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Demosthenes's avatar

Do you think public K-12 education has a future in the U.S.?

Asked by Demosthenes (13550points) 1 week ago

Ever since the pandemic, I’ve been hearing more and more stories about teachers quitting and understaffed schools shutting down, as well as political wars over curriculum, and even governors expressing intent to do away with public education in their states. The pandemic is not the sole reason behind this apparent decline, but it certainly has exposed a lot of problems and may have done irreversible damage to the public school system.

Do you see a future for public education in the U.S.? What is the state of schools in your area?

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15 Answers

hat's avatar

Doesn’t look promising. The right has attacked public school for decades (school choice, charter schools) and would certainly love to do away with it. And there has been lots of help from Democrats over the years via charter schools.

But the pandemic caused some real damage to public school. It pitted teachers unions against poor and working people, which has shattered peoples’ confidence and trust in unions and public school overall.

The US is complete dogshit in every possible way, so I can very much imagine public school disappearing at some point in the future.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@hat So there are no public schools and almost 50,000,000 kids don’t get an education !

zenvelo's avatar

What people opposed to public education forget is that it is an effective investment in human capital. And having an educated electorate also leads to better government.

jca2's avatar

I’m confused. So if there’s no public education, the kids won’t get an education unless the parents can pay for private school? How’s that supposed to work, when many people can barely make ends meet? Am I missing something?

I live in an area with a great public school system. Many families will seek to rent here just to be in the District, if they can’t buy a house. When people complain about the taxes, I remind them that when there’s a great school district, it increases everyone’s property values because the school has a reputation which is an incentive for people to buy here and pay high real estate prices here. It’s not just lakes and horses which attract people to this area that I live in, it’s the great school district, which is one of the top in the state and maybe the nation.

Demosthenes's avatar

@jca2 The other option is charter schools; they receive public funding but aren’t beholden to a public school system. I’ve been seeing many more charter schools open up where I live. Enrollment in them has increased as enrollment has fallen in some of the public schools.

jca2's avatar

@Demosthenes: The criticism I’ve heard of charter schools is that they can pick and choose the children that they accept, so they show high achievement levels but that’s because they’re not accepting the special ed kids, the kids that have special learning styles or don’t learn as fast as other kids, or kids that may not strive to do well. I don’t have links or stats, that’s just what I’ve heard every time the topic comes up for political reasons.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 Same here, our public school is amazing. But ee are not in an urban area, either.

We also have about 11 charter schools in the area as well as several private schools. Homeschooling is also popular.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would loved to have been home schooled. Maybe homeschooling or online (M.O.O.C.) will be the future.

Blackberry's avatar

Maybe in small towns where dudes are just gonna buy a truck and be a welder, but not in normal functioning cities.

JLoon's avatar

Yes, definitely – Because as others have pointed out it’s the single most critical factor in determining individual access to higher education, success in the jobs market, and full particpation in a democratic society. What gets overlooked too often are federal & state laws that establish free primary education as a right, and provide ongoing funding :

US Dept. of Education, Law & Policy Overiew -

So it’s not going away. Ever. Like every other public service it will change and adapt as communities & society change. Don’t expect it to be defunded or privatized into extinction, though.That scenario isn’t politically or economically possible.

But how good US K-12 public schools are in terms delivering the best outcomes for students is a fair question. And the picture isn’t all sunshine and rainbows :

US Students Performance Still Lags -

And how well do individual states do? Check the latest survey :

Best and Worst State School systems-

What’s most interesting about the last list is how school performance breaks across assumptions about “red state/blue state divide”. There’s no pattern or correlation in terms of politics. Massachusets is on top, but Nebraska is #8, Florida beats California, New York beats Texas, and Ohio leads Hawaii.

The junk arguments used by both the right and left in their bullshit culture war are meaningless, when it comes to measuring the resuts that matter most to real people in real life. Let’s hope we can all learn.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Blackberry Welder’s and plumber’s make bank here. Js

Blackberry's avatar

Definitely. I wouldn’t even bother with school if I lived in that environment.

A guy I met in the navy left his welding job in Montana to join the navy simply because he was bored…..this guy was 25 and already bought a house…..he literally just wanted to try something else in life because he lived in the middle of nowhere lol.

kruger_d's avatar

Among my small town (pop. 350) public school’s graduates are a geologist, a journalist, an architect, a mortician, RNs, dentists, speech and occupational therapists, professors, lawyers, and an actual rocket scientist. Nothing against trade school, but there is a lot of bias against rural America.

HP's avatar

The odds are horrific and must only grow worse. To begin with, no one will say it aloud, but teaching is now a “profession” for losers. You’re not going to get ahead or worse, keep up on a teacher’s salary. And this grows ever more obvious at a time in our history when the responsibilities of teachers have risen to now include myriads of imaginary remedies for the collapsing society in which they are helplessly entrenched. But the plight of teachers is simply another symptom. The question that really matters is the viability of public education in an age distinguished for a disintegrating middle class.

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