Reason to abandon Public Education #1

Am I the only one who feels like this???

A few days ago, a letter came home from school from the PTSA president announcing a “wonderful new program” they would like to begin at the school to encourage physical fitness. They are to have a “dance-a-thon” on 3 June and collect pledge money so the school or PTSA?? can purchase a Play Station 3 and a game called Dance Dance Revolution and up to 5 dance mats. They feel like this will be a great way for kids to get exercise and combat childhood obesity or something. So, I sign up to give a flat donation, so our two kids don’t feel like their mom is the only communist at school. On one of the forms I wrote that I think this is a dumb idea.  So, apparently the principal gets this form so she called me… to discuss why I think this is a dumb idea.  She sounds really concerned that I would think such a thing.  WHAT?  How is purchasing a PS3 (a video game system!!), one silly game and 5 mats going to help my child improve his physical fitness? Since when do we need to resort to game consoles to encourage physical fitness in our children?  Will using this PS3 become part of the weekly routine at school? And with over 200 kids at the school, how often is my child going to actually get to use this so-called physical fitness enhancer? What planet do these people live on? Sounds like a waste of educational time to #1-have the dance-a-thon to raise the money instead of using class time wisely, #2-use up future instruction hours to play DDR while supposedly getting “fit.” It’s a drain on community resources to purchase something that imaginarily promotes physical fitness. It’s just a dumb idea. Sure, people can to lose wight while dancing, or DDR, or Wii Fit, etc, but do these have any place in our schools??

If we were really concerned about physical fitness, why not lobby the school for extra recess time, or maybe PE classes every day, or even every week instead of a few days every two weeks. There are many more logical ways to encourage physical fitness. I’m pretty certain that encouraging or endorsing the playing of a video game system at school is not one of those ways. The real kicker is that I’m sure the PTSA has been brainstorming this “wonderful new program” for a while. I hate the PTSA. Actually, I think I just hate most public education. The teachers are nice. I like most, ok, some of them. Occasionally the administration is tolerable.  But they are pointy-heads (Dilbert is right). I almost made it through the school year without getting in trouble. Almost. Grrrr. It’s not the teachers, it’s the system.  It’s like kicking against the pricks, hitting your head against the wall, sticking your finger down your throat, whatever. You get the idea.

The PTSA is (ok, this is a gross generalization, and I’m sorry, I’m sure there are some really good PTA’s out there that actually take education seriously, but obviously, ours is not one of those) a group of parents who like to manage, feel powerful and in control, and create projects to rally the school and community so they aren’t bored.  Blah!  They hold fundraisers, and offer prizes, and sell yearbooks, and all kinds of things. What do they really do with the money? Does it perpetuate their programs?  I do know they hold “fun” events throughout the year, but at those events, we are asked to pay for the food and drinks we consume there, and the other activities are usually cost free, like watching a movie in the school gym.  So where does the money go? Hmmm.  I think (and I can and will think what I want) that our PTA makes kids feel left out. Left out when they aren’t wearing the school T-shirt that the PTA sells, left out when they don’t contribute to the latest fundraiser, selling candy, wrapping paper, popcorn, or whatever, and everyone else does. Left out when their mom doesn’t send in such-and-such at all, and a prize is given to the kid with the most in each class. I’m sure they mean well. I’m sure they don’t mean for kids to feel left out.  I just think they are too busy brainstorming great ideas to realize it. I can’t wait to see what “wonderful new program” we will see next.  Funny that I’ve been asked twice in the last week if I want to hold an office in next year’s PTSA.  Ha.

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