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       personal experience with private schools

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jeafl

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While trying to gauge support for a 3rd political party on several other message boards I have become embroiled in a discussion of education.  I am a conservative, but I no longer see education as a local or private issue.  I maintain that public education is a matter of national and economic security.  The United States cannot remain a superpower if we continue to graduate people who can enter only the minimum wage workforce and cannot analyze the complex issues that face the electorate.  I would like to have a national public school system- a single K-12 curriculum with standardized exams for all grades and subjects.  I also want national standards for teacher qualifications, a minimum $50,000 teacher salary, a 45-week school year and a mechanism by which the parents/guardians of school students can dismiss ineffective teachers.

I used to be in favor of school vouchers, but I am no longer since I have seen how private schools operate.  Florida law does not regulate a private school’s curriculum or teacher qualifications.  I have never counted them, but Jacksonville, Florida has probably a hundred or more Christian schools.  However, only a few of them go past the 6th, 8th or 11th grades.

I once turned down a teaching job at a Christian school after I found out it was using 15 year old A Beka science textbooks.  The book was copyrighted in 1981, but it talked about computer punch cards.  This book also claimed that the tonsils and the appendix have immunological functions.  I have never heard these claims outside of Creationist literature and my bachelor’s degree in biology prevents me from accepting such claims as accurate.  Conservatives that constantly harp about local and private control over education insist that schools should teach students thinking skills, but Christian schools seem to be interested only in brainwashing.

This administrator of this school put out pamphlets for parents claiming his teachers were paid $19,000 per year for a 40-week contract.  What I as actually offered was just above minimum wage for a year-round position.  The school administrator was also the pastor of the church that owned the school.  His wife was the secretary.  His son was assistant pastor and his daughter (or daughter-in-law) was the school’s only other teacher.

My first teaching job was with another Christian school that used a mixed Bob Jones/A Beka curriculum.  The Bob Jones University geography textbook was copyrighted in 1997, but it had chapters on the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.

This same geography book claimed that most western Europeans are Protestant and rich while most Irish are Catholic and poor.  This book is as bigoted as it is inaccurate.  France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany are predominantly Catholic and during the 1990’s Ireland had full employment due to the software and computer industry.  The book also claimed that Mexicans worship the brown skinned Virgin of Guadeloupe.

The students at this school had no math skills worthy of mention.  None of them could do multiplication with any speed and they did not know how to do long division.  Furthermore, none of them could read or spell at grade level.  The school asked me to resign when it realized I would not give good grades just to keep the parent happy and the money coming in.

I took a teaching job with another Christian school last August, but left in September over a salary dispute.  I had been promised no less than $22,000 but what I was actually paid was only $18,000.  

The college prep public high school I graduated from had either calculus or a year of trig/analytic geometry as a graduation requirement.  Students at my school routinely took five, or more, AP courses.  Students in Christian schools here are lucky to take algebra II by the time they graduate.  The science curricula in Jacksonville's Christian schools generally ignore physical science, since they won't teach the math skills needed for chemistry and physics.  Relying on a life science curriculum also makes it easier to bash Darwin, which is what Christian school curricula here are designed to do.  Even though I am a Creationist and utterly reject any idea of evolution I would rather have a balanced curriculum than have students be left ignorant for the sake of Creationism.

I have learned by sad experience that Christians schools cater to students who cannot or will not do the work required by public schools.  I would appreciate any input from others who have dealt with private schools.  Is it possible that Jacksonville, Florida exists in a vacuum and the private schools here are not indicative of the entire nation?

 


Posts: 12 | Posted: 12:29 PM on May 8, 2003 | IP
Kels_615

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dude thats WAY TO LONG no one is going to read it lol


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Don't make me mad....oh no, you don't wanna know what I'll do to you!
 


Posts: 35 | Posted: 7:05 PM on May 22, 2003 | IP
katie_king

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yea i agree with ya kels...sumarize it a tad


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Always and Forever, Katie
 


Posts: 95 | Posted: 7:36 PM on May 22, 2003 | IP
kenny_kendra

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u 2 r right kaitlin and kels it is 2 long! Dude ya got 2 make it a little smaller! I mean no one will read something thats goin 2 take time from suffering the internet. Hi kait and kels



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Always and Forever, kendra
 


Posts: 10 | Posted: 11:19 PM on May 23, 2003 | IP
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Please keep in mind that this is one person that sounds a little jaded on the Christian school.  I am a teacher in a Christian school in the Jacksonville, FL area and I have to disagree with this post.  At one time, Christian schools may have been a dumping ground for kids who couldn't cut it in public school, but many schools have come a long way in building their academic programs.  Our school began offering AP classes this last year and I fully expect half the class to pass the AP exam.  So before you start trashing Christian schools in Jax, how about checking your own attitude and deal with your issues?
 


Posts: 0 | Posted: 11:15 PM on June 25, 2003 | IP
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I live in Jacksonville and it is the schools here that have enabled me to formulate my opinions of Christian schools.  That your Christian school offers AP courses is not saying much- it is one school out of what- a hundred?  Jacksonville has two college prep public schools and before I graduated from the first one established I took 5 AP courses and the school offered AP courses in at least 7.  I don't know a single Christian school here that allows homework on Wednesdays and the last school I taught at did not allow homework of any kind- students were not allowed to take textbooks home with them.  By and large Christian schools are baby-sitting services.
 


Posts: 0 | Posted: 08:32 AM on July 15, 2003 | IP
    
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