A public education in this country has been a wonderful asset for people and for America. Our education system allowed us as a nation to expand, industrialize, build cars, boats and planes. Before I forget this same education allowed us to circle the earth, land on the moon and make a nearly flawless nine and a half year trip to Pluto.
The attitude in recent years going back to the eighties is that this system is broken and needs to be fixed. The solution seems to be charter schools and vouchers. It is my understanding that many vouchers are given to students who were already out of the public education system. Many charter schools have enriched the weath of the charter school managers and reduced local control. Granted some private and charter schools have served their student population well. Many traditional public schools have also served their student populations well. Where is the breakdown that mandates alternative schools?
Low performing schools are the problem these alternatives are addressing or are they? We still have low performing public schools. We also have low performing private and charter schools. However we don’t have the high costs and lack of accountability which public sector teacher unions allegedly create. Just ask Governor Scott Walker or others of his philosophical position. Although I have not encountered any highly paid teachers nor are our colleges inundated with students seeking a teaching degree, apparently Governor Walker has. Teachers are the most influential persons apart from parents in the lives of our children. Yet we choose to blame them for our shortcomings as parents. This is not an effort to transfer blame. Our lifestyle and cost of living takes a heavy toll on parents ability to guide their children. We have children entering school with excellent skills in language, numbers, computers and others with minimal such skills. We pack them up, drop them off and expect the teachers to “level the playing field” as our leaders like to say about so many things. Then we want to penalize the teachers through their paycheck for failing students. There is no such thing as a failing school.
Let me conclude that not all teachers are wonderful and not all parents fail to adequately prepare their children. We do have problems within our public education system. We need to define the problems and develope proper ways to address the problems. Our educators are the most qualified people to do this study and analysis not our political types who in most instances have neither the education nor skills to participate. Their job is to take the study and develope legislation and funding sources to improve our public education system. It is high time we have solutions that address the problems and are not just a response which feels right or is acceptable to the uninformed, whether educated or not.