Our local paper has an article in it today about the local school board launching an initiative to find out why students have been either leaving the district or not enrolling at all. After skimming the article, I scrolled down to the comments section. You'd think I would have learned by now to quit reading the comments in this paper, since they're populated by trolls, but I let my curiosity get the better of me.
Some of the comments are as follows:
"If you really want the best education you should give vouchers for those that believe another school or homeschool provides a better work environment. Competition is ALWAYS the best for education and business/ thats why walmart rules the world because it has no real competition and its stuff is junk and workers underpaid."
"Ahh, but liberal teachings are so important to the Democrat agenda. What gives parents the right to want their children to learn anything else? Much less, not pay for it (liberal agenda)."
"We choose to homeschool, and I could go on and on about about the reasons: Smaller . . . no negative peer pressure, moral absolutes, less wasted time,. . ."
Personally, I think we have an above-average public school system here. I have many complaints about my time as a student here, but overall, as a parent I've been happy with the level of education my son is getting. He had some problems with reading in Kindergarten and 1st grade, and was quickly enrolled into a one-on-one teaching program that brought him up to grade level. The teachers have been wonderful, and my son loves going to school.
However, year after year our school district asks for more money from the community, and year after year they are denied. Then we have the nerve to complain about the quality of our schools.
I do not understand how anyone can claim that school vouchers are the answer to our public school problems. In case you're unfamiliar with the concept of school vouchers, here's the gist of it: I think my local public school sucks, so the government should give me tuition money to enroll my kids in a private or religious school. How does that solve anything? Our public school system is decaying, so instead of focusing money on them, let's funnel it to private schools? And I won't even get into the problems with using public money to send kids to religious schools. I'm sure you can figure out where I stand on that one.
As for home-schooling, I can understand the impulse to want to provide a better education for your children by providing it at home, but I think home-schooling brings it own set of problems. For one thing, most home-schooling these days seems to be going on for religious reasons, which again, I probably don't have to explain my problem with.
But to me, the biggest issue is the damage that can be done by keeping your children from going through the struggles associated with school. Learning how to survive and thrive and in the social setting of school is an important part of development. Kids need to figure out how to navigate the world full of other people who don't necessarily think or act like them. Kids who are sheltered from that may have problems transitioning into the world of work as an adult.
Anyway, my point is, public schools are important. They educate the next generation of people who will be taking care of us in our old age. Even if you don't have a child in school, don't you want the people who will be your future doctors, business owners and insurance salesmen to be properly educated? Why don't we value our public education system a little more?