Welcome Back!!

We can now view 2020 with 20/20 hindsight!  Let us hope that this new year will bring an end to this horrific pandemic and a return to family gatherings in person, full stadiums for our sports, movie theaters, open restaurants, and children attending public schools in person, every day. 

Let’s also hope that the past year will serve as a reminder of the unique place of public education in our country.  There are well financed and powerful interests that seek to treat education of the public as a commodity to be handled through the private market.  There are those who believe that education would be better for our children if the schools were run by private entities, forced to compete with each other for every dollar.  They tout parental choice and the magic of the free market as the panacea for all that is wrong with our schools. 

After all, they point out, competition and the free market has led to better cars, grocery stores, forms of entertainment, electronic gizmos, airline travel, etc.  They are right about that.  Free market economies and robust competition benefit consumers.  But here’s the catch: free markets also create winners and losers.  So if we turn our education system entirely over to the private, free market, we will see winners and losers.  We tolerate winners and losers among airlines, grocery stores and software companies.  But is that acceptable when we are talking about the education of our children?  What percentage of losers are we willing to accept?

It’s up to us who understand and appreciate our public school system to remind our fellow citizens that education is not a commodity, like laundry detergent, to be purchased by individual choice.  Our country was founded on the radical notion that people could govern themselves….but only if the people were properly educated.  Public education is the foundation stone of our democracy.  Therefore it is our responsibility to support it, nurture it, value it, and pay for it.  And of course, none of that means that public education is above criticism.  We know there are problems, but junking the whole system is not the solution.

We will be spending some time in the Daily Dawg developing this theme this year.  This will include some interesting American history. I’m learning that public education was very much on the minds of our founders.  I will be sharing what I’m learning from time to time.


Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday!!