I’m currently in my open office hours, meaning that my office door is wide open, for anybody to drop by. Just a few moments ago, as I kneeling on the floor, sorting through books, the mom of one of my students from Fall 2005 dropped by to thank me for being her daughter’s teacher.
I remember her daughter — an intelligent, kind, devoutly Christian girl, entirely homeschooled all the way up to high school. Her first experience of public education was this past Fall, at the community college I teach at. And, as it turns out, I was her favorite teacher.
Public education *can* work, if only teachers can have the freedom to make it work. Teachers on the college level take that freedom for granted, I think, whereas teachers on the primary and secondary level are hamstrung with all of these regulatory crap. It takes a strong principal and superintendent with cajones to make public schools do what they’re supposed to do — educate kids. Not train them, not prep them to pass state-mandated tests, not be a pawn in cultural ideologies. But to educate them.
The fact that my student was homeschooled her *entire* pre-college years and was *more* prepared for college than many of her publicly-educated classmates is testimony to the state of public education these days.
The fact that her mother thanked me is testimony of what the public post-secondary school can give as a model to public pre-college school.
Her mom, by the way, is taking classes at the college I teach at (which is why she’s on campus). She’s taking them for fun. With a pre-secondary teacher like that, no wonder her daughter’s doing fine in college.
“Thank you,” she said. “I was worried about her first experience in college, and she loved your class.”