Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Public Education

Public Education
From preschool through college, public education is at the center of a tremendous controversy now. Public school education has never been under attack before, but that is just what certain radical elements of the right wing are doing. You see, charter schools, schools of choice, No Child left Behind, and many other proposals being put out there are part of a continuing dialogue on public education. Is the public education system doomed to fail, or can it be salvaged? Just how bad is it anyway? How much of it is hype and how much of it is really a problem?

Anyone who has ever worked for the public Department of Education, or who has done any research about it knows that there are problems. The fact is that public education is not fair across the boards. Children at inner-city schools or rural schools, children in at-risk populations, or even children in certain states face great obstacles in getting the public education that they need. Meanwhile, public colleges and universities continue to not really be public. Although these public schools get very little of their funding from their tuition, they still insist on charging huge amounts for enrollment. This allows rich people to get into the schools, but keeps the poor out. Although public education grants do some good, they do not do enough. No one is quite sure what the solution is, but everyone agrees on one thing: something must be done about public education.

Of course, there are many different ways to help out with the education public. One of the best ways is to become a teacher or a tutor, particularly if you can work in a low income or at risk population. Public education is more in need of great young people to take up the torch than ever before. Although it is not a great time to be a teacher with cutbacks and job insecurities mounting,  it is still one of the best jobs to hold if you really want to make a difference in people's lives.

Public education will be effected primarily by three groups: the teachers, the parents, and the politicians. If you are a parent, participate in the public school board elections and parent teacher association. If you are a politician, study education and be responsive to the issues that students face every day. And if you are a teacher, just by doing your work you are making a difference in the lives of students in the public schools system.

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