Public schools are society's foundation
There are stories throughout this week’s paper highlighting student achievement, school projects and the students’ own writing skills. We coordinated this as a part of Texas Public Schools Week.
All of the stories show how public schools are meeting the challenges of the future and helping create a qualified, creative and well-adjusted workforce.
These are not the easiest times for public education. Top leaders in our state legislature use a few troubled inner-city schools as examples and use a broad brush to unfairly paint all schools as “struggling” or “failing.” This should get the hackles up of every Texas resident who sends their child to a public school and sees the sun-up to sun-down work done by administrators, teachers, coaches and staff.
Some legislators are moving to divert tax dollars to support private or religious schools, and public schools end up seeming like a stepchild.
Yet Article 7 of the Texas Constitution is for “support and maintenance of system of public free schools”:
“A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
Our leaders seem to have lost the vision for the greater good where education is concerned and they are being influenced by agenda-driven groups.
The everyday miracles that are performed year after year in public schools are worthy of celebration. Education, public education, has changed entire family legacies.
Many public school teachers, administrators and staff end up serving as a mentor or even surrogate parent in ways that are unseen and unappreciated until sometimes years later.
Some other countries still run what amounts to a lottery or caste system, where well-connected or wealthy students are chosen for education, while average or poor families frequently do without.
The mission of American public schools to educate every single child is huge in scope and admirable in its vision.
We support our local private schools, as well. And certainly American schools can and should learn from top-performing institutions, whether private, public, foreign or domestic.
For instance, we should examine the recent intense focus on testing and whether it has been truly helpful.
But every day, there are students taking full advantage of their public education and moving out into the world to become leaders in industry, science, technology, trades, the arts and other areas.
To our Fredericksburg, Harper, Stonewall and Doss administrators, teachers and staff members, we salute you heroes for making a difference each day in the lives of countless children. – K.E.C.