How Much Attention Do We Extend To Our Public Education System?

This morning after pumping gas, I purchased three newspapers, one of which was USA Today. On the front page is an article titled, “Recession Fuels Shift from Private to Public School” by Greg Toppo, which addressed the ratio of enrollment within private to public schools since the recession. As I read, I noticed many interesting components to this article. Yet, I have selected one topic to focus on for this post, “How much attention do we extend to our public education system?” Now, let me explain the significance of this question. The article elaborates on how one family has removed their children from private schools to explore the “cheaper” option being public school. During this journey, these children experience several things that contrast their realm of familiarity. But as the story progresses, I am intrigued yet baffled by a statement made by Pedro Noguera, a New York education professor, who was interviewed in the article. He stated, “College-educated parents are not going to subject their kids to second-class education.”

Now, here’s the baffling part for me, is he implying that only parents with a college education would be concerned about their children’s education? Could not a parent who only received a high-school diploma care about their child’s education, as well? Furthermore, it requires us to examine the rhetorical question I shared earlier, “How much attention do we extend to our public education system?” That is the intriguing part, because after critically dissecting the statement, I am then forced to consider whether the professor’s statement holds some validity.  So I ask, are you a parent who sends your child to school, occasionally assists with homework, yet fails to attend the PTA meetings? As a parent, when is the last time you expressed interest in obtaining the retention rate of your child’s public institution? Quite simply, do we even know the year of publication for some of our children’s textbooks? If it’s now 2010, and their history books are dated back to 1974, that’s a problem worth addressing. But I digress.

Are we a generation of public school attendees who have settled for ‘second-class education’ at the expense of future generation? Why does it take parents who have experienced ‘upscale’ education to address the needs of our public education system? Should we not be aware and proactive enough to see these issues for ourselves?

I could go on and on about this subject, however I will wrap up with my stance on this topic. Perhaps we have become so content with initiatives such as “No Child Left Behind” that we allowed the contentment to create blinders. And if this is the case, it’s time to remove them, and implement a movement that secures quality education for ALL children.

I’m now accepting applications for this movement, no college education required.


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