Sunday, May 07, 2006

Public Schools Under Attack

Are public schools under attack? You bet they are!
When I was in the process of setting up this blog, I wanted to look at some sample blogs. I typed in the words "public education" and the first item that came up was praise for an article that calls for the abolition of public education. Dr. Bruce Shortt, so-called "Christian," wrote the article, and he encourages all like-minded people to remove their children from public schools until his goal can be met.
Three weeks ago, Time Magazine’s cover story was titled "Dropout Nation." The article made the very dubious claim that thirty percent of all American students end up dropping out before graduation, and suggested in a no-so-subtle way that this was another failure of the American public education system.
For the last forty years, public education has provided millions of kids with avenues to wonderful lives despite the intentional and unwitting efforts by those on both ends of the political spectrum to make that as difficult as possible. On the left, we’ve had the bleeding hearts like the journalist who wrote Time’s article and the judges who have made decisions that have forced us to allow behavior in our classrooms that they would never tolerate in their courtrooms. Because of them, nearly every public school teacher has had to put up with some students in their classrooms who refuse to make any effort and refuse to behave. These students damage the education that takes place in nearly every classroom they are in, but it’s almost impossible to remove them. As if that wasn’t enough of a handicap, we now have those on the right who are doing everything they can to encourage our good students to leave through the use of vouchers and homeschooling.
When you consider the efforts of the left and the right to turn public education into a babysitting service for malcontents, it’s incredible how well we are doing. Our school now has graduates in nearly every state and private university in Minnesota and North Dakota. We’ve had kids go to Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and other prestigious universities throughout the nation. Last year, one of our former students graduated from Harvard Law School, which was really no surprise since she had earned a perfect score on both portions of the SAT during her senior year at our high school. Our school certainly has its share of success stories, but the amazing thing is that we don’t stand out in any way. There are thousands public schools with millions of success stories around the United States. But if you listen to people like Dr. Shortt and Time Magazine, you’d never know it.


Blogger Deb Sistrunk Nelson said...

My hat goes off to people like you who continue to work in public eduation. Without a doubt, the role of a teacher today is much more complex than the role of a teacher 40 years ago. But, then, being a student or parent today is no piece of cake, either.

I believe you represent the voice of many, many teachers. In that sense, you provide a great public service.

Public education will continue to see changes, I think, to the consternation of many. Those teachers that survive a lengthy career - as you have done - do so because they learn to develop thick skins and a sense of humor.

Hang in there. In the end, public education is about the children and teachers like you who support them.

5/25/2006 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is time to end the rampant socialism and terminate all levels of governmental support and funding for public education. No one is forcing people to have kids, and those that choose to do so should be responsible for educating them.

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