Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Education opportunities in Bloomington

It is pretty much acknowledged that the current state of education is not great. I don't know if I'd go so far as calling it abysmal in general, but there is so much to be sad about. There have been articles and articles and more articles written about the loss of creativity and innovation in education, about how our children are learning rote information to pass a test but not the skills needed to compete in the 21st century.

There are lots of ideas about how to change education. There are even alternatives to traditional public schools. There are several options even in Bloomington: Harmony School, The Project School, New Tech High School. I think it's great there are alternatives here.

But. I think our family is in a similar position to a lot of people in town. We just can't afford to pay tuition for 13 years of elementary, middle and high school. New Tech is part of MCCSC, but that's a long way away. Harmony School sounds wonderful, but when we've scrimped to afford preschool and have to save up for college, and we have tax dollars paying for the local public schools... well, 8% of monthly income for 1 kid or 12% for 2 is just more than we could swing.

And there are those tax dollars we are paying for our public schools. Are they perfect? No. Do they need improving? I'd say yes. But I want to see some of the innovations of private alternative schools, at least the ones that are doing a good job, be incorporated into our public schools rather than just see those who can afford it jump ship leaving a sub-par education for the rest of us.

Can we recognize that all this testing and teaching to the test is not the answer? We've tried it and survey says it's not working. Can we actually work to fix our public schools? Private, charter, alternative or religious - all these other schools aren't necessarily better. Some are and we need to look at what works. Some aren't and we need to learn from that too.

But this system is broken. And my kids will be starting school in the next couple of years. I just hope we can inspire them to be creative and explore and find science and art and music and all the stuff that's lost these days fascinating. I'm thankful we have things like Mythbusters to show them that science can be fun and Khan Academy to help them when their teachers are too busy trying to control 30 kids. We have resources in town because of IU and Ivy Tech that will hopefully inspire the boys.

2 comments:

  1. I've struggled with this before I even had kids. I knew while still attending primary school that I was getting a sub-par education, that these skills wouldn't keep competitive with the world-wide market, and that if I was going to be educated, I would have to do it myself. I became my own best motivator and teacher and I took classes that weren't required in college, but that were fun and interesting and would contribute to a well-educated person.

    Anyway, that's why we are going the homeschool route. Private schools have their own problems. Even my beloved Montessori has it's own issues. Homeschooling has it's own issues, but I would feel the most comfortable if I can control that aspect of my children's lives at least. It's all about what's best for the kids.

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  2. I know I don't have the patience to homeschool. My boys are better off in the local schools, which aren't bad, than at home. And we're districted to one of the best elementary schools in the district.

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