The Face Of The Public School System By: Anthony Pellegrino

Posted on Oct 12 1999

The public school system is often criticized as too archaic, too progressive, too bureaucratic- the list continues. Before we review alternative school choice programs in the next articles, let’s first examine some rarely discussed aspects of the public school system that make public education difficult to be on a par with private schools.

Discipline.- The PSS is criticized that it cannot maintain discipline. The schools are considered unsafe places. However every school campus has a discipline code. The problem is that it is almost impossible to maintain discipline that is sorely needed in the public schools because many factors hamper public schools from enforcing stern discipline. Parents scream bloody murder every time an attempt is made to discipline their children. Teachers attempting discipline are often threatened by physical violence from parents. Law suits are constantly threatened against the teacher or school.

Private schools when faced with a discipline problem simply tell the parent to take the child home for good. Thus the matter is easily resolved.

Handicapped Students. The PSS is mandated that every handicapped child must receive a free public education. However little is ever discussed about the tremendous pressure and financial burden placed on the system. Federal support for Special Education Programs is greatly under funded putting a strain on the local budget. Little prepared for handicapped children in their classes, teachers must make sure that they learn on an equal basis as any other children. This can have a debilitating affect on the whole classroom atmosphere.

Private schools are not required to accept any handicapped children so none are there. Simple solution.

Political Pressure With Fiscal Restraints: The PSS is expected to follow the dictates of the government as to how to operate a school system and what to teach. Almost everyone is an “expert’ on education. Little is mentioned of the pressure that is placed on the public schools to follow orders or money is redirected elsewhere.

Private schools teach solely their belief of what education should be. Little or no restraints hinder their independence.

Neglected Children Dumped On The System: Because the PSS is mandated to provide a free education to every child, it has to take in children who are often neglected by their parents. As a result the attempt to educate these children is invalidated by the negativism of their parents. Consequently, the children have no desire to learn and become the disruptive elements found in classrooms thereby lowering the standards of the system.

Private schools are blessed with students whose parents are concerned with the education of their children. What a difference this makes in the learning attitude of students.

Public Schools Are the Receptacles For All of Society’s Aches: Every social and personal problem– teenage pregnancy, aids, drug abuse, sex education, nutrition, vocational training, etc.–is considered the responsibility of the schools. They must inculcate students to cope with them. This results in time being taken away from academic studies.

Private schools can select and reject social and personal problems and the amount of time to be spent on each at its discretion. Thus more time for the books.

The above are not excuses but realities that are causing the changes we will be exploring. These are only a few of the handicaps the public school system operates under. As a result the demands placed upon the PSS have become overbearing. The system is slowly sinking as in a quagmire. It has lost it’s primary function which is to educate children. Thus because it cannot no longer regain it’s primary function, the time for alternative school choices has come. Let’s see what they are.

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