I Couldn’t Stand It!

Tonight I took a look back at what took me so long to quit my job as a public school teacher and homeschool my own kids. Looking back, here is a very short list of why I quit teaching. My family is so much better off for the decision that I made. All the things that drove me to quit, my kids were enduring in their own classrooms. If you change the “I couldn’t stand” to “I hated when my teacher” you have all the reasons why my kids couldn’t do it anymore either.

I couldn’t stand making kids sit still all day.
I couldn’t stand saying “Please be quiet” all day.
I couldn’t stand teaching a curriculum that required me to be a robot.
I couldn’t stand saying to the kids in my class, “That is a great thought and I wish I had time to talk about it but right now I am required to teach Lesson 107. In 59 days when we get to lesson 140 we can talk about your great idea!”.
I couldn’t stand spending 30 of my 180 days with my class testing them on things I never had time to teach them.
I couldn’t stand resorting to pictures of mountains instead of going to one.
I would go to work everyday and teach other peoples children at the expense of my own kids.
I just couldn’t do it anymore!

I found this letter today that was written by John Taylor Gatto, a three time “Teacher of the Year”. This letter was written as his “I Can’t Stand It” and resignation. I can only be grateful for the fact that “I got out” while I could and it didn’t take me 26 years. It only took me 14!

From The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 1991

I’ve taught public school for 26 years but I just can’t do it anymore. For years I asked the local school board and superintendent to let me teach a curriculum that doesn’t hurt kids, but they had other fish to fry. So I’m going to quit, I think.

I’ve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: A curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in.

I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t train children to wait to be told what to do; I can’t train people to drop what they are doing when a bell sounds; I can’t persuade children to feel some justice in their class placement when there isn’t any, and I can,t persuade children to believe teachers have valuable secrets they can acquire by becoming our disciples. That isn’t true.

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents.

An exaggeration? Hardly. Parents aren’t meant to participate in our form of schooling, rhetoric to the contrary. My orders as schoolteacher are to make children fit an animal training system, not to help each find his or her personal path.

The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the faith that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its “scientific” presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of biology.

It,s a religious idea and school is its church. New York City hires me to be a priest. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw that if teaching became a formal profession something like this would happen. Professional interest is best served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating laity to priesthood. School has become too vital a jobs project, contract-giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be “re-formed.” It has political allies to guard its marches.

That’s why reforms come and go-without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can,t tell which one learned first — the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I will label Rachel “learning disabled” and slow David down a bit, too.

For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won,t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, “special education.” After a few months she’ll be locked into her place forever.

In 26 years of teaching rich kids and poor, I almost never met a “learning disabled” child; hardly every met a “gifted and talented” one, either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by the human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation.

There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen–that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum, or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn, or deliberate indifference to it.

I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work, I think.

Las Vegas Homeschoolers Holiday Outings

In case you are not busy enough this holiday season, here are two more ideas for some homeschool fieldtrips.

THE MAGICAL FOREST

Located at 6300 W. Oakey Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89146
Open November 22 – December 30, Nightly 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Adult General Admission $9, Child General Admission $7 (age 12 and under)
Adult Passport $14, Child Passport $12 (age 12 and under)
(Passports include entry to the Magical Forest and Unlimited Rides)

Tickets to the Magical Forest can be purchased at all area CVS Locations beginning NOVMBER 1st. Tickets can also be purchased at the Magical Forest.

For additional information call 225-XMAS

CALENDAR OF NIGHTLY EVENTS

Santa Claus arrives at the Forest, 6 p.m. nightly through Dec. 24th Nightly parades of holiday and Forest characters Every Sunday is Seniors’ Night! Seniors, 55+ receive $2 off admission*.

Every Wednesday in December is UNION NIGHT! Show your active Union Membership
Card and receive $2.00 off your admission*.
Start your night at the Forest off right with a complimentary sample of a
Starbucks holiday drink – Nov. 22, 24 and Dec. 1, 8, 18, and 24th
Meet the Men and Women of the North Las Vegas Fire Department at the Pulte Homes Northern Lights Firehouse Display, of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police at the Pulte Homes Snow Village Police Department, and check out the American Medical Response Ambulance and the Clark County Fire Department Fire Engine – appearing nightly.
Check out the Fabulous Gingerbread House And Gift Basket Display and Raffle -
Enter to win your favorite – winners will be notified on December 21st.
*Tickets for the Magical Forest can be purchased at all area CVS locations,
however, to participate in Union Night, Seniors night and other special discount
offers, tickets must be purchased at the Magical Forest on the night of the
promotion.

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT FOREST HAPPENINGS!

Nov. 22 Opening Night – Welcome SANTA
Nov. 23 – Special Tree Lighting Ceremony with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman 5:30
pm
Nov. 24 – The Animal Foundation will be at the Forest with loveable dogs who are
looking for a great home and a family to call their own!
Nov. 24 – Enjoy the sounds of the Vegas Valley Concert Band 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Nov. 25 – The first 100 kids will receive a free gift from our Corporate Host
the Las Vegas Review Journal
Nov. 27 – Sunny 106.5 will broadcast LIVE from the Forest 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Nov. 29 – Boyd Gaming will be on hand with a free gift to the first 100 kids
under 12.
Nov 30 – Military Appreciation Night – Show your Military ID card at the Magical
Forest and receive $2.00 off admission.
Dec. 1 – The Animal Foundation will be at the Forest with loveable dogs who are
looking for a great home and a family to call their own!
Dec. 1 – Enjoy the sounds of the Vegas Valley Concert Band 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Dec. 3 – Attention all LAS VEGAS Great Santa Run and Las Vegas Marathon
participants, show your race bib at the ticket booth at the Magical Forest and
receive $1.00 off admission tonight.
Dec. 5 – Kids will be delighted with a holiday gift from our Corporate Sponsor
the Southern Nevada Human Resources Association. For the first 100 kids in the
Forest.
Dec. 6 – Harrah’s Entertainment is back again with another Free Gift Giveaway
this time to the first 50 kids and the first 50 adults in the Magical Forest.
Dec. 8 – Join us in the Magical Forest to receive your free gift from Corporate
Host Wells Fargo, this offer is for the first 500 guests at the Forest.
Dec. 8 – Get into the SWING of things with the Vegas Valley Swing Band 7:00 -
9:00 pm
Dec. 8 – Haven’t adopted a new best friend yet? Then meet the adorable dogs of
The Animal Foundation who need your love.
Dec. 11 – Another great giveaway courtesy of our friends at Harrah’s
Entertainment – a free gift to the first 100 kids at the Magical Forest.
Dec. 11 – Enjoy the holiday sounds as we have Sunny 106.5 back for another live
remote from 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Dec. 14 – EMBARQ will hand out gifts to the first 100 guests at the Magical
Forest.
Dec. 15 – Enjoy a special performance by the cast of “Joey & Marias Wedding” and
“The Sopranos Last Supper” at 9:00 pm
Dec. 16 – A Magical treat from Corporate host the Tropicana Resort for the first
100 adults in the Magical Forest.
Dec. 16 – SWING again with the Vegas Valley Swing Band 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Dec. 17 – If you get a new car for the holidays you will be set as Desert
Automotive Group will host a gift of a free key chain for the first 100 guests
at the Magical Forest
Dec. 18 – Sunny 106.5 keeps the holiday spirit alive with another live remote at
the Forest.
Dec. 21 – Get ready for High-energy fun as Las Vegas’ IT COUPLE Zowie Bowie of
Red Rock Resort take to the stage at the Magical Forest for a special live
performance at 8:00 pm
Dec. 22 – Another special performance, Ventriloquist Ronn Lucas at 7:00 pm -
Don’t miss the fun as Ronn and some of his friends perform live at the Magical
Forest. Ronn Lucas regularly appears at the Luxor.
Dec. 22 – Our friends at Pulte Home will be on hand with a free gift as
tonight’s Corporate Sponsor.
Dec. 23 – Enjoy the sounds of the Vegas Valley Swing Band 7:00 – 9:00pm
Dec. 27 – Sunny 106.5 helps you wind down the holiday season with their last
live remote from the Magical Forest.
There will be many surprises along the way, including chances to meet your
favorite local TV and Radio Personalities, performances by various local choirs
and musical groups, appearances by special costumed characters and of course
fabulous holiday shopping in our Gift Cabin. For more information please call
225-XMAS

THE NEVADA SOUTHERN RAILWAY PRESENTS:ANNUAL SANTA TRAINRIDE THE RAILS WITH SANTA & MRS CLAUS
DECEMBER 1 & 2 and 8 & 9$2.00 PER PERSONTRAIN DEPARTS THE DEPOT AT THE TOP OF EACH HOUR FROM 10:00 AM TO 2:00

Nevada State Railroad Museum/Boulder City600 Yucca StreetBoulder City, Nevada
89005Tel: (702) 486-5933 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (702) 486-5933      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (702) 486-5933      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (702) 486-5933      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: (702) 486-5901

REGULAR TRAIN HOURS AS WELL:2007 TRAIN SCHEDULE
EXCURSION train rides depart from the Nevada Southern Railway Museum, Boulder
City Depot (off Yucca Street) and travels 7 miles along the revitalized historic
Boulder Branch Line to Railroad Pass located within the River Mountain Range.
The trip is approximately forty-five minutes in duration. Passengers will be
able to ride in newly refurbished enclosed air conditioned Pullman Coaches which
date back to 1911. For the more adventurous passengers who wish to be closer to
nature we offer an open-air coach and for our passengers who need assistance
boarding the train we have an ADA/Handicapped coach with a lift for wheelchairs
or passengers needing additional assistance.
Trains depart from the Depot every Saturday and Sunday at:10:00 am, 11:30 am,
1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm
FARES
Adults $8Seniors (65 and older) $7Child (11 and younger) $4
Last Day for our 2007 Season will be December 9, 2007The 2008 Season will open
February 2, 2008
The Museum Store is open each Saturday and Sunday9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Music classes for homeschoolers in the Vegas area

Public school students in Clark County get the benefit of having one of the best elementary music programs in the country. Here is your chance to let your homeschooler have the same opportunity, only better!

Now enrolling students 5-11 years old for the 2007-2008 school year! Have your child participate in unique music classes. Come to one of the free introductory classes on Dec. 5th!

Classes are held at:
Foothills Montessori School
1401 Amador Lane, Henderson 89012

Click here for more information.