Education, Charter Schools, and the Sad Shape of our Public Education System

Last night I went to my first school board meeting to read a speech I wrote supporting the school.  After a team of us from Seven Gen stood up and spoke, and after the local high school read their report, the business of the meeting started, and before long, the superintendent laid into the finances.  It was depressing, bleak, and stark.  Why the government thinks cutting education and ruining the future of this country is beyond me.  All I heard was a pretty high dollar amount that was excess last year is absent this year,  pay freezes are done (does that mean layoffs or cuts or both?), and lots of griping about paper.  I left, with no idea of whether or not they will renew the charter for our school, which by the way, has set the bar high and is the only EIC school that meets and/or surpasses the standard for that curriculum.

I went home worried, but then I stopped.  One of the beautiful things about my faith is that I honestly think all things happen for a reason, and that this is another test of whether God is in control.  God is bigger than our school board, and he can help persuade them to keep the school open.  And if that’s not God’s plan, something better awaits my kids and I on our education journey.

Without further ado, here is my speech:

My daughters attend Seven Generations Charter School.  My first hand experience with the director, teachers, aide, therapists and and administration is that they care about seeing all children succeed, no matter what level they are at.  They teach our kids academics in exciting, engaging and creative ways.  They teach them not only to foster relationships, but to engage in teamwork, to look out for each other, and they groom them for life in the real world.  They encourage them to participate in healthy habits and care about their local communities and the living world around them.

This is important to me, you see, because my children are disabled.  Working with the staff at 7 Gen, my girls have accomplished, at least to me, great things.  Amelia, who has Down syndrome and a speech disability, is learning to communicate more and more every day.  At school, she has responsibilities and is a contributing member of her class.  She has lots of friends, does well in science and social studies, and is progressing daily in reading, writing, and math.  I never have trouble getting her to school since it is a joy of her to be with her peers and she enjoys working hard with her team  to learn new things and master the rest.

My daughter in kindergarten, Zoe, has autism and sensory processing disorder, yet she can now play alongside the other children, participate in morning meetings, including school-wide ones, and even has children that she gravitates towards, a basis to start friendships for this mostly non-verbal girl.  Her integration into 7 Gen’s daily routine has helped her to progress socially, and her behavior, even at home, is improving by leaps and bounds.  Academically, she is already learning first grade sight words and beginning to speak a lot more.

7 Gen has been a blessing to our family because they have embraced our children, worked hard to help them succeed, and listened to us while sharing their expertise in helping to train our kids to grow into vital, productive members of society.  That’s one of the key things a special needs mom like me wants – the best chance for them to live on their own.  I believe they are off to a great start with Seven Generations.

What do you think about the sorry state of education?  How can we remind the government that kids are our future and tell them not to cut them?

Image: Stuart Miles /


  1. says

    The US educational system is in dire straits. Two things have completely change the way I approach the education of my children–Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua and Waiting for Superman. It seems that American children are set up to fail from the very beginning. While other countries and investing in their children this country invests in weapons.
    Shontae Buffington recently posted…What’s cholesterol again…My Profile

    • admin says

      Shontae, have you seen Race to Nowhere? That’s on our list too. Don’t be too dazzled by Waiting for Superman and Michele Rhee’s dazzling statistical improvement of the DC school system. She left a lot of bottom tier school out of the equation, as I understand it. She’s also one of those who sells teachers down the road. My kids go to a charter, but its a nonprofit charter run by parents, integrative of community and environment. Not at all like a charter run for profit, teaching trickle down capitalism! You always have to go to the source of what your kids are being taught.

  2. says

    I agree that public schools are in sad shape. The schools in my hometown are no exception. Education is your own responsibility after you graduate anyway. College is always a good idea as well.

    • admin says

      College is not just a good idea, it’s darn near a requirement now, but who the heck can afford it? If we supported our youth THROUGH graduating college, we’d be in league with some of the wealthiest, technologically innovative countries in the world. Instead we lag in this, because we ask kids to shoulder the burden alone: work, go to school, get in debt, just to earn a decent living, never mind innovate and change the world!