Budget shortfalls. Failing grades and plummeting standards. From the sound of the headlines surrounding public education, you’d believe the entire school system was falling down around our ears. Yet, that is far from the truth: Public schools are thriving. Yet, we know there is much to be done. Better is not great, and when it comes to our young learners, great is the standard.
Why? So many reasons. From greater engagement with teachers to a more connected sense of community, our public schools are the places where children interact with not just their peers, teachers and administrators—it’s a place where they connect to a sense of history in their community. It’s where their best friend’s sister had that kooky art teacher or where their dad once scored a touchdown in a football game.
Public school is also a place of increased educational choice, giving families the opportunity to attend their local school or send their children to a magnet school, helping them pursue deeper learning in STEM or healthcare or the arts. The diversity of services, classes and of perspectives and people at public schools lend themselves to a richer educational experience for the students.
As an important part of the community, public schools are built on a backbone of trust and accountability. Recent media coverage of school reform underscores this commitment: Public schools have open financial and administrative records, which are available for scrutiny by anyone who wants to know how a school or a district is run. Each member of the community has ownership of their local school because it’s their taxes that pay for the services provided.
Our public schools are places that address equity and access for all students. With passionate, engaged teachers, community support and appropriate funding, our public schools can continue their legacy of impacting generations for decades to come.