Saturday, September 5, 2015

Desdemona Stares Them Down

 Homeschool Rant #1:  The Inefficiency of Public Education

“That I did love the Moor to live with him,
My downright violence and storm of fortunes
May trumpet to the world.”  -Desdemona

My kids waste so much time during the day at school.  They commute over an hour on the bus to and from home.  They sit in class all day waiting for bells to ring.  They waste time moving from one classroom to another, from one teacher to another, who stands in front of them wasting even more time until everyone is seated and has steadied themselves for study.  A preposterous amount of time just waiting for a room full of thirty students to…you guessed it… BE QUIET!  And don’t get me started about waiting in line.  
 “My heart’s subdued
Even to the very quality of my lord.”  -Desdemona

School Lines!
It’s unfathomable how much time is wasted in a child’s day just standing in line.  If you break it down… a child probably spends at least 45 minutes a day just standing in line.  Students wait in line by the door for the class to be quiet so they can go to recess.  Students wait in line on the playground so they can return quietly to class.  Students wait in line in the library, in the cafeteria, in the gym, in the music room, in the hallway, at the assembly, at the art room (if they’re lucky and well funded), at the bus stop, at the after school study group… it never ends.   What is this preparing them for?  A lifetime of DMV visits?  
 “I saw Othello’s visage in his mind,
And to his honour and his valiant parts
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.”  -Desdemona

Of course, school administrators will preach “Transitions.”  It is important that children learn the basic fundamentals of transitioning from one activity to another.  This is crucial to (add another to their favorite educational jargon) “Socialization.”  (please cringe)  If the average parent shadowed their child at school with a stop-watch, they would discover that about 45 minutes to an hour a day is spent in “transitioning” from one activity to another.  From, “Take out your math books and turning to page…” to “Close your history journals and put back in your…”  Seriously, an hour a day?  Wouldn’t you like to have an hour a day miraculously returned to you?  Wouldn’t you like to use that time for anything other than... transitioning?
“The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
And I a heavy interim shall support
By his dear absence. Let me go with him.”  -Desdemona

Conclusion: How much time in your child’s day is actually devoted to learning?  If two or three hours a day is spent standing, waiting, and wandering around?  It’s maddening. If a student were truly organized, without the distraction of transitioning, waiting in line, or commuting, couldn’t they finish their entire daily required course work in this allotted bureaucracy?  
I think about Desdemona, standing in front of the Duke, her father, and the men who wish to marry her, and choosing Othello.  Her courage in the face of overwhelming condemnation.  I like Desdemona, I wish others had her strength and conviction.  

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