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Do We Still Need Public Schools? Essay Sample

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Do We Still Need Public Schools? Essay Sample

From their very inception, public schools have been aimed at fulfilling some important objectives for the state. This booklet distributed by the Phi Delta Kappan entails a lot about how public schools came into being and what underlying factors led to their promotion by some of the founding fathers.

            The booklet presents in a very succinct manner the history of the development of the public school system in the United States. The founding fathers’ concept of providing education for everyone ranging from the poor to the privileged regardless of the ability to pay for it was something ground breaking for its time and encountered varying degrees of opposition even within the fledgling new country’s legislature. Once it was found, it was plagued by other troubles such as segregation but public schools still emerged from the rubble as something that benefitted society as a whole.

            Underlying the formation of the public school system were certain beliefs about what a state should provide. The new country was known as the land of opportunity and the opportunity for education was equally important. It provided the youth with a chance for intellectual equality, helping them become economically self sufficient and better citizens in a democratic society. It further served to unify this population of diverse peoples from Europe and the orient, with the aim of making it one strong united nation. In a country that claimed to be the bulwark of democracy, public schooling for all was considered necessary to provide basic civics knowledge for the democracy to flourish.

            There is significant rationale for the upkeep and development of public schools. Most of the reasons deliberated when they were first introduced still stand good today. Educating the masses regardless of status and privileged status benefits the country in terms of strengthening its institutions through educated citizens who can deliberate the issues at hand. However in today’s society, public schools face increasing challenges and are lagging in fulfilling some of the benefits they were supposed to provide. While the missions stated for the formation of public schools may still be valid, the practical application can be quite flawed. Fulfilling the goals requires leadership from within and significant amount of funding to provide the necessary facilities. Public schools have been found lacking on these fronts on many occasions and the relative success of private schools points to perhaps the need for a change in ways. A shift of responsibility for education to the private sector could be considered because of the quality it offers and its success on various levels.

            Public schools do however retain some very crucial roles that the private sector can not fulfill. While private education caters to needs well, it can be viable for only those able to pay and the exceptionally brilliant which would result in an education gap. With crime rates already positively correlated to school dropout levels, no education at all would harm society as a whole. In addition, public schools provide extended services such as after school care, substance abuse prevention efforts which will not always be viable or necessary in private schools. The public schools system further helps to keep education centralized and under the state which can monitor the level of quality compared to it being at the whims of the private sector. Educating the young minds of the nation who will one day hold the reins of governance and chart the future course of the country is something that can not be left just to chance. The whole length and breadth of society needs to be educated for citizens to be conversant with civic duties and steer a democratic state. Therefore, despite their failure to fulfill some of the missions for which they were formed and the relative success of private schools, it is in the best interest of the country to maintain public schools.

Works Cited

Center on National Education Policy. (1996). Do We Still Need Public Schools? [Brochure]. Washington: Nancy Kober.

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