After prayerful contemplation, and a bit of research I decided to decline the invitation to participate as the PTA president. My reasons are varied. First I felt my personal educational philosophy was not in direct accordance with PTA's.
I am a firm supporter of vouchers, private schools, charter schools and homeschooling. I am also opposed to unions. When schools and teachers are forced to compete in a free market environment children benefit. Some schools may lose funding if they do not step up to the plate. Salary and job security should be directly tied to student performance and teacher quality, not protected by a union.
I remember my first year teaching, I was only 21 years old. During district orientation we were herded into a small classroom, and I felt, bombarded by the Union. They almost demanded we sign up instantly. Extremely uncomfortable with the situation, I would not sign. Instead, my policy as a teacher was to participate in actions and policy change I believed in. On one occasion I participated in a one day strike and distributed fliers. Only because I supported the cause. Not because I was a union member.
The national PTA also has some agenda's which are not in accordance with my personal values, including sex education and the teaching of alternative lifestyles to children. The Utah PTA is certainly not involved in pushing these agenda's, to my knowledge, however.
Where does this leave me....
School Community Council
Last night I attended a community meeting including the Superintendent and the School Board. It was very insightful. After a 30 minute presentation, they took questions for 1 1/2 hours. What I learned is I want to be involved in the school community council. This council composed of teachers, parents, students, and administrators decides how to allocate $15K-$25K worth of funds each year. By participating in this council I feel I can be influential in the school.
When speaking with our principal last week he mentioned how he wants to bring the Science Fair to our school. Now, that is something I can be passionate about! I have a love/hate relationship with Science Fair. When teaching, it was by far the most challenging and the most rewarding thing we did. I tried to focus on inquiry learning in my classroom, and Science Fair is the ultimate inquiry investigation. My thoughts are to offer my services to help train teachers and organize a school Science Fair. In this way I feel I would be enhancing the educational experience of all students at the school.
Home Schooling is still in the mix for me. I realize I didn't make it clear in my previous entry, I am only considering a 1/2 day of homeschool. The beauty of living across the street from the school will allow Ellery to attend recess at school and eat lunch, attend assemblies, and class parties that are appropriate etc. While she is very excited about being with me for half the day, she would be devastated to leave completely. I think we can find a balance.
I am reading an excellent book called A Thomas Jefferson Education. It is very inspiring. After speaking with a teacher at the elementary school, I think I will try homeschooling in the afternoon, as opposed to the mornings, as I thought previously. If I choose to send her in the morning she will have literacy and math at school, as well as home. I can provide all sorts of enriching activities at home to replace her afternoon school activities.
This is the current plan....everything is always subject to change though :)
t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.