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I'm a lesbian mom in an inter-racial relationship, living in Bergen County, NJ. My wife and I are raising two beautiful children, a twelve year-old son and a seven year-old daughter. I'll be sharing our adventures in faith and parenting on a regular basis. My entries are also published in Gay Parent Magazine (www.gayparentmag.com).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thank you to our Public Schools

Hunter just got his report card this week and he was one grade away from making the honor roll. He struggles in math, and that's his Achilles heel. Our focus will be to try to bring that grade up and Hunter is up for the challenge, albeit, reluctantly. His learning style has proven that his learning is most successful if he can touch and feel rather than just wrestle with abstract ideas. So, he has a tough time staying focused if there isn't something tangible in place to draw him back to the lesson at hand.

Skye has been wowing us with her "Spanglish" skills. She'll be entering kindergarten in the Fall of 2011. Her last year of pre-school is full of "homework" where she has to write out letters and numbers and her name. And, she gets a good deal of exposure to Spanish, which she loves to weave into her predominantly English conversations at home. I feel compelled to pick up a Rosetta Stone program so I know what she's talking about. It's only a matter of time before she blows past my rudimentary Dora the Explorer skills.

Like any parent, I'm so proud of my kids. It's nice to see the partnership with teachers paying off and the confidence that Hunter has developed in 4th grade after a difficult couple of years. His teachers have really outdone themselves in teaming with us to help him succeed. It's wonderful to know that they are approachable and open to our ideas in how to best position him for success.

I think every parent for generations have prayed that their children do better than they have. In today's global economy, it's even more important than ever. And the competition is exponentially greater as each year passes.  According to the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index, the United States is now only the fourth most competitive country in the world, having been surpassed by Sweden and Singapore and still trailing Switzerland in the number one position. As recently as the 2008-2009 analysis by the World Economic Forum, the United States was the best in the world. Not a good trend, first to fourth in just two years.

I think education should be put at the top of our list of priorities as a country. Unlike many who want to scapegoat our public schools for not caring enough, I want to pump more money and incentive into our public schools, because the vast majority of Americans can't afford other options to help their children stay competitive. I have seen the most talented and dedicated teachers in our public schools in New Jersey. And in recent years, I have seen many leave because of budget cuts.

My pride and joy, Hunter and Skye, are a testament to the quality of education we get if we partner with our public schools. Let's not give up on the institution of public learning that has given back to us for generations. It's time we gave more of our time and money to help our schools. After all, I know for me, public schools are the foundation upon which my success has been realized. So for that I say thank you!