We keep hearing that public education is broken. That schools are no longer doing a good job. That we need to stop sending taxpayer dollars to the schools. People seem to think if we cut off the money, schools will improve.
I think there’s more to it than that. I think we, as a people, need to decide what it is we want schools to do. Clearly, public schools are seen as effective. Everything anyone wants to see changed in our society is pushed onto the schools. Want your child to be nicer? Lobby the school district to put in more character education. Want children to know about storm safety? Send storm safety coloring books to their schools. Concerned about bullying? Pass legislation that schools need to develop lesson plans to stop bullies.
Given the obvious belief that public education can change lives, shouldn’t we be more supportive?
Thomas Jefferson said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Without education, people cannot make informed decisions about their government. We need students to see the value in education each and every day. That way, they will grow up to be informed voters.
Thanks to our public schools, we have incredible inventions – like the computer, the iPod, the cell phone and more. Thanks to our public schools, we’ve been able to cure diseases. Thanks to our public schools, our children grow up to be productive members of society.
If we want schools to continue to create a vital citizenry, shouldn’t we be willing to support it, both monetarily and socially?