What is Happening to our Schools?


At one time in our not too distant past, public schools were seen as a powerful force for literacy, democracy, equal opportunity, and economic growth. The benefits to society of an informed electorate and capable workers seemed clear to most communities willing to support their local schools with their taxes. Then came race, religion and politics and everything seems to have changed.

Instead of a safe place to socialize, grow and learn, schools have become a battleground, and in some ways literally as well as figuratively. Accused of being propaganda breeding grounds and incompetent to complete the tasks required by the local and state governments, public schools are increasingly under attack. A once noble profession is being demeaned and parents and community members, many who send their children to private schools, rail against the curriculum and books in the library.

While holding public schools accountable for a variety of outcomes, taxpayer funds are diverted to charter and private schools with little or no accountability. School administrators and teachers are on the defensive and teacher vacancies are at an all time high. Critical areas such as science, math and special education are the worst hit with many positions filled by less than fully qualified instructors.

Only if we can return to the notion that public education is essential to the future of the country and that teaching is a noble profession to be rewarded not just by the school district but by the community as well can we make a difference. A living wage commensurate with the education required helps. But respect and appreciation is most valuable to encourage young people to help form the next generation.

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