It was one year ago this week, during the Christmas break, that I left my position as a middle school science teacher after spending a decade working faithfully in the system. During my tenure I was selected as teacher of the year, science department chair of the year for the entire state of Utah, and was nominated as teacher of the year in a second school district in West Virginia. I loved teaching, and I sincerely thought I would never leave.
After all, teaching was my second career, and by that point in life, I knew myself pretty well. My first career was in business, where I founded and later sold a company that put me in the position to be able to do whatever I wanted. Since I didn’t need the income, I chose to teach middle school science, and I absolutely adored it.
However, as I worked in public education I slowly began to realize that children are much better off being homeschooled, than to be subjected to a public education system that was not designed to help students thrive.
Why did I leave something I loved?
During my ten years in public education, I watched as the industry underwent a dramatic shift. I entered the profession right as the old guard was leaving. An old guard that was largely professional, dedicated, and sincere in its desire to teach content rather than promote an agenda. Of course there have always been awkward teachers, burned-out teachers, or overly strict teachers, but as a group, at that point in time, the profession was still in a relatively good place. It was still the education system that we grew up in. The one that we remember fondly and trust.
It isn’t that system anymore.
Throughout my decade in education, each time one of these older teachers would retire they were replaced by someone younger and increasingly more radical in their views. These younger teachers were quiet for a while, but as more and more of them joined the ranks, they became increasingly vocal. Now they are moving into leadership positions, and are pushing an increasingly extremist viewpoint into the mainstream of education. I was encouraged by many to go into leadership, but resisted because I already checked that box in my ego, having been the president and founder of a company. I just wanted to teach.
Those young leaders who were taking new leadership roles were bent on moving their agendas to the forefront while pushing the values of parents into the background. I have sat in hundreds of trainings in two different school systems where critical theory was not just taught but where it was the very oxygen that teachers breathed. The language teachers use when they discuss ideas with each other is directly derived from critical theory. It has always struck me as strange and rather disingenuous to hear teachers promote these ideas behind closed doors, while publicly insisting they don’t teach CRT. Sadly, however, critical theory is just the tip of the iceberg.
As more and more of the old guard left, and the numbers of teachers with extreme views became a greater part of each faculty, conversations that used to be whispered only among the most radical teachers and that would have been called out by older teachers, began to take place first in informal lunchtime debates in the faculty room, and then ultimately to more formal discussions in faculty meetings and trainings.
With the older teachers gone, more extreme views now often went unchecked as they took over and influenced policies that were implemented across entire departments, schools, and even on the district level.
An example of this is the increasingly commonplace behavior of encouraging children to reject their parent’s value systems, and even openly inviting students to confide in teachers while promising kids that the teacher will not share what the child says with their parents.
I have watched as education progressed from a few “eccentric” teachers whispering about promoting their agendas, to entire faculties having become drunk on the idea that they know what is best for the students in their community, and that it wasn’t just okay to “advocate” for a student, against the will of parents, but it was, in fact, their duty. I watched over that decade as teachers went from prizing what was best for the students, to openly celebrating their own hero status for their efforts in working against the values of families.
If I could have worked in the school system, as it existed ten years ago, I would have taught forever. But the school system today is radically different. Understand that it isn’t the same school system that we attended as children. Today the public school system is dedicated to promoting extreme anti-family, anti-America views. Today the system values agenda over content.
I don’t need the income, and I certainly wasn’t going to sacrifice my integrity, so as much as I have loved working with my students, and bringing smiles and laughter to their faces, I just couldn’t continue and still hold onto my claim to be an honorable person.
I didn’t just leave the profession, my wife and I also pulled our children out of public education and put them into homeschool. I would strongly urge all parents to do likewise. Your children are not safe in public education.
After leaving public education, I began teaching science to homeschool families around the world, and even developed an exhaustive science curriculum (K-8) which I now give away for free to other families on HandsomeScienceTeacher.com.
What have I learned as I have watched my own kids, and as I have worked with hundreds of others?
My entire perspective has changed over the past year. Prior to this experience, I would have said that homeschooling put kids at a disadvantage. I would have argued that the public school system had more resources and expertise to teach children and that only the most dedicated families should even consider homeschooling their kids. Boy, how wrong I was.
I now understand why it is that kids who are hometaught score higher on standardized tests. I understand why kids who study at home go on to college at higher rates and do better in college than those who attend either public or private schools. I now understand why kids who are hometaught are so much more confident, and socially well-adjusted than kids in public school.
Homeschooling your child is the ideal. Public education should be a distant and last resort, only for those families who have no other options. Understand that if your children are left in the public education system they will get an inferior education, they will come out with many unnecessary self-esteem issues, and you may very well lose them to the agendas of other adults who disagree with your values.
The children I now work with range in age from 5-18. They are confident, bright, and so polite. They love learning, and actively complete the assignments I give them. The contrast between these kids and those who I worked with in public education is stark. Frankly, it is so different as to be profound.
The kids in the public education system have a litany of issues relating to self-esteem from having been bullied and having to constantly compare themselves to one another. They are quiet and afraid to speak up in a group, they lack motivation and joy in learning. While the kids I work with now are confident, funny, and engaged. They are full of life and full of energy.
This observation extends to my own children. I am impressed by how much more quickly we are able to get through the content at home. Without all the wasted time associated with changing class periods, taking attendance, moving through halls, recess, and dead time in various classes. My kids are soaring through subjects in a way they could never do at school.
The best part is that it is so easy for me to manage. There are numerous resources online that handle their entire curriculum. From online programs that take them step by step through their learning, to books that you can purchase that serve as textbooks.
As mentioned, I have leveraged my two degrees in science and my degree in curriculum development to give back to the homeschool community by creating a science curriculum that includes hundreds of instructional videos, labs, activities, articles, and quizzes. Covering the entire science curriculum of students in grades K-8, which can be downloaded free of charge by visiting www.HandsomeScienceTeacher.com. (Note that grades 5-8 are live, with a new grade dropping every month or so). There are many other fantastic resources out there that others have put together as well.
I will just end by stating something in the most strenous of language.
Speaking frankly, you can’t afford to leave your kids in a system that is willing to mislead you about their intentions with your children. Especially when those kids who study at home do so much better statistically and anecdotally in every category.
Pull your kids out of public education! Do it today!
Not only will your kids will be happier in the long run, but you may actually end up saving them from a life of pain and suicidality due to the dangerous agendas being foisted on them each day at the ends of the public school system.
This system now openly celebrates its work against your values. It openly congratulates itself each time it takes a child away from the values of their parents. If it is that bad in the two systems where I worked, (West Virginia, and Utah) two of the most conservative states in the nation, then how bad is it where you live?