Specific purpose: To invite the audience into a dialogue about educational options.

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1 1 Name: Kaitlin Nelson Title: Education about Education Purpose: To Invite Specific purpose: To invite the audience into a dialogue about educational options. Central Idea: There are many options for educating children, and people should be more aware of them. I. Introduction: A. (Attention Getter) always had a hard time deciding what to wear to school. Should I wear something trendy, or stick with comfort? Will it fit the rigid dress code? Maybe I ll just wear my uniform. No, I ll just stay in my pajamas. It all really depended on what school I was going to that year. As Mark Twain said, I've never let my school interfere with my education" (Mark Twain). B. (Credibility Material) I have had a lot of experience with different styles of education. I have attended public, private, religious, Montessori, and online schools. I have done dual credit at community colleges, participated in co-ops, and was home schooled for several years. Both of my parents have their masters in education, and we ve researched our possible choices. C. (Relevance to Audience) D. (Preview of Speech) We have more options for education than ever, but there are pros and cons to each system.

2 2 Transition: Obviously, I cannot cover every type of school there is in detail, so I am going to focus on three types. I will give you a couple of pros and cons to public, private, and homeschooling. II. Body: A. The first type of schooling is the most typical: public schools. The majority of students in America attend a public school. I spent three years total at two different public schools in two different states. There are two major benefits and two major flaws I will cover here. 1. The benefits of public schooling are the provided funding and regulations that keep schools accountable. a. Public Schools are tuition free. Any child can attend without his or her parents worrying about how to pay for their kid s education. With poverty and unemployment levels being as high as they are right now, this is extremely important. Public schooling gives everyone to ability to learn. Also, the government funds public schools through taxes. Even with cuts, public schools are still able to offer more extracurriculars and special programs due to the fact that they aren t dependent on the student s socio-economic status for funds.

3 3 b. Secondly, governmental regulations keep schools accountable to certain standards. Because they receive government funding, they have to abide by strict rules. This is seen in programs like the No Child Left Behind Act, which the US Department of Education says has produced good results according to several studies (No Child Left Behind). 2. However, the One Size Fits All mentality and loss of diversity are detrimental. a. Classes in public schools are uniform. Each child is taught the same thing essentially the same way. Deborah Meier, senior fellow of the Annenberg Insitute at Brown University and founder of several public schools, says it s tempting to simplify the minds and hearts of the children and sjubect matter you intend to teach. In most schools we ve chosen just this; we ve created a complex bureaucrazy, and then simplified- or standardized the kids, teaching them a one-size-fits-all curriculum so that we can more easily grade, measure, and categorize them (Meier 13). Because we all learn in different ways, a lot is lost through this method of teaching. b. Governmental regulations are also a con. We ve lost diversity, not ethnically, but in values and beliefs. A lot of

4 4 religious expression is not allowed in public schools. This is good to a degree, but a friend of mine recently said she and her sister were called into the office at their public school for bowing their heads to silently pray in the cafeteria before lunch. Just last month, a middle schooler in Colorado Springs was suspended for wearing a rosary (Barna). My little sister wasn t allowed to sing We Three Kings during Christmas at her kindergarten. Transition: While regulation may be a pro and a con, less regulated private schools also have low and high points. I attended a private religious school for three years as well. B. Private schools are the next most popular school choice in America. 1. The first benefit to this choice is specialization. a. Many private schools are founded on a religion, such as Catholicism, or cater to a certain learning style. I went to a Montessori school that used manipulatives for every subject and was very hands-on. I m a visual/kinesthetic learner, so I found it more beneficial that simply listening to the teacher lecture the entire day. b. Also, private schools have much more control over who they allow in and what type of discipline to use. Classes are much smaller and have a better student-teacher ratio. They

5 5 have more freedom to discipline which leads to better behaved students and less bullying. 2. The major flaw with private schooling deals with economic issues. a. Tuitions are getting higher and higher. Most families cannot afford to send their child to a private school for their entire education. If they can, there s still no guarantee that the school can afford sports equipment or other extracurricular programs. The kids are forever selling candy bars to raise funds for field trips. b. This also decreases diversity, as generally only the upper middle class is able to afford these schools. Transition: Although homeschooling was normal hundreds of years ago, it is still considered relatively new in America today. I was homeschooled for seven years, supplemented by off and on online classes, co-ops, and some dual credit classes at PPCC. C. Home Schooling has, however, grown significantly in the last few years. The California Law Review said there were over a million homeschool students as of 2008 (Yuracko 123). 1. One of the reasons for this growth is because homeschooling allows for an extremely tailored education. a. Essentially, all homeschoolers have an IEP, or an individualized educational plan. It s basically agreed upon

6 6 by experts that personalized education was the best form, and that s reflected in standardized test scores. Research analyst Margaret Hadderman reported that Homeschoolers have also been shown to be above average on standardized test scores (Hadderman). The School Community Journal said studies show that the perception of a high level of parent involvement does have a significant impact upon achievement. Students who perceived a high level of parent involvement performed significantly better on the national ACT exam than students who perceived a low level of parent involvement (Barwegen). b. Furthermore, homeschooling protects children from a lot of negative influences. Bullying, negative peer pressure, and drugs and alcohol problems are much less prevalent among homeschoolers. Specially selected socialization is feasible as the child can participate in extracurriculars that they like without being forced to stay with a certain group of kids if they are uncomfortable with them or with the activity. 2. Homeschooling s downside is that it is often very impractical. a. If both parents have and need to work five days a week, it s basically impossible to homeschool. There have been many families who leave their children with a babysitter during the day and do schooling at night, but that s extremely

7 7 difficult on both the kids and the parents. Unless one parent is able to stay home and teach the children, homeschooling really does not work. b. It can also be cost-prohibitive to some families. Homeschoolers must buy their own curriculum. In high school, that means buying lab equipment for courses such as biology. Often, six or seven families will school together and share books, but that s not always possible. The family is still paying taxes toward public schooling as well. Transition to discussion with audience: What are your school experiences? Do you see other pros and cons? III. Conclusion: A. Thank you all for your input. There are a lot of different options for education, and lots of pros and cons to each one. B. (Summary Statement) Personally, homeschooling was most beneficial for me. I was able to work at my own pace. Sometimes that meant doubling up on schoolwork one week and taking the next off to work on an extracurricular project. I actually took five years in high school since I started a year early and didn t want to be a senior at age 16. I split my senior year over two years. This allowed me to be very involved with music, ballet, and debate, giving me a lot of scholarship and community service opportunities. I was also able to pick up several college credits to get a head start. Picking up dual credit like this allowed one of my friend s

8 8 little brothers, who is 14, to be well into his undergrad. Also, instead of spending an hour in English class and an hour in chemistry, I was able to complete my English in much less time so I could focus on chemistry, which I really struggled with. Let me just dispel the myth about unsocialized homeschoolers I had more friends and better social life when I was homeschooled, and I was homeschooled in elementary, middle, and high school. We actually have time to hang out with friends, and it s good motivation to quickly get our school done. In several states, Colorado included, it s actually state law that, since we still pay taxes, homeschool students must be allowed to participate in extracurriculars at any public school. This gave me a lot of opportunities. C. (WOW statement) Americans love having options, and we have more options than ever for education. My experiences have allowed me to relate to pretty much everyone, no matter what their educational background. It has also helped my younger siblings, since I can give my mom input as to which style would work best given their personality and maturity. However, it really depends on the family what choice to make. Still, with private schools being very prevalent and the homeschooling movement growing exponentially, it s good to have an idea of the benefits and consequences of each.

9 9 References Barna, Mark. "Letter Threatens Federal Lawsuit over Man Middle School Rosary Ban." Colorado Springs Gazette. 8 Oct Web. 27 Nov Barwegen, Laura Mezzano, et al. "Academic Achievement of Homeschool and Public School Students and Student Perception of Parent Involvement." School Community Journal 14.1 (2004): ERIC. EBSCO. Web. 27 Nov Hadderman, Margaret, and Eugene, OR. ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. "Homeschooling. Trends and Issues." (2002): ERIC. EBSCO. Web. 27 Nov "No Child Left Behind Act Is Working." U.S. Department of Education. Dec Web. 27 Nov <http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/overview/importance/nclbworking.html>. "Mark Twain Quotes." ThinkExist.com. Web. 27 Nov Meier, Deborah W. "The Big Benefits of Smallness." Educational Leadership 54.1 (1996): 13. Web. 27 Nov

10 10 Yuracko, Kimberly A. "Education off the Grid: Constitutional Constraints on Homeschooling." California Law Review 96 (2008): 123. HeinOnline. Web. 26 Nov

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