From a Homeschooled Girl to Her Hometown’s Public Education System

December 5, 2011
By , ., NC
(Or, This Is What I Want To Say Sometimes)

This is the best public school facility in the city
In the top ten in the nation.
expected so much more. Now I’m disillusioned.
Yet, for the first time I don’t want to go to school
I am homeschooled. I went to classes,
Yes, I know what raising my hand is. No, I don’t do school in my pajamas.)
(Everyone asks that.)

I am melting over the desk arm like Dali’s watches
Thinking about things like—
copyright infringement and uteruses and the Brontes
which is more interesting than what You are speaking of
and wondering what the hell my life has become
as I stare out the window at the angle of the buildings
and wonder who their architect was and how it looks like a noose
that bit where the clouds are touching it with spaces for missing letters
my daddy didn’t say ‘I love you’ today which is
really too bad because I needed to hear it
because I fell in love with someone who hates me.
I am crying the entire first period. Mostly.
And I am thinking like I do sometimes when I cry, how
This is not education. Let me, a fellow teacher, tell you what
Education is. Education is summer and the outdoors and not guarding the hallways
And black and white films and ten-page research papers with a Works Cited page
And symposium speeches and the Trivium sighing. You are AP biology
my sister had to repeat (and aced) because “It didn’t count as a credit”
when she took it in seventh grade, and her velociraptor valedictorian mind is laughing
probably more than mine. How high she flew when she was placed among
Your pupils in the last two years in high school. But it’s my turn.
You pulled me away from Jules Verne in kindergarten
“That’s not the suggested reading.” Handing me Barbara Park
when I wanted Dorothy Parker and Wordsworth’s daffodils.
But did you teach her? No. Your idiot hierarchy disgusts me.
This is retrogression. No wonder we left years ago.
My mama snarling when she found out my sister wasn’t allowed to read after her homework was done.
Factory. In, out. Work, work, useless work. Daycare is more accurate.
And me deciding that a quatrain is not what I want to use
because it is formal and you lock me up until it is dark, rather like an
abridged version of Ivanhoe I once read. I hate Jane Eyre,
but You tell me to drop my Jane Austen to numbly absorb the ebb
of useless facts I learned three years ago and I vaguely pose
against the crumpled secondhand binding as if to learn by osmosis.
I have no love for you in my heart. Even the teachers know this is
Not what it really should be, You, hulking batholith so used to being a bully.
Controlling. “Control freak!” I want to chant like a little child.
“I did not do my homework today. I am proud, because I spent
Today learning instead of scoring another ‘A’.”
I thought high-school dropouts were a myth.
Who would not want to leave this hell, I think now.
I’ve forgotten what running is.
I see the shrunken-in hearts so resigned with no love of learning,
so unlike my heart, eyes blindly following a curriculum and
bony finger; they’ve never seen it done better
and don’t know what a semicolon is already.
I wonder how much more I’ve laughed outside in the sun,
how much more time to think and grow I’ve had.
Better than this mental slavery you call a privilege.

BUT It is a privilege. How dare you do a half-assed job
By making them hate you?
We are supposed to be better than third-world countries
Where children starve to go to school
This is our bright future, and you forget
You have the chance to show them how lucky they are.
They are groaning. I am groaning. We are fat and well-fed,
But you seem to have failed to unlock our minds.
If no one appreciates You, work harder, not them harder.
Don’t waste the time you have sealed with us. Don’t.
Make us love you.

You are not education, because you have done this:
You have caged me like a rat. I didn’t write for three months, and I
Am a writer. Don’t tell me not to breathe because I can’t not.
You are a killer of imagination and love.

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