The Broken Heart of a Public School Teacher

Garritt Hampton

I ran across another open letter from a former public school teacher in my Facebook feed today. It seems like every few months we read a letter from a public school teacher who is broken hearted about leaving a profession and students they love because of feelings of futility and frustration, and the realization that as much as they love teaching and their students they are powerless to change the system – a system that is harmful to students and families, and in many cases, to the teachers as well.

Bryan Osborne on the set of Schoolhouse Rocked. Click here to listen to Bryan on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

We have been blessed to interview several current and former public school teachers for Schoolhouse Rocked and the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. Every one has a very similar story. Bryan Osborne, now a speaker, author and curriculum specialist at Answers in Genesis was a public school teacher for 13 years. In his interview he stressed how important it is for parents who have no choice but to send their kids to public school to know exactly what their kids are being taught, because they will absolutely have to UNTEACH so many things each day. Bryan and his wife plan to homeschool their own children. Caleb Schroeder taught math, for over a decade, at a public school in California, where he saw how the bureaucracy inherent in the system prevented him from employing novel and effective methods of teaching math, let alone shepherding the hearts of his students. Caleb and his wife homeschool their children. Aby Rinella loved being a teacher, but when it came time to send her kids to school she realized that even the best teachers couldn’t love and direct the hearts of her children like their mom. Aby quit teaching and homeschools her children. There are dozens more.

Here is the broken heart of another former public school teacher poured out for the instruction and warning of all who will hear.

“The people making these decisions are NOT looking out for the students’ best interests, and have very obviously NEVER taught elementary kids.”

“The school system is broken. It may be broken beyond repair. Why are counselors being taken away when we need them more than ever? Why are art and music classes disappearing when these forms of expression have been proven to release stress in an overstressed world. Why are librarians being cut when we should be encouraging kids to pick up an actual book instead of being behind a screen? Do you know how many elementary students are on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications? Look. The number will astound you.”

“I will be helping families who have chosen to homeschool their kids. They also see that the school system is broken. When I told my school I was leaving, I had multiple veteran teachers say, “I would do the same if I was younger.’ ‘I am so glad you are getting out now.’ ‘It is only going to get worse.’ ‘I don’t see it ever getting better.'”

It may surprise you to know it was never our intention to undermine public schools through Schoolhouse Rocked. In fact, in our first Documentary Film Proposal, and in many following revisions we had this statement, “Schoolhouse Rocked is not an anti-public school movie. It is not an anti-government, anti-vaccination, anti-classroom, anti-NEA, or anti-Department of Education movie. Schoolhouse Rocked is a pro-homeschooling movie.” Over time I have realized that statement was a bit pollyannish. While we wanted to stand FOR homeschooling rather than against public schooling, it is downright irresponsible not to warn people of coming disaster. As many have said, “if you know that the bridge is out a mile down the road, you have a responsibility to warn other drivers who are headed toward it.” Public schools are a broken system, which promote destructive ideologies to the detriment of our children, of families, and of culture. The bridge is out! Turn around!

Our documentary film proposal went on to say, “We believe that the slow, steady decline of the public schools, coupled with a rising desire among parents to take control of their children’s education and training has lead to the explosive growth of the homeschool movement – The Homeschool Revolution. Schoolhouse Rocked seeks to be a leading force in the next wave of that revolution.” What I have realized is that the slow, steady decline of public schools has become a rapid, unstoppable implosion that will have lasting and terrible consequences. The bridge is out! Turn around!

There is good news. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Homeschooling is good for students, good for families, and good for culture. You can do it! It is going to be hard. Do the hard thing! Let’s reclaim culture one student at a time.

Listen to Aby Rinella on the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast.

If you are thinking about homeschooling your children we have some great resources for you:

1) Read “6 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Homeschooling”, by Lara Molettiere.

2) Connect with your state homeschool organization and JOIN HSLDA!

3) Listen to Aby Rinella talk about The “Why” of Homeschooling.

4) Finally, check out this great course, “Making the Decision to Homeschool – The Ultimate Guide” here.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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About Garritt Hampton

Garritt is a movie industry veteran with credits on some of the biggest movies of the last decade, including Interstellar, Furious 7, TRON: Legacy, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and many more. He is passionate about using his talents to build up the family and glorify God. You can view Garritt's credits on IMDB.