Education in the United States is a complex issue.
While communities offer public education, not all schools are created equal. Private schools and home schools are options some parents seek.
But do the parents who seek other options owe anything to the communities they leave behind? One parent is asking that question so they turned to the "Am I The A**hole" subReddit for feedback.
Redditor VogueCorn asked:
"AITA for pulling my kids out of public school?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"My kids school did not handle the transition to virtual learning well. We decided to try a "pod school" just for the sake of getting over this hump."
"It basically means they're each in a class of five (my kid plus four of their peers.)"
"We selected the other kids in the pod pretty carefully because we wanted the kids to have productive classmates who were there to learn. It worked out well."
"Then the pod schooling turned out to work significantly better than public schooling. They got twice the work done in half the time. They were actually enjoying their studies for once."
"So all the parents in the pod banded together and came up with the money to hire a permanent teacher in conjunction with a couple stay at home moms, and we unenrolled our kids from the public school."
"Our local public school isn't that big, so it turns out that by removing so many of their top students (read: top standardized test takers), their budget has actually been noticeably impacted as well as their ranking in the district."
"The school has reached out and asked us to disband our pod so they can get the students back (and the teacher we hired) saying it is impacting students who remain at the school and the best students are now beginning to leave for their own pod structures, taking the better teachers with them."
"I'm kind of a community leader, I've got considerable sway over the community, so I've been asked to try and squash the pod trend, put my kids back in school, and stop this thing before it gets going any further."
"I really want my kids to get the best education they can, but I do have serious pause over doing so at the expense of the rest of the kids in town."
"AITA for pulling them out of the public school?"
Redditors were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You're The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Rather than judgment though, Redditors focused on questions regarding the OP's situation as well as submitting a number of suggestions.
"Does your public school district offer a home school curriculum? Mine does."
"If you use their resources the kids can count as public school students even if they are kind of doing their own thing in a pod set up. You just go to the home school office evert now and then to turn in modules & such."
"Families get allowances for PE & technology. Parents get more freedom, the school district still gets funding."
"It's win win." ~ DontRunReds
"I like creative answers like yours. It reminds me that the world isn't necessarily a win-lose place." ~ Kavity123
"So I did this for a year or so—I was a homeschooled kid before and after. And we didn't do it longer than a year."
"The curriculum that the public school offered was very much substandard compared to the curricula that my parents found on their own."
"It's not a bad solution if parents don't want to put in the labor to find a complete curriculum themselves, but if they're paying a private teacher then I'd recommend they stick with the private teacher."
"This is what my school board offers! They did send a letter out before, clearly stating the differences between 'home school' and 'online learning' and explaining how funding worked."
"I chose to keep mine in the online model as 1. I'm not qualified to Do this alone and 2. School did not lose my kids funding. In my province funding is a flat rate assigned per child, children with special Needs get more."
"Why is OP funding reliant on test scores?" ~ Such_Warning
"OP is it possible to take a few lower income children into your pod?"
"Since the homeschooling thing didn't work out (although if you want to continue this pod for a year or more it's worth starting the approval process) the best way you can give back to your community and mitigate the effects it has on the school is to open up this resource to a couple kids who would not otherwise be able to access it."
"Adding two or three kids to your pod shouldn't be too much extra work. As a community leader maybe you can inspire other pods to do the same." ~ scienceislice
"The other advantage of this is that the kids can participate in sports, music programs, and clubs that the school offers during non-pandemic times." ~ ragingmagpie
The OP responded to some of the suggestions.
"Unfortunately we reviewed the home school curriculum the district offers and it just wasn't very good. And it was extremely bubble test heavy which we're trying to avoid if possible for more hands on learning."
"Their curriculum was a lot of paperwork and bookwork that took a lot of time but moved really slowly in terms of content covered."
"I checked to see if the district would approve our curriculum as an alternative before we sought to register as a homeschool but unfortunately the people we spoke to speculated process would've taken over a year."
"Thank you for the suggestion though! I really wish this is something that would have worked out."
Of the Redditors that passed judgment, most agreed there were no a**holes here.
"NAH. At this point, having seen the benefits, you'd be directly disadvantaging your kids by re-enrolling them in the school. Other kids aren't your problem and you bear no responsibility to them, particularly at the expense of your own child's education."
"The teachers aren't bad people for asking, but it's entirely OPs right to decline and choose the option that most benefits their family." ~ cyfermax
A parent's priority will always be their own child. Redditors couldn't fault the parent for this.