I'm Not #ProudofPublic

My alma mater literally has an Instagram page dedicated to all the cockroaches found in the building. Our sexual education was literally just "don't do it till you're married." (While I personally agree with this statement, this is NOT effective when it comes from someone besides a parent, which is probably why we had so many pregnant girls). We didn't have thriving art programs or a great deal of special education funding. Only a handful of AP classes were offered. I saw people drop out due to poverty, pregnancy and learning disabilities that simply went unaddressed.

On the state level, Georgia's dropout rate is higher than the national average. In 2015, we ranked 31st in the country in terms of education outcomes.

So, no, forgive me if I'm not "#proudofpublic," and neither is anyone I know from the Gilmer/ Pickens/ Fannin County area. I'm more proud of the years I spent in Christian schools (though the second one I attended was probably not as good as the first) than I am of the six years I spent in Gilmer County Public Schools.

As hypocritical, suburban, elitist liberals post cutesy tweets about how #proudofpublic they are, I can't help but wonder how they can "care about the poor" while opposing better education. Being #proudofpublic is easy when you graduated from a wealthy, high-performing school which may as well have been private. Feelings of pride don't come so easily when you went to a title-one high school.

School choice vouchers may improve achievement scores, graduation rates for students of lower socioeconomic status and parental involvement in education. Only someone who is very elitist would want to deny someone those privileges, while calling themselves a champion for the poor. Only someone who is, ironically, narrow-minded and intolerant, is "#proudofpublic" because they've never seen the inside of a public school outside their clean, white, wealthy corner of the suburbs.

Zip code should not determine a child's future. A parent's poor financial state should not keep a bright child out of a quality school. Every child, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, should have a choice. A majority of public schools in middle America aren't exactly something to be proud of, and everyone should have the choice to opt out.

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