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View Diary: Why are so many education "reformers" graduates of non-public schools? (214 comments)

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  •  Good points, Ken (7+ / 0-)

    Hawai`i has one of the highest percentages of children attending private school. President Obama followed what is the standard pattern here for many: public elementary school followed by private school at/around middle school. Yes, he had the detour to Indonesia's school system, but otherwise he followed the pathway of a number of his peers at Punahou. IMO, he thus has a real blind spot when it comes to public education: he has no real personal experience with it and he has no experience with it whatsoever as a parent. I will grant that the school circumstances for his daughters in DC has significant complicating factors -- particularly security -- such that public schools aren't a choice for them at this time.

    As academics, Mr. SLC & I were in a tiny minority here by sending our kid through Hawai`i's public schools, by choice. Many of our friends just couldn't understand our viewpoint which is that public education is indeed for everyone and works best when everyone participates. Fortunately, it did work out for our kid - who graduated from public HS as a National Merit scholar -- and matriculated at a top ten public university, graduating from there as a Phi Beta Kappa. When people tell me that our public school system is failing, I bring up these points; they don't say much after that. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that I don't have a lot of respect for people who live lives of "Do as I say, not as I do."

    I also have a certain amount of bitterness over the fact that a majority of legislators, probably most higher govt officials, and many DOE teachers & staff send their own kids to private schools. I have more than once considered asking my legislative reps to introduce a bill or resolution that would require all DOE employees, legislators, and any one at the level of administrator & above in state govt to send their kids to public school. It wouldn't even get a hearing, of course, but by the same token I firmly believe that many of the problems in Hawai`i's public schools would either be solved quickly or made a priority for solving if these folks couldn't send their kids to private school.

    •  Um, did your kid attend a well funded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flaming Liberal for Jesus

      public school in Hawaii? Sounds like they did, which would be worth nothing before you start pointing out to others what kind of education your child received.

      Nonetheless, congratulations are in order for you.

      I'm a woman of color, who grew up in the north (Detroit, Michigan)

      by Boris Badenov on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 10:57:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hawai`i's public schools (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL, alizard, mrkvica

        are funded through the state's general fund, not through local property taxes. GF funding for educational purposes that is disbursed to schools varies but on the basis of a particular school's population size & its needs. Significant variation can & does occur in terms of physical upkeep, which comes out of a CIP budget which is also GF money but much more influenced by legislators.

        •  Hawai'i also has one statewide school district (3+ / 0-)

          which makes the issue of financing easier to address

          In Maryland we have 24 districts -  each county and Baltimore City

          when I was growing up, Westchester County more than that for a population a bit more than 1/10 that currently of the state of Maryland

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:16:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, we still do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mrkvica

            in spite of various attempts to change that into multiple school districts at the county or lower levels.

            We just changed over from an elected to a governor-appointed school board - I voted against this change, BTW. We'll see if that makes a difference. I was glad to see that a majority of those the governor appointed to the board are products of Hawai`i's public schools themselves and send/have sent their own children to public school through graduation.

    •  My story is the same as yours -- (7+ / 0-)

      not in Hawaii, but also bucking the trend of my milieu by sending kids to public school, by choice.

      There is so much class panic around this issue, it's amazing. It's like people are so afraid of losing status they can't see straight, can't see what's right in front of their eyes.

      In my case, we sent our gifted (literally) child not just to public school but to "the black school" (not even majority black but that's how things get categorized where I live) and found that every teacher we came into contact with was passionate about his or her subject matter, and committed to his or her students. I look at my friends with kids in private school and think they are absolute suckers.

      •  Yep (7+ / 0-)

        class panic was a significant factor in the peer group argument against public schools that we received from various parties. As it happened, our kid chose close friends from an extra-curricular activity group rather than school -- and they went to another public high school in the city.

        Our experience with the quality of public school teaching was also good. Sure, there were a few mediocre teachers, but there were so many good ones -- all the way through.

        •  I did something similar (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wahineslc, mrkvica

          I live in what is now an excellent district but 12 years ago it was a different story.  There were two excellent schools and that was pretty much it.  One you had absolutely had to be zoned for and the other you could attend if your child tested into the gifted program.  My child did get accepted but I chose a progressive hands on magent school for him that served children of doctors and children from the projects.  The schools in my district improved through political pressure and committed parents.

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