The Missouri Edumacation System

The Missouri Edumacation System

Don’t move here. That’s all I can say. And if you are here, you probably can’t read this anyway. Missouri is a welfare state. Seventy percent of the kids that go to my daughter’s school get free lunch. That means that their parents couldn’t afford a dollar a day to feed their kids. These are the same people who drive up in SUV’s and probably have cable.

I work two jobs. This one here, as Stephan Miller, and 7-4 four days a week at allaboutdoors.com. My neighborhood does not wake up when I do. There are no cars moving when I go to work because no one here has a job. Welfare and disability pays more.

It is four weeks into the school year. The teacher is still sending home notes to remind the parents to send homework back to school with them each morning. The parents around here don’t care. They will just ignore it again and go back to the Budweiser or worse.

There is always a story to hear around here suitable for Jerry Springer. People airing their dirty laundry up at the school waiting for their kids to get out, so they can stick them in front of the TV when they get out. We don’t talk to these people, my wife and I. For one, we don’t think Nascar is greatest sport ever created. For another, their concerns are not ours.

This is where I grew up. This is where I felt out of place when I did. I have always considered this the biggest small town in the USA. Do I think small towns are good? I don’t know where you come from. Maybe they are there. But here, in the Bible belt, you might as well stepped back in time about 40 years. Just think of the scene in the diner in Easy Rider and you start to get the idea.

And I made the mistake of thinking that I when evolved after being gone for close to ten years, this place had too. But it hasn’t. And I don’t want my children to go through the same things I did.

Missouri’s way of making sure that they look good in the education department is setting their standards lower than any other state. And their idea of making sure that “no child get’s left behind” is by using the lowest common denominator in class to determine what is being taught.

My daughter is a smart girl. She read before she was in school. She can do addition and subtraction of three figures in her head. And now she is reading chapter books. She is in first grade. The current curriculum: learning vowels and counting to 20. She is bored to death and if we don’t change something, she will be changed forever.

The fact is, I don’t think she is super far ahead of other first graders around the country. I think Missouri is that behind. There are private schools here, a Mormon one and a Catholic one. Not a great selection to choose from. The religion here seeps out of everything. Not your normal religions either, Pentecostal and Mormon being two big ones. And just like any religious area of the country, the porn shops, bars, and pay day loan places have to keep up with the churches.

We are talking to her teacher to see what options we have available. The only option may be homeschooling, because we have talked to parents in the area and found out that the smart kids get singled out and picked on. I was homeschooled, but my daughter has the potential of being much more social than me. I was homeschooled due to mainly religious reasons. A religion I now reject, Mormon. My parents kept my sister and I away from the world. We had no friends.

I want my kids to do better than me and not be trapped by the mentality in this area of the country. We will figure it out. We always do. And I will let you know.


Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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