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Drama and Noise

As a parent, School Board member, and adult educator I am intrigued by the “drama and noise” in the public discourse surrounding public education. As we often hear of the US’s low standing in the world and comparisons to Finland, China and Japan, I must wonder at the motivations. I recently saw a quote from Mr. Garrison Keillor on the state of public education, “When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together.  You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal.”   Is this really about conservatism or the larger education reform movement in this country that has worked very hard to discredit public education and educators? If a community loses faith in their school because of policies outside of its control then I would argue that part of the American Dream is destroyed. Public education is being squeezed from many different quarters, which puts pressure on an already overburdened system and tax base. Couple that with poorly designed and graded standardized tests that are used to label and discourage young minds, resulting in poor test scores that are used to condemn schools and teachers – it makes for a powerful mix. Noting that private schools and Charter schools are not subject to the same policies and testing standards leads me to question the real motivations of the reform movement. So, I will continue the drama and the noise in support of the American Dream and the future of Public Education.

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