The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Public Education: The Cornerstone of Our Democracy

The following was written by Brett Boggs, superintendent of Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation and was published in the Warsaw Times Union:

Public education in Indiana is under attack, directed from the office of Governor Mitch Daniels. During a July news conference, after the General Assembly finalized the 2010 budget, Governor Daniels expressed his negativity toward public education in stating, “If this is an end to public education as we know it, I say thank goodness.”

Governor Daniels recently criticized Indiana’s public schools by stating, “We do not have one good school system in the state.” The truth is, Indiana’s public schools nationally rank in the top half of the states in almost all measured areas and continue to show improvement statewide. Indiana’s graduation rate from the class of 2007 to the class of 2008 went up from 76.4 percent to 77.8 percent while dropout rates went down from 11.9 percent to 10.3 percent. The average daily attendance rate in Indiana’s public schools has never been higher. Indiana’s SAT scores continue to approach the national average, despite the fact 62 percent of Indiana’s students take the SAT compared to 45 percent nationwide. The number of students graduating with Academic Honors or a Core 40 diploma is the highest in state history. During the past 10 years, the percentage of Indiana high school graduates pursuing a college education has risen by over 12 percent while the number of students on free and reduced assistance has grown from 28 percent to 42 percent. The number of Limited English Proficient students in Indiana’s public schools has increased from 10,616 students in 1997 to 45,885 students in 2007. The number of students receiving special education services has also increased from 14.7 percent to 16.7 percent during the same 10-year period.

Quality education for all is the key to success for 21st century America. Public schools are the only schools legally required to accept and serve all children, no matter their race, religion, educational attainment, social class, family income, or special needs. Public schools enroll all students and provide services designed to meet the special needs of a wide variety of abilities. Public schools must provide services for children with disabilities, children who do not speak English or whose proficiency in English is limited, and children who are educationally disadvantaged. Support services offered by Indiana’s public schools include school meals, after-school programs, counseling, and free transportation to and from school.

Indiana’s public schools are where children learn to live in an increasingly diverse society. Children learn to tolerate, interact with, and hopefully enjoy people who are different than themselves. Attitudes children form during their school experiences constructively serve them in the world they will shape as adults.

The United States has led the world for more than 100 years because of the character of its people and what they know. During that time, the vast majority of its citizenry has been educated in our nation’s public schools. Indiana’s public schools provide a successful place for all children to learn. Public education provides the foundation of our economy and the very foundation of our society.

Indiana’s public schools operate under high standards and public accountability. Statewide standards for academic subjects, teacher qualifications, and other requirements provide students with a safe and effective learning environment.

The status quo is never good enough. The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation continues to maintain a strong focus on improvement by implementing a wide range of initiatives, from technology integration to innovative teaching practices, to ensure every student receives the best education possible. Today’s public schools are better than ever and will continue to be responsive to individual student needs while adapting to a rapidly changing society in which students use technology and information as workers, consumers, and citizens.

Universal education for all citizens, better known as public education, is the cornerstone of our democracy. Today’s public schools, the product of more than a century of reform and revision, are one of America’s oldest and most dynamic institutions. Public education must continue to play a key role in achieving and reflecting our American ideals.


Sources:
School - The Story of American Education, www.pbs.org
An American Imperative: Public Education, www.centerforpubliceducation.org
Progress in Indiana’s Schools by Franzy Fleck, Indianagram, June 2009

2 comments:

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