The comments and stories below were written by Renee Braddy (dark hair, the mom the middle of the three moms photo above)
“Last year I was at my daughter’s elementary school when I overheard a conversation between a family and the principal. This family’s kindergarten son had qualified for all-day kindergarten. And, let me say that qualifying for this so called service of all-day kindergarten is a JOKE!!! I cannot emphasize that enough. I watched and listened carefully as my daughter was administered the same test. I was actually asked by the teacher administering the test to wait in the hall while the test was given. As a former teacher who is greatly opposed to parents being left in the dark and as an involved and curious parent, I requested that I be allowed to just sit in the corner. Pathetic!
This boy was from a family that I’m assuming spoke English as their second language. I heard the father translating questions from the mother to the principal. The first question was, “what time will he have lunch?”
The next question was, “how long does his lunch last?”
The last question that I heard was the father asking, “Can his mother come and get him from school to bring him home to have lunch with her?”
It broke my heart. Here were parents who wanted to have their child home and yet felt obligated to have him in school all-day based on a very poor assessment. I could tell that they sincerely wanted to do what was best for him.
I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “don’t do it! You DON’T HAVE TO SEND HIM TO SCHOOL ALL DAY! You are his parents and YOU can offer him SO MUCH MORE.”
The hardest part for me was the end of the conversation when the principal answered the question about whether or not this boy’s mother would be allowed to have her son come home for lunch each day. The principal seemed perplexed and stammered for a minute and then said, “well, ummmm, you are the first person that has EVER asked me that.” He then thought for a bit longer and said, “I think we could probably arrange for that to happen.”
I couldn’t help but think, “Are you kidding me? Why do parents have to ask for permission to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child? Do we even understand that we have choices and that we are not obligated to send our children to all-day kindergarten or to school at all?”
Have we really come this far in society that we don’t understand that we are the parents and we as such God has given us stewardship over our children?
2. I have a nephew that didn’t speak a word until after his fourth birthday. He would have easily qualified for government funded preschool. Fortunately, he was the fifth child and his parents had gained experience and wisdom. His mother kept him home with her and taught him and worked with him and when he began to finally speak, he spoke in full sentences and is now in 4thgrade and at the top of his class.
I have a friend who does very well financially and her daughter qualified for government funded preschool at the age of two because she didn’t speak. I said to her,“are you kidding me, wouldn’t that be every 2 year old?”
She said, “I know, I just figured that if they were offering the service, I would take advantage of it, then I wouldn’t have to get a babysitter while I go to the gym.”
Unfortunately, this is the mentality of far too many parents. We have come to not only accept these so-called services, but many actually expect them.
I am sure you are hearing from very qualified well-intentioned individuals who are so-called experts in educating children. I know because many of them were my professors and colleagues when I taught school. I was shocked when I saw Dr. Nancy Livingston, whom was one of my BYU professors at BYU testifying to the importance of the state board adopting preschool standards.
Although, I have respect for these individuals, I do not think they have a deep appreciation for freedom and liberty. When I went to talk to my former principal in Provo about concerns that I have with Common Core, she asked me what I was really concerned about. I told her that I believe we are heading down a path towards socialism.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “like Canada and Australia”. She wasn’t concerned.
I then said, “I am worried that if we can nationalize education and make all the standards common, what’s keeping us from mandating equal funding to education?”
She said, “I would love that, wouldn’t that be great!”
I asked her, “Where will the money come from?”
She said, “I don’t know, but wouldn’t that be great, I would just love to have the resources that other states have.”
I was blown away and had to excuse myself as I knew we were too philosophically unaligned to have any further meaningful discussion on the matter.
In my opinion, we need to give the responsibility of being a parent back to the parents. I believe that this would be the best service and gift that we could give to children.
I would love to talk to you further about this. Again, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I DO NOT believe the statement, “those that start behind, stay behind.” THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!
Children are not machines or robots, they are individuals and their needs vary. We cannot put them into these so-called High Quality Preschools with a ratio of 1:10 or 1:20 and expect to solve society’s problems.”
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Thank you, Renee.