If you are of a traditional mind, the school presents a problem now. My bones direct me to tell my son:
My boy, you are going to school. You must do your best, cooperate fully, and respect the authority of the the teacher.
That worked great, until it dawned on me that the majority of his teachers were raving maniacs. And I can't build the edifice of a properly educated child by telling him to listen closely to the teacher, except when they're talking ragtime; oh, and by the way, they might always be full of it, or just most of the time -- you decide.
I won't bore you with the details of why his teachers appear to have been eating the paste since they were wee. Suffice it to say, they appear to have identified the public school system as a convenient host, buried themselves in its flesh like a unionized tick, and used the tiny but important high ground they have seized to rain a sort of off-topic propaganda on people too young to protest much about it. They are like abrasive monomaniac blog commenters, only they can give your kids an F.
There is a growing minority of persons that have decided to remove their kids from the public schools altogether, and teach them at home. I can't fault them, but I can't support them either. Unilateral disarmament is not peace. And you may very well be teaching your children the correct cranky worldview to have, but it will remain a cranky worldview nonetheless, because you are the only people in it. Take it from an auto-didact: people are fascinated with what you know, and horrified at what you don't. It's a long row to hoe. And I must admit that I am reminded of people who brew their own sparkling cider from wormy apples they grow in their yard, who always want to give you some when you visit, and other such "improvements" on readily available goods. They press the recycled Grolsch bottle with the suspicious looking cracks in the rubber stopper in your hands when you leave. You know, grass still won't grow where I dumped that stuff out when I got home three years ago.
Anyway, the picture is 25 years older than I am. I'm not nostalgic for anything. I simply recognize something there that is not present any more. These children's parents are no doubt far from rich, but their children are respectable. The surroundings are anything but elaborate, but there is order and seriousness. There are numbers and letters on the board, not inane opinions founded on the rock of hiding inside a school building your whole life long. There is an unashamed token of the United States as a profoundly important reality and ideal being displayed front and center. There is a teacher trying her best to bang something useful into those lovely little knotheads.
If it's over, please tell me. I'll feel foolish if I keep on like this.