Sunday, April 26, 2009

I was for public schools...when public schools weren't cool

Opening of Anne Foster's article:

The New York Times ran an article on April 6, 2009, called "The Sudden Charm of Public School." The article details the panic of Manhattan families who have suddenly decided, given the economic times, that they may send their kids to public schools. For families who planned on private school and didn't consider public school zones when they bought homes, they suddenly care very much which public school their kids might attend. Stating that it used to be a taboo in certain circles to even suggest you're interested in sending your kids to public schools, the article quotes one parent as saying, "Now it's actually kind of cool and in vogue." Oh, my ... what a difference a dollar and a day make. It reminds me of Barbara Mandrell's hit song years ago: "I was country ... when country wasn't cool."
The reality is that public schools have been cool for many people in the United States ever since our nation instituted the noble experiment of educating everyone. Public schools educate approximately 90% of the kids in this country, so I would welcome these newly found converts and tell them that it never was necessary or even desirable to spend $33,000 a year on private school tuition. Save the money instead for college -you'll need it there, to be sure.

Read the complete article The New Vogue Public Schools from Parents for Public Schools new director.

Middle class families ( who might have otherwise selected a private school) are sending their children to public schools because of current economic woes. The greater number of blue-collar and poor families have always had public schools as their realistic option. Having the vast majority of our children co-existing, co-learning and collaborating in our wonderful, far-from-perfect-but-central-to-democracy neighborhood public schools is the (get ready for a barrage of mixed-metaphors) caldron, salad-bowl, floral hot-house, global arena, market square, agora, amphitheater and community commons where democracy will flourish and future economic wellbeing, equitable and inclusive, can be possible.

Phew... and all in one breath.

Family leadership for public education can make it so. We're Everywhere. Engaging and empowering parents to create excellence in every public school.(PPS)
Schools that work for all children.(IDRA)
Every child: one voice.(PTA)