Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I am going to assume that you all know what public school is, so I won’t toy with your time by giving a definition. :) However, I would like to post this quote from the Center for Public Education website (see sidebar link).
“The Role of Public Schools: Every day, 48 million youth walk through the doors to our public schools—that’s nearly nine in every ten school-aged children in the United States. And their numbers are growing.
Every American has a stake in making sure these young people are well prepared for life in the 21st century. Investing in public schools helps us meet our obligation to grant every child, of every race and class, an equal chance to pursue careers and goals of their choosing. Our own interests are served by public schools, too, for today’s students will determine the well being of our nation and the quality of life for all of us in the not-too-distant future.”
I taught public elementary school for 3 years. I know better than most the numerous flaws in public education; but I also know the strengths. As a former teacher I can attest that 90% of your child’s public school teachers, administrators, and staff will and do work as hard as possible to push every child to succeed (and that includes your child).
•It is free, and offers free and reduced lunch for families with low SES.
•Public education ensures that all children are given an opportunity to learn.
•Your child will be able to learn crucial social life skills. They will interact with a wide variety of students and teachers and learn how to cope with others of different opinions, SES, and races.
•In secondary education there are many extracurricular activities in which your children can participate. The teachers are also specialized in subject matter that might be beyond your ability to teach (if you are considering home school).
•You have the opportunity to be a part of PTA or of the school boards (a fabulous way to get involved in your community and help improve our country’s education).
•Inappropriate (too much) government interference.
•The world can be a daunting place and you are exposing your children to many outside influences. Your children may make wrong decisions and associate with peers that you don’t approve of.
•You may not agree with some of the teachers and be fearful of them teaching your children. It is sometimes difficult to get your child transferred to a different teacher (or another school).
•The overall culture the schools in your area (teaching methods, the hours, rules, curriculum, facilities, funds, philosophies, etc. . . ) may not be to your liking.
Final Note: I tried my best to be unbiased as I wrote this post; there are millions more pros and cons (we could be here all day). I have very strong feelings about public education and I want to work to make it better – I support public education, though I don’t always agree. I feel that this is crucial to breaking the poverty cycle, that it is a part of the American dream that you can do anything if you work hard enough, and that despite the imperfections I see on a frequent basis, public education is one of the things that will ensure that our nation isn’t swathed in ignorance. YOU as a parent have to make the difference though.
I have posted a comment from a friend. It is under my name (for privacy), but I didn’t write it. I wrote her an e-mail and asked for her thoughts before I wrote this post. The message she conveyed was succinct and in line with my feelings. She is a former educator as well and a mother; I highly respect and value her opinion.