Save Our Schools
Public schools serve many purposes: educating citizens to ensure a well-functioning democracy; teaching life skills; making one nation out of a country of immigrants; preparing students for employment; and providing students with the means to a richer life through education in the liberal arts and sciences. Over the years public schools have performed these tasks well, making America a wealthy nation and a stable democracy. There are thousands of public schools in America that serve as sources of civic pride, and millions of Americans who attribute their success in life to their experiences — and their teachers — in these schools.
But now this vital institution is under attack. We have been closing public schools — often in poor neighborhoods — and replacing them with charters, into which we funnel public tax money. These charters are poorly regulated; in some states, the teachers don’t even need to have teaching certificates. Predictably, the results are less than wonderful.
The charter movement began as a response to desegregation: white people who didn’t want integrated schools basically started a parallel school system. Now, the issue is economic class. We hear that our schools are failing; they are not. If you look at test scores from schools where 10% or less of the students are poor, our schools are doing fine. The real problem is rampant poverty. Student performance is more closely related to family income than to anything else, and it isn’t because teachers in poor schools are lazy or uncaring. It’s because of hunger, malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, homelessness, severe stress, etc. Teachers can’t teach kids whose basic needs aren’t being met.
We must stop blaming schools and teachers for the problems of the larger society, stop pouring money into charters, and start supporting the schools, students and teachers that need our help.
Member Leelanau Indivisible &