The Future Of Public Schools
Having a youngster has made us start thinking about schools. Personally, I had hoped the problem would just go away, but our son is almost three and a half, keeps growing boisterously closer to school age, has not yet taught himself to read and shows little interest in mastering multiplication or division. Relatives just informed us last night that he seems to have a bright future as a boxer or a bouncer, so we know there's always that to fall back on. Ideally, however, we'd like him to have more options, and so have started checking out schools.
Our city has tended to take top marks for being the most well-read in America. Even though we've known full well that Republikaans do not believe a free, high-quality education should be a government deliverable and have sought to de-fund them in various ways while channeling money to religious, voucher, and "charter" schools, and we heard that school teachers in Detroit went on strike a couple of years back to get for the paper towels, toilet paper, and pencils they were buying out of their own paychecks, but it was still a surprise to look up our city's public high school graduation rate:
58%That's not counting all the kids who didn't make it to high school, who graduated but can't write well enough to explain something, who don't have the math foundation to make it in engineering, and who never learned items of common cultural significance, such as where Italians come from.
Fortunately, there are ways to be sure our child starts off to getting a good education. First, there's a lottery we can enter. I'm not kidding. If our name is drawn, our son can go to the special Japanese/Spanish immersion program where the higher-paid, more impassioned teachers are. (No choice on which language you get, though.) Next, there's paying $20,000+ in combined tuition and property taxes, the latter of which are largely said to be earmarked for the upkeep of public schools, in order to obtain the quality of education we and our parents received as children for free.
(Graphic courtesy of Cat In The Bag.)