While the kids are in gym class, we get to wander around a really interesting road, usually stopping in a cafe. It's an awesome road, it has longest stretch of independent traders in the UK.
Anyway today we were in the back garden of some cafe there, and there was a large family gathering on another table talking away. The mother of the little girl was airing a list of complaints about the kid's school, and an older lady there was offering gentle rebuttals in defence of the school or schools in general.
The complaints were many. Kids are being bullied in the corridors first thing in the morning, and parents are being told they are not allowed to accompany them in, even to protect their kids. Which is outrageous, she continued, just like the hassle you have to go through to get permission to go on holiday in term time.
Her daughter missed a day, and consequently a week later the teacher didn't have a folder made up for her so she got nothing in that lesson, and a week later again was fobbed off with a sheet of rudimentary arithmetic. Three weeks wasted, said the mum.
The father (I assume) at one point said something like: “Yes, they're not well designed schools, no not well designed.” It was all he said.
WTF!? His daughter is getting bullied, and they can't take her out on holiday when they want, and that is all he can say in support of his (I assume...) wife? There was clearly some kind of case being made here to the older woman, and she was having none of it. The mother wanted something else for her kid, or at least something better school wise.
I considered going over and saying:
“Hey look: you can pull your %&!?ing kid out of that crap, just write a letter and do it...Ignore your sap husband and schoolmarm-stepgranny, and just home educate your daughter for a while. Or just take her out of school and just hang out for a while. The state school system is set up for the benefit of Authority and Industry, not the Kids and their Parents...yadda yadda...”
Well I didn't, and so now I'll never know how it all works out for them. It was interesting though. That mother was reacting against problems the state school was causing, and at least one member of her family was applying social pressure to stick it out and basically have faith. She wanted support of some kind and was getting the opposite.
The state school system really has it's believers. Lots of people, some of them really smart, think that folks who can't afford private schooling should just keep faith in the system and keep sending their kids in. The government might be arses, but teachers are entirely benevolent... keep the faith, keep sending the kids and obeying the BS.
For the most part, the social pressure seems to be enough. Parents and grandparents are convinced that the state knows best for poor kids, even now it's not the golden old days anymore, and willingly or grudgingly submit to a system they kinda know is wrong. Submit their children.
It's possible though, that the mum in the cafe garden had never heard of the practice of Home Education, and that many parents do it. If she had heard of it, and knew that there was a beaten path, perhaps she would be more likely to put her child first.