Off and on the last several weeks, home schooling has been discussed in the media. Some parents blame public schools for everything from swine flu to Hurricane Ike. These are usually the ones who end up home schooling their own just to spite the local district.

Some are justified like the one who home schooled because she wished to instill more religious aspects in the child. Nothing wrong with that. To be honest, such a class, conducted secularly, wouldn’t be bad in public schools. But it’ll never happen.

I’m a retired teacher, and I’m quite aware of the problems in our public schools. The main problem, bizarre as it sounds, is not the schools. No, it is parents, those fire-breathing dragons who believe their daughter should never get an ”F”’ because she wants to be a brain surgeon even though she doesn’t open a book or the son with two left feet who should be starting quarterback because he’s always loved football.

For every sincere parent such as the mother preferring religious influence, there are dozens who expect public schools to serve as surrogate parents.

If you believe your school is doing a lousy job, I suggest you first take a look at the job you are doing with your own child. It’s time for parents to stop trying to relive their own youth through their children.

I’ve come to the conclusion that some parents, and some school employees, possess a litigious gene in their DNA that screams sue, sue, sue.

Litigation is the pistol, and some parents, who should be taken to the woodshed themselves, pull the trigger.

Schools attempt to dodge the bullet by trying to correct problems even if there is no problem other than that in the litigant’s mind.

Why to schools do it? Because it usually costs more to win a case than to just pay off the sue-happy litigant.

In my 41 years in education, I’ve witnessed districts all around the country cater to the obstreperous parent to the detriment of the children.

While the whole country worships football to the almost total indifference of academics, one of the most disgusting displays of parental pressure on school administrators I ever witnessed was a central Texas coach being driven from the sport because fractious parents demanded their children should be playing.

This coach had that special winning knack possessed only by a few.

The team was a constant in state playoffs. State I said, not just district. With today’s pansy requirements, a team can have a losing record and still be in district playoffs. Big deal. Such idiocy doesn’t do a whole lot to bolster self-esteem.

Routinely, 60 percent or so of this coach’s graduating players received offers to play in college. But the parents knew better, and the district refused to support the coach rather than fight a lawsuit.
So what happened? Judge for yourself.

In the last 15 years, that team has never even won district.

Incidentally, maybe one youngster a year gets a college offer. That sure helped the kids, didn’t it?

Sure, public schools are just that, public, but that doesn’t mean a parent whose only experience in English is reading the comic strips should have her demands of what does or does not take place in an English class cow-towed to by the district.

If you must take your child out of public schools, send them to private schools. Don’t home school. Ninety-five percent of the parents, no matter how sincere, are not competent for such an endeavor – especially those who read nothing but the comics.

I never saw one home schooled child entering public schools who wasn’t deficient academically in some subject in their grade level.
Schools reflect their community. If you think your school is doing a lousy job, well – look in the mirror.