Saturday, May 30, 2009

Professional Public School Teacher Arrested for Theft From the PTA

A former Pascagoula elementary school teacher has been arrested in Mobile and charged with the theft of $20,000 from a Mobile elementary school PTA before she came to work in Pascagoula.

Jacqueline Johnson-Paige of Mobile is accused of using the Craighead Elementary School PTA debit card to book about a dozen hotel rooms and to rent a storage facility while employed at the Mobile school and acting as the teacher and PTA treasurer from January 2004 to August 2006, according to the Mobile County District Attorney’s office.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reflections on Homeschooling Part II ~The Annoyance Factor

Amy Platon's ranting about a Home School Epidemic? on her blog Scribble Ink Cafe and in the Orlando Sentinel My Word: Amy Platon: Home-schoolers, don't quit system is a prime example of those annoying people homeschoolers will have to deal with. ( See Dana Hanley's charming rebuttal Should homeschoolers stick with the system? at Principled Discovery). She's typical of those who know nothing about homeschooling but feel their ill formed opinion about homeschooling is worthy of broadcasting, thus perpetrating those infuriating homeschool stereotypes (more of my post on homeschool stereotypes can be found here).

As an involved parent, I have elected the public school route. I could never home school my child because I personally don’t think it’s fair to him. He would have to put up with me all day, and as much as we love each other, that would be too much of a good thing. Also, I don’t think I’m qualified. I pay professionals to do lots of things in my life, and when we are talking about my child’s education, I feel I’m better as a support. Then there is the social factor. I know my boy would never forgive me if I told him he couldn’t go to school. He’s made too many great friends there.

There in nothing unfair about choosing to homeschool your child. I would never question another parents decision to send their child to public school and find it highly offensive that Ms. Platon chooses to question my decision to homeschool. I am not sure what planet Ms. Platon lives on but the majority of homeschool parents do not stay home alone all day "putting up with their kids". We join homeschool co-ops, homeschool groups, go on field trips and sign our children up for recreational sports leagues, Boy/Girl Scouts and a whole host of other activities.

Some people choose to engage professionals for a host of things that other individuals choose to tackle on their own. I have been blessed with a husband who can do a multitude of task; plumbing, wiring, fixing computers, laying tile, painting, building greenhouses and working on our vehicles that others choose to pay professionals to do. Just because you choose to engage a professional doesn't mean that another family should have too.

Then Ms. Platon brings up the socialization issue (more post on socialization here). Did her son not have friends until he started school? Homeschooled children play with the children in their neighborhood, with other homeschooled children at park days and other homeschool get togethers, and the children who participate in the various other activities they participate in. As they grow older they keep in touch with their friends via cell phones and the Internet. Socialization is so not a issue.

The part of this growing home-school trend that worries me, is that we will end up with adults who have learned that if the system is not good enough, then leave it. If the work’s not good enough, do it yourself. If you fear it, quit.

Does she really expect parents to keep their children in an inferior system if there is something better available just because it's what the majority of parents choose to do? Would she really put up with a shoddy job by a professional IF she could do it better? And does she really think parents should put their children in harms way?

Ms. Platon's attitude is indicative of the morass that has lead to the economic woes Americans are currently embroiled in. Our grandparents generation and to some extent our parents generation had a "can do" attitude that is sadly lacking in most of today's generation. Once most people performed most of their own home and automotive maintenance, a man/woman who was handy around the house was admired. Today being able to "hire someone" to do the work is viewed as a mark of success and the handy man is held in disdain by the Ms. Platon's of the world.

Home-schooled children are kept all to themselves, and others like them, unable to influence the kids who really need it. If you are a good parent, then be a good parent and send your child out into the world so he can make a difference. I will speak for my son, we (the future society) need you to be check in with the rest of us. We need to grow together. We need to learn from each other.

Oh please, homeschoolers are a very diverse group (more post on homeschool diversity here), and homeschooled children are NOT kept all to themselves. Why is it that non-homeschoolers believe homeschoolers live in some sort of bubble? Homeschoolers are involved in their communities and are involved in volunteer work, believe me homeschoolers do make a difference and we don't need the sanctimonious public school Mom Amy Platon to tell us the importance of being engaged involved citizens.

So that said, I’ll tell you how I settle my personal fears, with the public school what-ifs. I volunteer in my child’s class. I help the teacher where she needs it, and I get to know the other kids in the class. I encourage play dates with his classmates, so I can get to know other parents. I go to all the birthday parties we are invited to.

Her naivety is amusing I wonder what she is going to do when her child is older and she is no longer welcome in the classroom.

I help my child with areas where he needs improvement at home. I help him excel in key areas at home and over the summer.

Jeez I wonder if she realizes how contradictory that statement is, she does not think she is qualified to homeschool but works with her child in key areas after school and over the summer.

And finally, I've turned off the news! I Avoid it at all costs!

Well there is an intelligent attitude ignore the news, yep I am sure that if she ignores all the bad things that happen in her child's public school and the rest of the world they will just go away.

If this post reaches even one parent confused about this issue, I hope I have inspired you to stay involved in your community by participating in the public school system.

You don't have to participate in the public school system to be involved in your community. Unfortunately if some confused parent did read her post all they came away with was erroneous homeschool stereotypes and misinformation.

Written by a former homeschool parent whose children are now in college.