The Mad Dash to the Middle

The Mad Dash to the Middle

It is no secret that our educational system here in the US is far behind its peers. Our investments in healthcare and education have not only fallen short, but they have also fallen short to our detriment. We are ranked 27th in the world, both in health and education. We are 38th out of 71 countries when it comes to math scores and 24th when it comes to science. While countries like Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands currently lead the way, the US continues to fall behind consistently. If the government does not like spending money on education, does that mean should just settle for living in a society where knowledge and power are only afforded by the rich? Suffering of course are the anxious poor wanting more of what they rich have, yet always receiving less? I suppose this is the curse of capitalism, but that is a topic for another day.

Under Trump’s tutelage, the current head (cough, cough) of the Department of Education Betsy Devos, supported $5.6 billion in cuts from its fiscal budget. Thankfully he backed away from his attempt to cut federal aid for the Special Olympics program. But I guess it was a little harder to sneak that one past. Sneak past whom. I’m not sure. Education and healthcare are not topics much-lamented over here in the US.

I don’t want to bash a broken educational system. But like our healthcare system, I no longer wish to be a part of it. This year, with the help of a dedicated community of self-educators, I will begin the academic instruction of my children. Now, this may sound like a lofty aspiration, or even a slow descent into madness; either way, I have no reservations about my decision. I do not want my children happily educated in the middle of a substandard bell curve, so they can graduate and be chewed up and swallowed into the belly of a capitalistic beast.

On our way to dinner the other evening, we saw a woman standing on the side of the road with a broken-down minivan. She looked tired and hot, maybe about twenty-five years old. She had taken her baby out of the warm car and sat her carrier on an even hotter concrete, while a two-year-old boy was making a run for it every time she turned her back. We passed by, and without a word, my husband circled back around. When we got to her, she was sobbing. It turns out she was a single mom living at a weekly rental motel. She had reached her limit. She was not just crying; she was sobbing. The weight of her life was taking its toll. The weight of driving across the state with no air conditioning, crying babies in the back seat, and just enough gas from her step-dad to get them home took its toll. Well, almost home. She was grateful, embarrassed, tired, scared, on her last leg. I don’t think I’ll ever forget her. Her greatest sin? She was poor and likely “uneducated” poor. She was trapped. And I can’t help but recoil knowing that we are considered a modern industrialized society. Imagine the poor, illiterate women in developing countries; it’s mindboggling.

But man, or woman, poverty and lack of education are conscious means of control. My mom always used to say, “they can take the house, or your car, they can even take your life, but they can’t take your education.” Not exactly sure who “they” are…so we’ll call them “the man!” But she was correct. Education teaches literature, math, science; this is true. A well-rounded, solid education should also teach you to think for yourself, to question everything, not to believe everything you hear or see, to examine and reflect upon everything. That will be my goal here on my homeschool page, to be the teacher and the student.
I am looking forward to this new journey.