Why My Child Will Now Be Homeschooled
Greetings. Below is my wife’s (Tamrah Bordini) article on why we will homeschool our daughter and the experience with CMS:
I have never wanted to homeschool, although I admire those parents who can and do. I never considered it myself until I met the mother of one of my daughters preschool friends at the pool this summer right before school started. I asked her if she had gotten into the magnet program we had both applied to (we did not get in). CMS has an obviously rigged “lottery” system that they can’t explain in any logical way, but that’s another story. Anyhow, her son did not get into their school of choice and she informed me that they decided to homeschool. I was floored. You have to know this girl. She is an awesome mother, but not what I think of as the homeschooling type, but she said she knew she could do a better job of teaching her child than her inferior neighborhood school. And it is true. That was the first time I actually considered that she is probably right, and I could do that. After all, I did somehow teach her to read already, but I was not excited about the prospect of homeschooling. Honestly, I was really looking forward to a little extra one on one time with my younger son and maybe even a few extra minutes a day to myself. I thought how bad could the school really be? We will just have to make sure we keep up on the school and get really involved, make ourselves known.
So about a week before school started I started to get anxious. I still had not heard about teacher assignments or really anything from the school. Where are the classrooms, the cafeteria, and library? Who is her teacher? Who runs this school? Where is my child going to be? So we called to set up a tour, and I have to say I was really impressed with the faculty and administration we met that day. The principal is amazing. You can tell she and her staff are so excited and determined to improve the school. They are dedicated to doing every thing they can to change the school’s poor reputation and turn it around. The principal has also recruited community support from several high profile churches and the local YMCA. We met with the president of the PTA who enthusiastically asked us to join and get involved, and I left feeling good about sending my daughter there the next week.
Then came the first day. We were a little early, but I figured that way I could drop off the many supplies and meet the teacher. I walked my daughter to the classroom and she was ushered in to sit down at a table with 4 other kids. The teacher had turned away from us so I had to follow her across the room to introduce myself (not real friendly). I walked out a little annoyed, but chalked it up to first day, business, etc… Then we entered the hall to leave. It was getting a little more crowded, and I now opened my eyes to what and who was around me. I think the one that brought the tears to my eyes was the girl/mom dressed in stretch pants with 6 inch platform zebra striped heals and an off the shoulder t-shirt that said “PIMPED”. Now I wish I had taken my phone out and gotten a picture, but instead I put my head down and got out as fast as I could with tears streaming down my face. I can’t leave my child here. What is she really going to learn? She can read! Do I want her to read that girl’s shirt? That girl was someone’s mother! We went home and debated about what to do. I was distraught. So my husband decided to check and see about transfers. Since we had already done the lottery and gotten nowhere he decided to check out a neighborhood school very close to us that is supposed to be one of the best schools in the county. He met with the principal there who said she had space for our daughter, however we would first have to go through the CMS transfer process. Later that afternoon, after I had calmed down, we discussed the pros and cons. Our school has this great administration and we seem to have their attention. We would have a bigger voice in what happens at this school. But what about the academics? Our school is a Title I school who hasn’t met standards in several years. I know every parent thinks this, but our daughter is brilliant. Is she going to be bored? We decided to go to the Kindergarten open house and meet some of the parents and talk more with the teacher later that week. (I know… an open house after school already started.) The first day did go well for our daughter who was excited to make four friends!
I went to the open house with an open mind. We got there and were informed that Sophia had been moved to a new class. Sophia was upset (what about the four friends?), but I have to say I was kind of glad. That first teacher did not impress me as an enthusiastic kindergarten teacher. Here is how I think a kindergarten open house should go; You go meet a really enthusiastic teacher who outwardly shows her excitement to the students and parents. She shows everyone around the classroom then maybe gives a short talk about all the exciting things they will be learning, goes over expectations and classroom rules, maybe talks about how parents can be involved and volunteer. Then maybe have a little time for mingling so the kids and parents can meet one another. That isn’t what we got. I can’t say there is anything wrong with her teacher, but she did not meet my expectations. So we saw the classroom and hung out to hopefully meet some other parents and students. I decided to check out some of the other kindergarten classrooms as well. This is when I saw parent disaster #2. Standing outside the kindergarten classroom is a man wearing this T shirt. “No I don’t work out so I can kick your F###ing A##”. What? Did I really just see that? Where is my camera? Is that really appropriate to wear to a kindergarten open house? My husband went out into the hall to look for him. Anyhow, I realized I really just don’t want my daughter here. We went home and immediately filed the transfer paperwork.
Now what’s interesting is that because our school is Title I we should have already been given the option of transferring to another school or given priority in the fake magnet lottery. However, we were not. So we wrote emails and left voicemails and never received a response. We really wanted a transfer right away. There is room for her at the school across the street. What’s the problem? But CMS likes to make things difficult, hoping you will go away. (They have forgotten that they are payed by tax payer dollars and some are elected officials.) We realized we were going to have to wait it out and make the best of it.
So what has my daughter been learning? The letters of the alphabet. (My daughter can read!) The numbers 1-10. Some of the kids don’t even speak any English in her class. I can’t blame the teacher. She has to teach to the majority, right? What does she say she learned? “Iohnknow”(I don’t know). Yes, she has picked up some great language. We did have a conference with her teacher who has asked us to do some extra, more challenging homework assignments with her at home, and has said she is going to try to have her do some extra assignments during the day. But I am afraid she is going to lose her excitement and enthusiasm for school and learning because she is bored most of the day. And truthfully, she is not happy. She cries almost everyday before we go to school, and that breaks my heart because this little girl begged to go to preschool and couldn’t wait for kindergarten to start.
So in the mean time we have joined the PTA. There were only about 6 or 7 parents at the PTA meeting. (There are about 900 children at this school.) They have such little parental support, and they also are lacking support from CMS. I couldn’t believe it when the literacy specialist had to beg for money to buy routers for 11 classrooms. Apparently CMS has them on a waiting list and won’t get around to it until next year sometime. The reason they need the routers is because CMS closed a nearby neighborhood school and relocated the students to our school which means they had to set up 11 “temporary” classrooms in outside trailers. These aluminum boxes each need a router to use the new MAPS program that our school just invested loads of money in, hoping to bring up reading scores by testing and tracking with the state on a regular basis. The routers should cost about $350 total. Not a lot. Especially for a county who pays their superintendent $288,000 a year. What is the problem? Keith Morrison (the superintendent) should really just send a personal check. The county cited time constraints for installation, however my husband offered to get it done in a day or two.
I am still torn about the school. I think in the next few years with this great new principal it could become one of the better schools in the area, and if they added a learning immersion program for those students who are a little farther ahead, who knows? It could be great. But I need my daughter to get the best education now. I don’t have 5 years. So we have waited for this day to get our transfer letter, promising we would stay involved and volunteer. I have been checking the mail every day for a week. I mean the transfer date is the 31st! Why do they have to be so last minute? Because they actually hate parents like us who speak our mind and want to have a say in what is happening to our child? Transfer denied.
Okay so let’s physically go to the transfer office and talk with someone. First, I explain that I am here because no one ever returned my calls or emails. I tell them of my experiences this year. I ask why I have been denied when there is room for my daughter at this other school only 2 miles from my house, and I will provide transportation. This CMS employee obviously doesn’t care. Now I want them to explain this. We should have been offered a transfer at the beginning of the year. That is no longer your policy? Why is it on your website? Show me where and when the policy was changed. You can’t? Don’t you think that is dishonest and probably illegal? I’m still waiting.
So I can do this. I can homeschool. Between my brilliant husband and I, we can challenge her mind. I taught her to read when she was 4! She will certainly learn more from us than from that boring kindergarten class learning abc’s. And we will try again next year. We will do the fake lottery and maybe check out some charter schools. But for now we will join the homeschool system that has more than doubled in North Carolina the last 10 years. We will join those 81,000 students who also found our education system broken.
When I went to pick her up, we walked past the carpool line. I was hoping my daughter didn’t hear the lyrics from the song “F***ing Problem” coming from the car next to us as clearly as I did. I said a little thank you prayer for this sign that I really am doing the right thing.
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