It’s been a little over six months since my last meditations post. Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?
4. MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER
To avoid the public schools, to hire good private teachers, and to accept the resulting costs as money well spent.
My parents were huge believers in this method. As the story goes, they took me at the age of three or four to see Linda Silverman at the Gifted Development Center. Linda ran some tests on me and said something to the effect of, “this child has a real mind for learning, but you’re going to need to send them to some very expensive schools.”
My parents spent the next twenty-some years going in to debt on my and my sister’s behalf. We both attended private schools – namely, Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative. At RMS, as we affectionately called it, each student had an individualized learning plan, and teachers were careful to foster creative thinking, critical assessment, and a broad worldview.
I did not do well in public school. I spent six months at the public Red Oak Elementary in California and became so depressed, angry, and self-harmful that I can’t really even remember that time. I’m sure it was a wonderful school, but I was a really weird kid – extremely sensitive and emotional about everything – and couldn’t handle the “real world” of a 30-student classroom. I spent one year at Boulder High School before leaving for a private boarding school in Wisconsin.
I’m incredibly grateful to my parents and to my privilege that I’ve been able to attend private schools and have individualized education. I fully acknowledge that my position is only possible because I have parents who cared about my education enough to throw the full weight of their financial support in my direction.
I fully support the public school system and know that it’s a great option for thousands of students in our country and worldwide. I’m sure there are students in places around the world who would love to have a chance to go to public school. But for those who can afford it – and I work toward making that more accessible every day – I think that having an individualized, validating education with a focus on creative, social, critical, and abstract thinking is worlds better.
Someday I’m going to build that school.