Government, Keep Your Finger Outta My Educational Pie!

46f1f0dc255eca2d5c5ad55b39ba7377So I found out today the results of our provincial voting. And why the winning candidate may spell bad news for my old school (and what is now my sister’s school).

She hates any education that’s not public schooling and may push for less (or no) funding for private, independent, and charter schools.

And you know what? I’m sick of the government sticking its meddling finger in the educational pie!

Sure, I’m no longer in school. But I’ve been irritated with them since about grade four or five. When I was in school, we had Canadian Achievement Tests (CATs) and Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs). The CATs were yearly and were relatively unobtrusive. The PATs, on the other hand, happened in grades three, six, and nine and required more-or-less government curriculum. These tests (CATs and PATs) were designed to evaluate students and their educations across the country and the province, respectively. And from what I remember hearing, it sounded as though the government didn’t think my school (and others like mine and homeschool) was teaching us enough to keep up with the rest of the country, especially in high school, which was the time period they really wanted us to do distance-learning.

Okay, fine, investigate and check into us. No problems there. I’ll even accept that our high school math and science isn’t as advanced as some of the regular high school stuff. Fine.

I don’t remember how much we prepped for the grade three test, but I know that after that, my school started doing “enrichment classes” intended to teach us some of the stuff that would show up on the PAT tests. In grade six, I had to stop my curriculum’s Social Studies in order to go through a secular textbook about Ancient Greece. The subject matter was fun enough, but that was when my strong dislike for textbooks was born. In grade nine, I had to repeat that process, but worse, with public school math (which I struggled mightily with, mainly because I didn’t understand how they were trying to explain things) and a whole year on public school science (which I struggled with just as much and hated the textbook with a burning passion). This grade nine science set my curriculum science back by a whole year, which affected me some later on. Oh. And only three questions on that grade nine PAT had anything to do with that torturous year of science! Yes, I still resent that.

Despite these struggles and needless textbooks and extracurricular-type things, I did well on these tests. Hint, hint, government, I was doing fine, thank you very much. In fact, government, you told me that I whopped most of your public schoolers! Don’t believe me? Maybe you should look up my scores and the records that say that, on each PAT, I wrote at the level of a student two grades ahead of me.

And you wanna tell me my education was subpar? Try again. Perhaps you should note that students from schools like mine generally do well in secondary schooling and jobs later down the road. My curriculum emphasized mastery of concepts before continuing on to the next level. It taught me better than a public school setting would have. Not to mention the practical side of it all, like teaching us to set and reach our own goals, prioritizing our work for the day, and time management. As if you hadn’t already left a bitter taste in my mouth (and a lasting dislike of textbooks, congratulations), you dared push me to go with your distance-learning program? Ha!

Now, I’m not dissing public schools or public school teachers or public school students. There’s nothing inherently wrong about them. I don’t deny that your Math 30-1 and jazz would be of help to someone wanting to go into a math/science field. My curriculum didn’t get that advanced in math. But I’m not a math/science brain, so I didn’t need you to teach me sentence diagramming or civics. (And besides, I got into high-ranking college in California just fine. With the great foundation I got from my curriculum. And without your diploma.)

So, government, if you’re reading this, let me make this clear: thanks for checking into education in the province and the country, but don’t try to fix what ain’t broken.

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