Robert Niles "Why I send my children to public schools"

The following article was forwarded to me this morning (your name will remain anonymous for now *grin*):



Mr. Niles raises a lot of good points. I have not yet had time to even take a look at the numerous comments he has collected, nor his responses to those comments. I intend to. Eventually.


As I told the person who sent this to me, my main concern is that all these issues have a common root, IMO. From my point of view, it seems like we can boil down the issues to a lack of social justice, a lack of caring for our neighbors. The old cliche “love others as you love yourself” comes to mind. We have got the “love yourself” part down pat. 🙂


And here is what I mean by this. We have a ton of “haves” in our community. And we have a lot of “have nots”. And borrowing from the Occupy jargon, we even have a few “have-a-whole-heck-of-lot-mores”. As Mr. Niles points out, the children at the bottom end of that spectrum seem to be the most endangered, I would say the most crucial aspect to measuring community health, and even they seem to be doing better than 20 years ago. It would make sense that even these kids are getting something out of education. That’s the whole point of public education, right? And yet I feel quite strongly that if we were to get over our pride and allow ourselves to take a holistic, 10,000 foot view of Unit 4 or public education in general, we would be compelled to “throw in our lot” and collaborate, to cooperate, to come together as a community and reinforce the idea that everyone is valued for who they are, not necessarily what they do.


Trust me, I know that is not easy. It is so natural, so ingrained, to think about all the hard work one has done to reach a certain place in life. And then to look at someone else, someone who might have gone to jail, someone who might have made some really bad choices in life, someone who might be “lazy” and cannot or does not work, to look at these folks and start making comparisons or judgments. I confess, I have been there, I know what it is like. Yet, does that really help? Who gains when that happens?


Yesterday I mentioned No Child Held Back ( Yovel wants to start conversations. I am all for conversations. But I also yearn for action. So let’s get the conversation started. And be ready to put one foot in front of the other.

4 Responses to “Robert Niles "Why I send my children to public schools"”

  1. Karen Says:

    Hard work can pay off no matter your have/have not status. There is certainly a continuum of opinions on this subject:

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Karen, do you care to comment on the speducat link you provided? It is old-school html wall-of-text. 🙂 I’ll read it when I get a chance, but I would like to hear your opinion/perspective/thoughts on it.

  3. Karen Says:

    Yes, I would like to comment on it. Time is the issue! Will try and post back some time.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    I hear what you are saying – time is a very precious resource indeed.

    So I read through it. I slept on it. And here are my thoughts.
    No one paper, no one expert, no silver bullet, no magic potion, is ever going to be able to tell us what is always best for us, here and now. The landscape is always changing, in constant motion. The best we can do is, at the risk of being cheesy and cliche, is the best we can do. Our challenge is to find that best. To never give up.

    I am not convinced that we need a wholesale revolution in education. In fact, I get the impression that would do more harm than good. It seems like we need to acknowledge the political crap and work to get rid of it. In doing so, I think the community would gain ownership of the system and help grease the wheels a little. I think.

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