I cried yesterday when I dropped my child off at her classroom at our local public school. I know, tears are just part of the first day of school. All of those emotions. Your little one going off into the big world. It's a big day. True, but that wasn't exactly the reason that I was crying.
Picture this. A classroom approximately the size of an apartment's living room. Teacher's desk in the corner. Chalk board. Bulletin board greets us. WELCOME it says with a printout of the class roster. Two printed pages are taped together. (This should have clued me in)
Nine tables of 4 students each are wedged into this space like french fries in a fast food container. As parents walk their children to their desks, mouths drop, agape. There are how many children in this classroom?
Good morning, Mrs. I say to my child's teacher.
How many students are in your class this year? I ask her.
There are 36 students in here until they give me some more. She answers me with a placating smile.
I don't return the smile.
That is not an acceptable number, I say.
She shrugs and tells me that it is that way in all the grades and smiles again. Her demeanor tells me this:
Sure, there are too many. Too bad.
I tear up this time and walk away in frustration.
walked marched downstairs to the school office. I had to push my way past the throng at the door. There were more tears in that place. And screaming. And it wasn't the children. It was the outraged parents and the overwhelmed office staff this time. More shrugs. More tears. More frustration.
This morning, I went to the school office again. This time it was to withdraw my child from this public school. How will you be educating your child? The nice lady in the office asked me as she filled out the with-drawl form.At home, I said. Tearing up again.