Last Friday night I took Maggie to ballet class and afterwards went to La Madeline's for "girl's night out." While we were sitting in the studio lobby I got to chatting with a couple of fellow ballet moms. It was a pretty ho-hum discussion until one lady started in about the upcoming cuts in the county's education budget. Apparently her gifted 4th grader has to be bussed 45 minutes and she is already started worrying about what to do when he "runs out of math classes in 10th grade." Come on! I thought this woman was joking, but apparently she is convinced that her kid will have exhausted all of the county's resources in the year 2015. I did mention aloud the possibility of dual enrollment option at community college.
Then the other lady started in about her 2nd child who is in once a week speech therapy and was recently informed that her child doesn't have enough disability to qualify for more services. "She can't talk! I pay taxes, I can't believe they won't do more for her!" I brought up the idea of asking for suggestions of exercises, reading some books to get other ideas, and working with her daughter at home, but this was rebuffed.
Then I shut my mouth, for I understood that complaining about the system while doing nothing to change one's own situation is a form of recreation for these women as well as millions of their ilk. Those of us who homeschool might have complained or been frustrated in the past, but we didn't just gripe. We took some initiative and did something about our children's education. We have researched methods and materials, outlined a scope and sequence, organized our materials and our lives, and actually teach our kids. Having children means having responsibilities: helping them reach their educational goals, feeding them spiritually, taking care of their physical needs, and showing them how much they are loved and valued. If we pawn off all these responsibilities onto some government institution we have no right to complain about how poor a job they are doing. I just hope that sooner rather than later these moms will decide that the public school system is not designed for children who are not perfectly average and break free from just complaining and do something about it.