In 2010, the hit documentary Waiting for Superman shed a dark light on America’s public school systems. But the bad news didn’t end there. In recent years, the majority of public school districts nationwide faced serious budget cuts, layoffs, the merging of already packed classrooms and program cuts.
If you want the best for your children’s education, don’t despair.
6 affordable educational options
Charter schools are the new buzz word in education. They are popping up in every neighborhood like Starbucks did a decade ago. Why? They are funded by the state – which means there are no tuition fees.
Every Charter School toots to a different horn. Some specialize in science and technology, some have 4-hour school days, and others have a maximum classroom size of 15 students. What’s the catch? Most Charter Schools admit students on a lottery system. As a result, you may not be guaranteed to get in. Is it worth the effort to try? Absolutely.
Transfer to a wealthier school district
Wealthier school districts rate higher in education simply because they are well-funded through tax dollars and can afford to hire better teachers. Some of these districts nationwide allow a percentage of students to transfer in from out of area districts.
The cost? Typically there is no fee to transfer your child to a different school district. You will invest a few extra tanks of gasoline each year to transport your child to school. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Kumon is a math and reading educational method that is practiced in Kumon’s own learning centers worldwide. If your local schools are not challenging your child, the $150 per month fee for Kumon (less than a cable bill!) might be worth it. Other well-respected learning programs can also be found in most metropolitan areas.
Millions of parents have found homeschooling to be their answer to giving their child a better education. If you cannot afford to be a stay-at-home parent, you can simply purchase advanced curriculum, workbooks and other learning materials online or at teacher supply stores and add a few learning lessons to your child’s evening homework.
Many cities have ‘tutorials’ or ‘university model schools’ where the students go to a brick-and-mortar school Tuesdays and Thursdays and the off-days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) they complete their school work at home. This can be a good option for parents who work part-time.
Work with your teacher
How easy is it to manage 25-30 unruly children in today’s classrooms? Not easy at all. Teachers have extremely stressful jobs. Any teacher will tell you that the #1 component of a successful year versus a stressful year is the amount of participation she receives by the parents.
Be involved. Volunteer in the classroom. Always attend teacher meetings…and listen to her needs and requests. If you go home and tell your kids, “You don’t have a very good teacher this year!” how do you expect your child to have respect for his teacher? He won’t. And his motivation to learn will suffer. So work with your teachers…not against them.
If you exhaust the options above, you are guaranteed to provide your children with a better education. If you only have a 40% chance of being admitted to your local Charter School, you are guaranteed a 0% chance if you don’t even try. So don’t be that parent who complains about how bad your local schools are, but does nothing about it.
What have you done to change or improve your child’s education? How do you think your public schools are doing?
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