My oldest granddaughter is graduating from kindergarten today. The whole idea of graduating from pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school is weird. I guess in today’s culture where getting kids to stay in school is a major feat, celebrating milestones of academic progress is important.
I was so grateful my own sons loved school and were committed to going to college. I always wondered what I’d do as a parent if I had a child who didn’t enjoy school or want to take education seriously. I truly believe education opens opportunities and is critical for the health of any society.
My granddaughter attends a new charter school in California. It’s based on the International Baccalaureate program which emphasizes trans-disciplinary learning and equipping 21st century kids for the 21st century world. My son and daughter-in-law were concerned about the uniform requirement, the homework load for kindergarten, and the rigorous standards. Like all parents seeing their eldest going off to the unknown, they were uncertain how she would adapt.
She thrived. Her incredible imagination was encouraged to explore. Her definitely leadership abilities were welcomed as she drew classmates together. She was guided in learning how assertiveness skills are a necessary part of learning how to deal with mean kids. Having a place to belong and be challenged outside her family has allowed her to blossom into a wonder. Her first year of school has been everything you would hope for all children everywhere.
It concerns me that education is so dependent on a political agenda, especially when so many politicians don’t have to personally live with the consequences of their decisions to cut educational funding. Public education in the U.S. used to be the envy for developed nations. It’s no secret that other nations have surpassed the U.S. in overall educational standards.
We do nothing to equip our students for the 21st century when we allow politicians to dictate science scholarship not based on any science! We certainly don’t equip them for the 21st century when we create homogenous socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, spiritual environments that isolate them from or demonize the real world. We don’t help kids learn how to negotiate differences, be assertive, or make real life decisions if we legislate unrealistic practices that even the adults legislating don’t practice! I’m not even going to address truth or trust because we all know those behaviors are absent in [most of] our politicians!
I also have a lot to say about the lack of education and opportunities for girls and women worldwide, but I’ll spare you that tirade today. Today, I’m going to celebrate my granddaughter’s excitement of finishing kindergarten and the excited anticipation she’s already talking about for first grade. I’m going to support my son and daughter-in-law as they raise three marvelous beings and be a loving grandma to our next generation.