Today I read a post from the Guardian entitled "In Kansas City, school's out." This article fails to engage me on so many levels, and the saddest thing is that the journalist behind the article, Sasha Abramsky, fails, like pretty much all other journalists, to find and highlight the core problem of why school systems (most especially public school systems) are failing, or are, at least, in horrible shape financially, and in enrollment numbers.
"If there are lessons to be learned from Kansas City's dismal experiences, they are about the importance of holistic thinking: of looking for ways not just to desegregate schools but to preserve integrated, economically diverse urban cores; of providing middle-class families with reasons to continue using public services; of building up the notion of common community again so that the public sector flourishes rather than withers" (Source).
The glaring problem that is always overlooked, in this article, in most articles about failing schools, and in almost every conversation I've heard on the subject, is that nobody cares about the kids anymore.
I am, God-willing, going to become a parent in less than two years' time. I want my child(ren) to have the absolute best education, the best opportunities, and the strongest faith and most intelligent sensibilities possible. Does public school offer this for my child? In some districts, maybe. In my experience, three key issues are holding back many parents who, like me, want their children to become intelligent and holy:
- [Most] public schools are teaching children core values that are completely opposed to the core values of childhood: contraception, atheism (or pluralism), mundane facts without reasoning, etc.
- [Most] public schools are teaching more towards tests and gaining additional funding, and not towards giving children critical thinking abilities and the desire to continue their education throughout their lives.
- [All] public schools are not allowed to teach any religious values or faith... in fact, any references (even historical) to Christianity or Catholicism, in particular, are put down, unless they show the Church in a bad light (so it would seem, reading the news and hearing stories from friends).
Let's look at some of the advantages to a common private school:
- [Most] teachers are motivated more by love of teaching and helping children than by want of money.
- Schools are free to teach about faith, morals, etc., and [most] work very closely with parents to ensure each child's success in the school (especially since each child represents a large investment (from the parents)/income (for the school).
- [Most] private Catholic schools teach the values of open and honest sexuality, respect for human life, religious belief, and well-reasoned and multi-faceted factual information.
If public schools can give me some (not necessarily all) of these benefits, I will think a lot harder about putting my kids in them. The biggest reason that I wouldn't want to send my children to a private Catholic school is money. But, in my opinion, money is the least concern when it comes to helping my children have the best situation going forward into their own lives someday.
A Problem of Numbers
One more reason why many schools are failing, and numbers are dwindling, is our culture's contraceptive mentality. No longer is it the norm for a married couple to have 3-6 (or more) children. Heck, it's not even the norm for a couple to become married!
In the early and middle 20th century, schools were being built left and right (both public and private), because the population was on the rise; it wasn't abnormal for a private school to have two or three classes for each grade level. However, with the "sexual revolution" of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, children were pushed aside. Love was all about sex, and personal pleasure. Where do children fit in a contraceptive mentality?
People are now having one or two children, on average, and there are many areas in our country where the population is barely replacing itself. Is it any coincidence that the most liberal, 'utopian,' 'diverse,' and 'politically correct' cities have the lowest birth rates? Rural and suburban areas, where families are given pride of place, and safety is a higher priority than the "night scene," are the places most social liberals love to hate.
The truth is, in the long-term future, those who reproduce and cherish and love their children will be the ones who change the world—for better or worse. You want to make society full of "integrated, economically diverse urban cores"? Have a bunch of children, and instruct them in ways to go about doing this. Oh, wait—they would probably interfere with your ability to use my tax dollars to provide "middle-class families with reasons to continue using public services" and improve your "holistic thinking."
[As an aside: I hear a lot of arguments about our planet being overpopulated... but if those who say this had more children and helped their children became voices for change and environmental protection, then wouldn't that be more helpful to our planet than making fun of and ridiculing those who choose to have more children, thus making them less likely to even listen in the first place!]