IF I WAS ENDA, THIS IS WHAT I WOULD CHANGE IN IRISH SCHOOLS
Things That I Want to Change About Irish Schools.
Nicole Buckler weighs in with this opinion piece.
When junior infants finish school, they have to be picked up at 1:30pm. This craic carries on for two years until they are in first class, and they finish at 2:30. If you have more than one child, this means two different pick up times. This drives me batpoo cray cray insane.
One hour is not long enough to go home with one kid, and then come back for the second at 2:30. So, many mums just wait in the carpark for an hour with a four-year-old bored out of their brains and kicking the crap out of the inside of the car. WHY does Ireland have these different times for different ages? Most of the kids starting school these days have been in preschool/ Montessori/ daycare for the whole day and are well used to longer days. It’s an insane burden on the parents who have to pick them up at different times. Nowhere else on earth does this and THAT IS BECAUSE IT SUCKS.
I know a mum with four kids. She has one in Montessori that finishes at 12:30, one that finishes junior infants at 1:30, one that finishes first class at 2:30, and one at high school who has to get herself home because the mum just can’t pick up the slack. This is torturous and outdated. STOP IT. Kids who are four are well able to go to school until 2:30. MAKE EVERY KID FINISH AT HALF TWO. THE END. It’s backward and it is too stressful on parents.
2. Stop refusing admission to local school based on religious affiliation. In fact take religion out of schools, full stop.
Religion is not one-size-fits-all. Some people believe in God, some people believe in Allah, some people follow Buddha, Krishna, some are pastafarians. I don’t care if you worship blue smarties on Jade mountain…you can keep your religion out of schools. It’s backward and archaic to teach it as part of a modern curriculum. When my daughters come home with their Catholic Alive-O school books that pretty much teach Noah’s Ark as fact I get so angry I want to punch a hole in the wall. I believe in religious freedom…worship whatever deity gets you by and I will never stop you. But I hate that your deity must be my kid’s deity because I can’t get them into any other school that thinks deities don’t go to school.
Religion is a PERSONAL BELIEF SYSTEM and school is a place where kids hang around and learn facts. Anything “religion” is not fact. And that is a fact. It needs to come out of schools. It causes division and people always fight the hardest over things they can’t prove. I’m over it. Do it on your own time.
A school that is paid for by EVERYONE’S taxes should not be allowed to choose which children get in and which don’t according to what religion they are. It’s morally wrong. Most mothers I know don’t even believe in God or go to church, but they just roll their eyes and jump through the “religion hoops” because they know it makes life easier just to play along.
I don’t want to live in a society where I teach my kids to “play along.” I want to live an authentic life. If you are uncomfortable sending your kids to their first confession (which many parents are) then just opt out. In fact, let’s get the ceremonies like this out of the schools, and back into the churches. If you want to do first confession with your kid, do it through your church and not through the school. School is no place for introducing ideas of “sin” to 8-year-olds… keep that in the church and let’s replace it with E=MC2
My biggest worry is that my kids will graduate into a global market seeming to be backward compared to other countries. Instead of teaching them valuable skills like coding and initiative and entrepreneurialism, we teach them about Noah’s Ark. How is geography not compulsory but religion is? It’s like we hark back to the dark ages. It’s gotta go out the school’s front door. It’s getting embarrassing.
3. You Can Not Get Refused from Your Local School
As the crow flies, my local school is about 400 metres from my front door and I couldn’t get my kids into it. This is a damn disgrace. And why? Because people who lived 3 suburbs away had put their parent’s address down as their own. So grandma lives next door to the school, so her address was used and they got access. Many kids from this school commute from 3 or even 4 suburbs away to go to the school, and this is just not fair when local kids can’t get in.
When I rang the education department, they said they had no powers to act and it was up to the schools. How can this be even legal? How is it that I had my kid’s name down for years on the lists of all the local schools and I could not get her into any school? How could the department of education who I support with my taxes say it is my problem to solve? This is a damn crime.
In the end we were going to put her into the very costly and private international school, and we were going to have to drive a taxi and lapdance to pay for it. But we just couldn’t afford it, even with the lapdancing and the hailo-ing.
In the end I just had to take a stand against this crime of not getting my kid into ANY SCHOOL, even though I followed all of the rules. So I sat in the office of the local school with all my child’s documents and cried my head off until the school secretary just felt so sorry for me she made some arrangements. It just isn’t a fair system and this address tomfoolery has to stop. You need to go to your local school. I’m sorry that you got trapped in a “starter house” in the hood even though you are upper middle class. But the school in the hood won’t improve until people like you start fighting for them.
My friend who lives 3 doors from me was not so lucky. She couldn’t get her kid into the school while kids from 12 kilometres away got in fine. Now she has to commute with her son to a different suburb rather than take him to the school over the back fence because she wasn’t prepared to have a breakdown in a school office. It’s unjust.
Here’s an idea…if there are too many kids for a local school to handle, get more teachers, and more prefabs. Enda, you MUST cater for the demand and where it is. Cope and change better or people like us, normal, working people will emigrate to places where this unfair system is unheard of. Enda, you are putting out the call for people to return to Ireland, but this is just tomfoolery if they will have nowhere to live because of the housing crisis, and they can’t get their kids into any local school. Solve it, or we will go.
4. Irish Should be an Optional Subject
I understand that Irish people feel ripped off that their native language was taken away from them. But forcing kids to learn it again after it nearly died is not only artificial; it is a massive waste of time. I think it needs to be optional in secondary school. I think people with a passion for it should absolutely learn it. But it is a fantasy to waste valuable learning time teaching a language that has no international application. Kids these days need to be learning Chinese, Russian and Spanish. The world is very small now, and into the future it will get even smaller. Whether we like it or not, the next big superpower will be China, and if we want to keep our small country ticking over we have to suck it up and learn Chinese. That is all. Get Irish off the compulsory list.
If all of the above were changed, I would feel like Ireland would be ready to compete on a world stage and keep our head above water in the international sh*tfight that is economic recovery. We must prepare our kids for an increasingly difficult future in a world with over 7 billion people in it. Let’s start now.
Any more to add to the list? Comment below.
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