Monday, April 20, 2015


There was a time when I cared more about social norms. And then my daughter hit middle school. It's hard enough to have a child in middle school going through the transformation from child to teen, without also having to deal with a school culture of requirements at every turn.

  • the culture of high stakes testing
  • the culture of the Superintendent's Vision 2018
  • the culture of appropriate behavior
  • the culture of appropriate dress

My daughter has had a few exceptional teachers who light up her day with the joy of learning. Most have been in the good to very good category. Luckily only a very few have been just plain dreadful. But the overall environment of the school has become increasingly limiting. At a time when I long to see her valued, supported, challenged, and championed, instead I see her, along with her peers, face censure, annoyance, apathy, inflexibility.

I have come to the point where I almost don't care about the rules anymore. And I am, and always have been, an almost religious rule-follower. The term "goody-two shoes" has been used on me, more than once. But I realized over the weekend, in a conversation about the school dress code, that words like modest and indecent mean almost nothing to me anymore. In fact, they kind of make me sick.

Everything about what makes public education worthwhile has been turned on its head. Tests are more important than teaching. Vision Goals are more important than learning. "Appropriate behavior" (conformity) is more important than learning independence, self-confidence and self-reliance. Appropriate dress is more important than the person inside the clothes.

My daughter is now a teenager, and I have become a rebel. Please tell me high school is better than this.






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