Friday, February 10, 2017

my (really odd) K-12 journey

There are some people posting their K-12 journey on Facebook, particularly those who proudly went to public schools. This seems to be part of the opposition (and often-hysterical response) to Betsy DeVos' nomination as Secretary of Education. Because she advocates for school choice-- through charters (public schools with more flexibility) and vouchers (the GI Bill for K-12)-- the crony capitalists in this arena and partisans have risen in vocal opposition.
The flavor of much of this is ironic. These reforms are about providing choice-- to allow competition in markets and to allow choice for individuals. If you consider yourself "pro-choice" in general-- or on the only issue where a lot of people are "pro-choice"-- perhaps you will consider allowing others (particularly the poor and marginal) to exercise a choice that you didn't choose, through charters and vouchers.

Where did I go to school in K-12?
I had a really strange path through 11 schools over 10 years of grades 1-12! (I skipped two grades, so I only had ten years. My college path was interesting too, including getting kicked out of school for bad grades after my third semester at George Mason. And I only had a GPA over 3.5 once after 9th grade.)

1.) Kentucky Country Day (Louisville, secular private)
2.) Sacred Heart (Louisville, Catholic)
3.) ?? (Pittsburgh, public, repeating a year in terms of material)
4.) Sacred Heart (catching me back up)
5.) Flanders (rural NY, skipped a grade)
6.) GB Davis
7.) Franklin Academy MS (skipped a grade)
8.) Notre Dame (Catholic)
9.) Franklin Academy HS (public)
10.) Chantilly HS (Fairfax, VA; public)
11.) Robinson HS (public)

In all, I didn't have two years in one school until my junior and senior years in HS. I went to four schools between May 1973 and January 1974. We moved from Pittsburgh back home to Louisville to Malone, NY-- and then moved from a rental house to a house in Malone. Most of the moves were us moving cities or houses (to #3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11). The move to #2 was caused by a fire at #1. Two moves were from elementary to middle and middle to high school (#7, 9). #8 was to get to a better school

For our four boys, we've done everything, as appropriate to what was best for them and our ability to provide with a professor's salary: public, Christian private, Catholic private, and homeschooling. We had pre-K and K in private (and a bit of Head Start for boy #3 with modest learning disabilities). We had two years of public, until we got through a year of a "pass the trash" teacher for #1 in 2nd grade. Then, we homeschooled for three years. Then, we couldn't do that effectively anymore, especially with three boys in school and #3's challenges. Then, we used private Catholic through 8th grade. In high school, we've done 2.5 years of private for one boy, but the rest of it will probably be public (if that's what's best). What's best for each-- and for our family-- has varied over time. Maybe this is more evident to us, given our two adoptions. But we're thankful to have been able to exercise choice for our boys.

As a final aside, of the 20 folks we surveyed one day when I was in grad school at A&M (PhD's or future PhD's), 19 had attended Catholic schools. The other was raised in a predominantly-Muslim country.


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