By: S.D. Burgoyne
My husband and have two children and we are not saving a dime for their college; not a dime. What we are saving for however, is high school; that’s right, high school.
Let me first start by saying that I think most teachers are extremely hard-working and have the best intentions. I think however that they get the shaft by the very system designed to help them (Unions), as well as by the antiquated environment they are asked to teach in. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, My husband and I developed the following theory: public high schools in most states and in most cities are simply not educating children anymore, their results are laughable, their drop-out rates are tragic, their zip code based attendance policies are classist , and their bloated administrative staffs are obstructing to education. Plainly put, almost all public high schools cannot produce educated students that can adequately compete in this country let alone the world.
So my husband and I made perhaps a risky choice. Because we don’t have endless monetary resources, because high school is such a pivotal time for education and the development of study habits, and because so many high schools, even in the best neighborhoods literally cheat children out of an education, we have decided that our dollars are better spent making sure this period of our children’s education is done right. In order for our middle class children to have a fighting chance our kids have to go to a private high school, and we have to pay a lot for it.
Now you’re probably asking but they also are going to have to go to college, so what do you plan to do then? Well, this is where the risk comes in; we hope that if we give them the best high school education humanly possible for us, than they will be able to, and will greatly desire to find a way to go pay for college. If we have anything left over we plan to help. But getting high school wrong and college likely won’t happen at all.
This decision was not made without thought; we looked back on, and examined our experiences in high school. Upon doing that it was decided that we received extremely poor instruction, fell through the cracks, and were ill prepared for college; not even understanding how to enter college. The Public education system in our Nation used to be where you got a fair shot, it used to be where minorities and poor children could rise. Some of the best and most educated men and women came from this public system; Condoleezza Rice, Retired General Colin Powell, and President Bill Clinton, just to name a few. But in reality public schools have been in decline since the mid 1970’s, and now they are simply places children go while their parents are at work, and not much else. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called this catastrophe the “Civil Rights cause of our time”, and she is right.
So, we are placing our bets on high school; we simply cannot afford to risk sending our kids to the pubic system. Sad? Yes. The United States has the best university and college system in the world, not because it is public but because it is private; universities must compete for student’s dollars; simple as that. This is no longer the 1950’s when most parents did not have college degrees, and most teachers were much smarter than the parents of the children they were teaching. This is a wholly different country we live in and until stiff competition, in some form is incorporated into the education of American children, the United States will continue to produce stupid kids who will sit out the game; they will be forced to park their butt on the sidelines as they watch kids from other parts of the world excel.