I live in the state of Illinois. If you know anything about the state, you know that Illinois is the most broke state in the U.S. and that we went years without passing a budget due to a conflicting legislature, corrupt politicians, or whatever the heck is going on in Springfield, our state capital. Either way, our education system is suffering. This is not to say public schools are failing our future doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. That is not true. We are here and we are thriving.
The state's funding may be lacking, but it only makes those students work harder. In my hometown, students of my school district made their voices heard at the polls when adding a 10 cent increase in property taxes would make or break students education. Sports would diminish, arts programs would be cut, resources for students would no longer exist. This has a huge impact on students and their will to go to school. Without a steady rate of tuition following, we were forced to fight for our education. It made us stronger, we campaigned for ourselves to show that it isn't just about a tax increase, but it's about the future of our excellent school district.
Public schools offer different perspectives. They show that it is okay to disagree with the person next to you. Most of the time, you will find multiple people around you who all have separate opinions. It is encouraged to have conversations in peaceful ways. Ways that encourage the idea that we can "agree to disagree," that just because your opinion is different than mine does not make you a bad person.
Public school offers a lot of diversity.
There are lots of factors as to why that is, But this also means those kids are exposed to different cultures, different ideas, and different lifestyles. For example, I was exposed to the LGBTQ community in high school. I learned more about it from people who were in my classes and who I hung out with at school. Some people never understand what that lifestyle is like, at least maybe not until college.
Public school kids meet people from all walks of life which only helps us understand the lifestyle better.
Public schools often don't require school uniforms. This promotes self-expression. That you wear what you want to wear (within the rules of dress code). There are of course exceptions. There are the schools that will call out students, girls in particular, for showing too much shoulder, being a distraction to other students, etc. Besides those incidents, wear what you are most comfortable in. If that is sweatpants? Sure. Leggings that don't cover your butt? Go for it! There is a difference in being conservative and being confident with yourself. Be sure it's school appropriate and just go learn something.
There are lots of kids that find their passion at school, even at a public school. The teachers are not lazy or "good for nothing." Public schools may be big and we may have our own cliques, but we all have on goal in common: graduation. We experience the same things in a way. The first day of high school, all the homecomings, finals week, pep rallies, football games, all the dances, and for the final hoorah, graduation. We all experience different things as we go through, but it's our school spirit that makes us one. We belong to a school that prides itself on our mascot.
I am a public school kid. I started in kindergarten and walked across the stage as a proud graduate of a school district I grew up in. I am a product of a public school. My mind is not warped. I am not better than anyone else, but I am not below average. I am a former public school, and that's okay. I will forever promote the work that is public education. I am a public school graduate. I am here and I am thriving at my public university.