with that. It’s usually better than the alternatives and it’s the nature of big, political organizations. But this situation, if it plays out as threatened, seems like one that’ll be much worse than mediocre. That’s bad enough on the face of it but when I consider that this is kids lives we’re discussing, like you, it makes me very angry and sad.

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