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May 10, 2010

Evaluating the Quality of Your Child's Education

1184809_six_books Today is Inflatables Day at my daughter's school.  You know, those blow up bounce house things.  The school or PTA annually rents a half dozen inflatables and the kids take turns playing in them all day.  The event is funded by the money received for all the endless fundraisers during the year – wrapping paper, cookie dough, coupon books, candy, etc. 

Next week is the orchestra field trip and sixth grade track meet. The following week is the museum field trip, grade-level play day, and choir field trip. You get the idea.  You see, the state-mandated achievement tests in science, math, and language arts are finished in Texas.  So the playing begins. 

I have mixed feelings about the quality of education my daughter is currently receiving.  One part of me believes that children should have plenty of time to play and be children.  Another part of me believes that there is entirely too much “fluff” in my daughter's school day.

We teach so much to “the test” that once that is complete in April, there doesn't seem to be any new material taught.  For the last month, I have asked my daughter to tell me one new thing she learned that day.  She has been unable to do so.  Her response was always the same, “We are reviewing for the TAKS test.”

Our neighborhood public schools are considered the best in the district.  But does that really insure a child is being academically stimulated?  Yet, I am not ready to give up on our public school system.

A friend, with a gifted child, moved to another state a couple of years ago.  She was excited that for the first time, her child would be able to attend a public school specifically for gifted children.  After the move, she excitedly exclaimed that her child, finally being challenged, was thriving.  Yet recently, she emailed to say that the same child was ready to quit school.  Apparently, a semester long intensive project was over the top.  My friend decided the work level might just be a too much for any child.

So, what is the answer?  I want my daughter to have a daily recess, but to be taught new material during the last six weeks of school.  I don't think that is asking too much.  If not, why not take her out of school and take the summer vacation early?  We could certainly beat the crowds!

This is an original 50-Something Moms Blog.  Debbie also blogs at Diaries of an Older Mom