03 September 2013

Saving Public Education

This latest article on Slate, sensationally titled:

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person

is actually a thoughtful read. I remember the question of public school even existing anymore in the foreseeable future, being posed in graduate school. And I know with the current infrastructure and government involvement that public education in the United States is in big trouble, and has been for a long time.

Without getting into the multitude of problems that public schools is facing, let's assume the author of the above article has a point, that parents are pulling their children out of a debunk system so they can find a private school that will give what their children deserve.

What does this mean? Well, if public schools become obsolete, then free education is no longer available to every child. Education then becomes a perk that the privilege enjoy.  Now, let's assume it's not going to ever get that drastic. Well, then let's pretend that public education will continue to be of mediocre and poor quality for children and families who cannot afford a better education.

Is this a problem? Well, not if you are rich.

The author talks about the various reasons why folks put their children in private schools. And I must say, as a former private school (ala Waldorf) teacher, the behavioral one (parents finding a school that will fit their child's behavior or special learning needs) is certainly true. At our school, we took other Waldorf and private school "rejects". And as a young school, I would argue this was damaging to everyone involved. If I wanted to, I could easily make a case for being fired because of children with behavioral or special needs made me look bad, but that's not what I want to do.

So ultimately, if you are seeking a better education for your child, then know that the "problems" you are trying to escape with public education will follow you, to some extent, in a private school setting. This makes sense because the issues public education faces are the same ones private schools will have to face. I don't believe these kinds of societal ills go away with a higher price tag.

I won't go so far as to say if you send your child to a private school, you are a bad person, but I think the mentality of "every person for themselves" is definitely in the mix. 

3 comments:

myth free life said...

HiYa-
Well you certainly are in the minority in thinking this was a good or even 'thought provoking' article- I teach at a Title one high school and send my 1st grader to Waldorf... Why? I don't approve of the lower grade education at public schools (testing, homework packets as early as Kinder, pressured teachers to 'get results' all lead to a stressed out lower grades education- if not early burnout. Also, when kids with special needs have a very hard time in private schools- I know Public School is the Best place for a special needs child- no question. And while I don't like to 'brain drain' or culture loss of private school pull-outs, they do make class sizes smaller leaving more money to be spent on fewer students!
While I am a total Freethinker (atheist), I keep a very close eye on our Waldorf- and educate my child to 'reality' as we know it- He knows gnomes, fairies etc are made up-

I've been reading your blog for good Waldorf insight, but certainly by agreeing (or suggesting it) agreement with this article you are either really being ignorant or trying to 'stir the pot' and make some noise- just keep doing what you do best please!

Lani Cox said...

I understand why parents would get upset over the Slate article. You certainly are not a bad person for protecting and wanting the best for your child.

That being said, I thought the author had a good point, in that if everyone opts out of public ed, then nobody will fight to dissolve standardized testing or ridiculous homework packets.

As I mentioned, there are a multitude of problems public schools are facing, but when folks are not directly effected, they are less likely to care.

If everyone had no choice but to use public ed, then parents would be fighting for smaller classes, better buildings, higher pay for teachers, and all the good stuff we know our education system deserves.

We once had quality public education in America, but we lost it. And with the technology we have now, it's possible to have superior public school ed.

I just shared this to bring out this point, that we want good education for everyone, not just our own children. We want an educated society, and we want our children to live in an educated prosperous community.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a public ed teacher and parent of a private school child, you have a unique perspective.

I certainly didn't share this to be offensive but to remind us all of public education. We need to fight for education for everyone too.

Anonymous said...

After reading your articles, I can see why you were fired. Thank you for leaving the Waldorf teaching profession. Our kids are much safer now that you are not teaching. People like you should never teach children.