only knowledge changes your fate
Cao Weiping, mother of a student in rural China
About Me and Why I Write
I am a grandparent of 11 children ranging in age 18 months to 18 years and I am alarmed with the lack of quality education in the public school systems. The majority of our public schools are a disgrace. Meaningful reform is out of the question. If a family can not afford a private or a parochial school or can not move to an affluent community with good public schools, the future of their children is bleak. I believe, as a mother in China is quoted in a recent New York Times article, “only knowledge changes your fate”. This is what compels me to speak out.
Defenders of the status quo in public education will tell you times today are complicated. Education in many homes is not a priority or the children are from poor or broken homes or there is abuse or there is excessive competition from television, social networking and video games, etc. When confronted with the poor test scores in the United States they are likely to claim we test all our students and other industrialized nations do not. This claim is bunk.
My early education was in public schools in the 1940’s and 50’s and I will grant that things were simpler then. Reading books from the library, the radio, sports and playing in the neighborhood were the only distractions from my studies. My family was poor; neither parent graduated high school and they were divorced by the time I turned nine. Neither parent viewed education as a top priority (making a living was an all consuming endeavor).
I was a good but uninspired and underachieving student. Following high school graduation I joined the navy and there I was given the opportunity to compete and win a college scholarship that my public school education had prepared me for. Can most kids today expect to get the same opportunity?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Public schools in most communities today do not come close to meeting expectations. I intend to write about these short comings and what parents or grandparents can do to give their school kids a reasonable chance of overcoming the public school handicap.