“Once upon a time we used public schools to educate American kids, for the benefit of all.” – The lament of a current public school teacher
First, B.S. Let’s confront the brutal facts. Saying that prior generations used public schools for the benefit of all is revisionist history. Unless you count ALL as everyone who is NOT a minority or has special needs. Our history is not exactly pretty.
On the other hand, our present is something we can point to with a level of pride. We have done a better job of working to educate every student who enters our doors. But let’s not pretend that we did this on our own. Like it or not, the truth of the matter is that courts, the advocates, and accountability have forced us to change our practices, beliefs, and expectations. This change has been stressful for public school educators but good for public school students. Additionally, we have made this change with arguably, inadequate resources.
Which brings me to my second point. Now public schools are working to educate all students to a high level. But schools are doing this with resources that have kept pace with neither expectations nor inflation. And teachers are doing this while being battered and berated by the very politicians that we repeatedly vote for.
At some point, we must recognize that as public educators we reap what we sow. When the people we vote for are the source of our pain, we either accept it or vote for someone else. That is more productive than lamenting about something that never was.
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