I am good friends with our church choir director who was a passionate and creative public elementary school teacher for many years. He just recently retired. He has always been pretty closed-mouth about the problems in the schools, but after retiring, he started to open up during our one-on-one carpooling to choir practice once a week. He says that the two big problems in the public schools are
- Kids can do anything with no consequence, AND THEY KNOW IT. They can ignore homework or other assignments, can cut class, and can be rude and disrespectful with very little consequence.
- Too many kids have almost no parental support or encouragement to achieve at school.
Of course, these two problems are related, but he claims these two make it difficult to impossible to create a positive learning environment. My two step-granddaughters ages 16 and 14 are fortunate to attend a private religious school and I see the joy in learning they have from a controlled and traditional environment. Almost all the kids around them are interested in the academics, and so the joy spreads.