Why You Must Defend Public Education

Three months ago, I quit my job as public school teacher… Not because I had tough students, because I did, and THEY WERE MY WHY.

Not because I had too many papers to grade or lessons to plan, because I did, but the growth of many, meant more than my personal time off.

Not because I wasn’t getting paid enough, or because my insurance benefits barely covered my health care, or because I felt undervalued…

I quit because education is no longer about our students, it’s about funding and profits.  

While many government officials argued for charter schools, Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Secretary of Education, fought for public education. Unfortunately, this meant more regulations and public schools scrambled to train teachers on the new Common Core Standards and accommodate the testing required to show growth.

The tug-o-war for growth versus proficiency was literally fought in the classrooms of teachers trying to understand what exactly was expected of them.  Students suffered because teachers constantly had to adapt to these new changes sent down from politicians and lawmakers.  Teachers suffered because they were a one man dog and pony show and ultimately deprived of their pay raises and schools suffered as many didn’t receive funding.  

To say public education needs some help is an understatement, but the value of public education is strong.

The value of education comes from providing a safe, stable environment where our kids are taught by highly qualified teachers who lead them in creative, intellectual lessons necessary for college and most importantly, for life.  

No matter their background, students with varying abilities, from many religions and cultures are entitled to a free education in the hopes that our society will be better off due to an educated, civilized youth.  While students now seem to be becoming better at taking tests than engaging, we need to find a balance between accountability and preparing our kids for life.  

Defunding public school and replacing it with unregulated charter schools is not the answer to our problems in public education.  This has been proven time and time again, but most prominently by Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary.  In her home state of Michigan, Detroit’s shift to charter schools under the promise of “more choice” has left students without a stable place for education as many schools have closed taking parent and federal money with them.  Students at her Detroit schools have shown lower literacy rates, many reaching the 8th grade before they can read.  More options have meant shifting schools more than 20 times for primary students who are only seeking stability and qualified teachers.  Finally, students have been denied due to disabilities, both physical and intellectual creating civil rights violations.  Allowing schools to be selective is the definition of discrimination and will result in segregated schools again.  We cannot move backwards!  

Education is about opportunity.  We must defend public education and ensure that it continues to be a shelter to our passionate teachers and their students who are our future. 

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