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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Here We Go!

The boys have one more day of summer holidays and then they return to school. Gibson is entering grade 2 and Oliver will be going to grade 5 this year. I get more and more relaxed as the years go by. I knew with Oliver that he would settle in as he grew more mature. He had a challenging time socially and behaviourally in the first few years of school, but by the middle of grade 3 those issues disappeared. He still wants to work fast and not necessarily well, despite being capable of better, but that too is improving. Hey, when my kid consistently cites Math as his favorite subject, I am going to be happy about it. Gibson has been a bit of a surprise as he seemed more mature socially than Oliver but the end of last year and this summer has shown a crankier and less cheerful child. I know some of the crankiness is a frustration with others when they do not get things as quickly as he does, but it is not going to serve him well in school. Academically he excels, and I want that to continue, but his social impatience needs to be tempered a bit. I think grade 2 will be challenging for him in this regard. We shall see. I expected smooth sailing from him behaviourally, but I think I should never ever plan for kids to be as I predict.

I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but a blog post by one of the Edmonton Journal writers has me cranky.

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/08/30/the-best-choice-for-your-childs-school-is-most-likely-the-local-school/

I know that it is opinion, but I am annoyed by the push for community school when Edmonton has designed their system based on program based education. The community school model works when all the schools are not program based, but when you want something different for your child they don't always work. For example, in my case I wanted French Immersion for my kids. I also wanted strong arts education and good physical education. I 'assume' that with public schools that the basic educational needs will be met in any school (reading, writing and arithmetic...). After all, that is what the Alberta Education Curriculum guidelines guarantee. Now, I can meet the arts education and physical education needs outside of school by using my own resources. I cannot, however, do French Immersion outside the school, therefore I had to make my choice based on the delivery of that program. I also know people who have children with specialized education needs who have home schooled or who have sought programs that met those needs. Not their community schools. Another interesting point I would like to make is that OUR Community school is just as far away if not further than the non-community, program based school our kids attend. The closest school is the Mandarin school... So there are no advantages such as proximity. For many kids in Edmonton the closest school is still a 45 minute bus ride away without even taking into consideration the programs offered. The article is written without thinking about the realities of how our schools are programmed and how the schools themselves are laid out. It doesn't take into account the needs of language based immersion programs (late immersion is possible, but not preferable). Anyhow, it bugged me. It also bugged me because when the writer posed his question on Twitter the night before posting his blog, I responded with my reasons for program choice, but he only responded to those people who were rah-rahing the community school choice. I think he was only looking for agreement - not really exploring the value to both options. I know that the community school is NOT the best place for my children to learn and I know many others who have different reasons for not choosing the community school and I feel that they are equally right in their choices.

2 comments:

Annemarie said...

It's interesting - I don't think he really made his point in the article - particularly with the example he gave of loading his child up and going to a different school himself until they moved to a new area. He blamed his initial life dissatisfaction on the fact that other parents took their kids to schools outside the community, but maybe the difference now is that he's in a different (nicer / better) community. Chicken and egg sort of thing....

Also, with your assumption, you do blow right past the reason he gives for some parent's decision to change schools based on provincial test scores. I THINK his argument is really against the pressure to move for this reason in which case given your base 'assumption' you're actually in agreement with him.

It wasn't a very well written piece....

Finster said...

And yet they put it on the front page today...

It totally disregards the way the Edmonton School System is designed. They moved to program based education to make the money work better. Now people who don't understand it just want to do community schooling (which exists) but those are the schools that are dying because parents who shop around go elsewhere.

Personally I think we have a lot parents in that situation who want their 'choice' of community school but to maintain that they want to take away the 'choice' of other parents who might want other programming for their kids. So its a 'you can have choice but only if it agrees with and helps to fund my choice' attitude.