Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Plea for the Public School, Part 1

Adams Elementary School
Enid, Oklahoma
I'm not a fan of for-profit schools. Far from it. Our son, Steve, who works for Innovation Ohio (link to their site), is an authority on charter schools and has little good to say about many/most of them--though he is also quick to praise those that actually do the job they claim to do. But most of them, his research shows, fail to perform as well as the public school districts wherein those charters operate.

I am a product of public schools. Adams Elementary (pictured above) is the school my brothers and I attended in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Enid, Oklahoma. My mother also went there (when it was brand new!). In 1956, we moved to Hiram, Ohio, where we all attended the tiny public school (the high school consolidated with a nearby district in the fall of 1964). All three of the Dyer boys graduated from public high schools.

My mother taught in public schools during the early decades of her career. First, it was Emerson Junior High School in Enid (I love it that Enid named its two junior highs for Emerson and Longfellow)--then at James A. Garfield High School in Garrettsville, Ohio, only about three miles from our Hiram home. (Later, she earned her Ph.D. and taught Drake University students how to become good teachers. She would know. She was a superior teacher of English.)

My father was a career teacher. Although he had only a short period of time working in public school classrooms, he (like my mom) was a product of public schools and spent most of his career as a professor of Education--helping prepare students for careers in classrooms. (At Hiram College, I took a class from him--Education and Society--but that's another story!) (Yes, I did get an A!)

I taught in a public middle school for most of my career--about thirty years, off and on. Aurora Middle School--then, with the new Aurora building, Harmon Middle School. I started in 1966, retired in January 1997--though I'd taken a few years off to try teaching in a private college (Lake Forest College), a nearby prep school (Western Reserve Academy), a nearby state university (Kent State).  But I found I missed the middle-schoolers--so back I went to Aurora. I taught in a public middle school from 1966-1978, then from 1982-1997. Some wonderful years for me. (And the vast majority of my Facebook friends are from those Aurora years.)

I've also had stints of teaching at Hiram College and, for a very happy dozen years, at Western Reserve Academy (where I returned in 2001 after I'd retired from Aurora; I retired from WRA in the spring of 2011). I loved those years, as well. I taught English to eleventh graders.

Along the way, I earned my master's and doctorate from Kent State University.

So ... these, my credentials, my experiences. As you can see, I spent most of my adult life in classrooms. I learned a thing or two (hundred) along the way. And here are two of the main points I want to make, points I will explore more thoroughly in two subsequent posts:

1. The profit motive is a terrible, destructive idea for human-service enterprises--like health-care and education.

2. We need public schools--but we also need a fundamental change in the way we finance them; we need to make substantial and staggering investments in them--in infrastructure, in supplies, in curriculum design (get rid of all this insane standardized testing); we need to attract into the profession large numbers of bright, creative, committed, and caring teachers. There are plenty of such folks working in public schools now, but we need many more.

To be continued ...

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you included health care profession in services undermined by the profit motive. I wonder if journalism also carries that burden.