Saturday, April 2, 2011

Free Public Education

As a student of education, both public and private, I find the recent utterances from the right to be nothing less than FANTASTIC!  Here is the one that I find most interesting: ""Just call them what they are," Santorum said. "Public schools? That's a nice way of putting it. These are government-run schools."  This quote is from a genuine candidate for president, former senator, Rick Santorum.  Now there are other truly outrageous quotes but let's dissect this one for just a few lines.

Public means, generally speaking, run by the public.  How do we manage our cities and counties?  They are public entities.  Well, they are run by the "government". How do we manage our state and federal entities?  Well, they are run by the "government".   So, how else would one run public (non-private) schools except by an elected body from the local area.  Those citizens who live within the geo-political boundaries of the "public school" manage (note the word as opposed to run) the school district.  And, here is the crucial question, who is the government?  WE ARE!  Yes, government of the people by the people and for the people.  So, what Mr. Santorum (and a host of full blown bozos) is saying is he does not trust us, him and everyone else that holds public office. 

What has public schools brought us?  Well, look around your home and believe that virtually everything that runs your home (including your spouse) is probably a product of at least some form of public school.

And who was the major proponent of public schools?  None other than Thomas Jefferson.  And in a debate who would you rather have on your side?  Mr. Santorum or Thomas Jefferson. 

Faith based education, which I think Mr. Santorum is trying to get to, is a reasonable alternative to public education but it is by no means a substitute.  It is neither better, nor worse than public education.  In fact, it really does not serve the same purpose.  Public education is the bedrock of our democracy.  Find me another country that is as great as the United States and does not have public education.  And while I am at it, the bedrock of public education is the public school teacher.  You will find no more caring, loving, better educated, more concerned for the student than a public school teacher.  Stripping the public school teacher of their right to bargain, a reasonable compensation package, and their dignity along the way is simply despicable.  And stripping our democracy of public education is despotic.