We Need A Public Education System That Benefits All, And It Should Take Precedence Over Private Schools

We Need A Public Education System That Benefits All, And It Should Take Precedence Over Private Schools

A plea to all congressmen, congresswomen, governors and anyone who could listen — don't worry about offering breaks and funding to various charter schools. Shore up your school districts instead.

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I am the product of the public education system. I will admit that with no ounce of shame and all of my dignity intact. Sure, we deal with the rigors of the system with the subpar lunches, the teachers inundating our backpacks with homework and the innumerable moments where we found ourselves unsure of what was to do next. And yet, it was worth it for many of us.

However, many kids do not have the same access to proper education in many locations. This can extend across many cities (Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit) and many of the big cities have struggled for years.

Many of the brightest students have been sucked into more prestigious, more private institutions inside or outside of their cities, leaving many school districts with poorer results as a result.

We lag behind most major nations in various metrics. The solution? There are many ideas. But there is far more to this issue than meets the eye.

First, let's just establish how dire the situation is and how we are not really poised for much change anytime soon. The United States, for all its blustering about greatness and exceptionalism in the states, ranks 14th out of all education systems in the world. The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) ranked the United States 38th out of 71 in math and 24th in science.

We are the greatest in the world? Fine, we allure people to attend our institutions — if they are our universities.

These have also suffered and had some very obvious, stark declines over the past decade. Our ability to properly educate our children has not just stagnated, it has ended with many declines across the board. It is alarming.

Now, there have been many previous solutions proposed over the years. One previously advanced was the concept of establishing more private schools outside of the public system, as well as homeschooling to exercise greater local control over students. Needless to say, this is caused by a lot of sentiments from various religious individuals who feel that God has exited the school system due to decisions to remove school mandated prayer and creationism from public schools, as well as not funding private religious schools.

From experience, I learned the world was created in six days and that women were made from the rib of Adam.

How does that benefit our students? To contradict science in such a fashion? To indoctrinate children without giving them the freedom to actually consider what they'd prefer?

There are some other options that have been floated as a result of this objection. One particularly attractive option has always been the idea of having charter schools publicly funded, operating outside of the confines of the public school district, providing students with other schools beyond the public schools. Charter schools, however, have their issues including accountability, program content and their true purpose.

A great example of this is ECOT, a school in Columbus, Ohio.

This school operated for years without any significant oversight from the state. This school took over 180 million taxpayer dollars from the state. And yet, the performances at the school were below average, to say the least. Only 39% of their students graduated in 2014. Now, there was a remarkably high enrollment at this school, which makes their numbers look better. However, this masks the greater issue.

Charter schools are worried about their bottom line and the investment they put into the institution first. That is paramount for them.

What solutions are there? We need to improve so much of our system. Better funding for our schools, better pay for our teachers, making a community that cooperates and coordinates with all educational institutions. We need to work on a lot as a society to reinforce our system. This would even include better funding for supplies, school buildings and cultural changes.

Not suffocating kids with homework and preventing standardized tests from being the main gatekeeper for higher education.

Many kids are being suffocated by this system, and we have suffered a stark decline as a result. From cuts to education, mediocrity being awarded and special interests hijacking the education system, we need an education system that works for everyone — for the kids in the suburbs, the kids in the rural areas and the kids in the big cities.

We need a reboot and a revitalization of our public education system. We have seen it work in nations like China, Finland and many others. It'll take more than funding — a cultural change is in order. With both, we can create a public education system that benefits all students in all places in our great nation.

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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The First Black Student at USF: Ernest Boger

The black history of our university paves the path for future students of color

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February is Black History month, which spurred me to research into some of the Black History of my own university. There has been many inspirational students of color at the University of South Florida, and all began with one great man. In 1961, University of South Florida accepted their first black student to the university, Ernest Boger. Like many, Boger worked hard for his eventual acceptance to USF. He graduated valedictorian of his high school class and obtained an almost perfect score on his college entrance exam.

While at USF, Ernest Boger continued to be a great academic, as well as highly involved throughout USF activities, especially in the band. One thing that made me very proud to be a USF student is Boger's comments on his transition to USF. Though he did say it was difficult feeling like an outsider in comparison to everyone else, he felt accepted by many at college. However, the same could not be said about the community. For instance, Boger reflects on a time where his band mates and him went to a local restaurant, but the manager refused to serve Boger. As a reflection of true Bull culture, Boger's band mates along with other USF student protested the restaurant for days, until they were attacked as a result. I am so proud to be at a university that supports people of color, and immediately supported the only African American student at the university when he was confronted with outright discrimination.

Despite the discrimination and racism he faced, Boger continued his education at USF, graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology. And then went on to get a doctorate! Reading about Ernest Boger makes me proud to continue his legacy as a African American student at USF. Especially in the presence of a racially charged society that still presents many limitations for African Americans in the work force, despite the education they worked hard to acquire.

Ernest Boger did not let discrimination halt his success, and neither will we.

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