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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

RE: School Jihad

I believe I'm missing something, here. What's the difference between public school and "government school"? The government is the only entity that does support public schools. If we take them out of the equation, who do you propose take over? Honestly, I want to hear your ideas.

Have you ever taken the time to drive around Stokes County and look out at who actually lives there? I suggest a trip down Hwy. 66 to Pinch Gut Creek. When I was in high school, those folks didn't even have running water! Most of those children were raised by their grandparents who had been tenant farmers all their lives. Where do you think they would have found the resources to send all those children to private schools? Where is the nearest private school? King, maybe? It isn't an option for everyone, therefore pubic schools must exist on some level.

And have you taken the time to really study why public school makes such an effort to make all students feel equal? Hint: it isn't to kill their individuality. It's to bolster the self-esteem of children who don't get that type of attention at home. I think you missed my statement about all the creative outlets that were provided to me at North Stokes. Not only did we have one of the best bands in the state, but we had an active chorus, an award-winning student newspaper, creative writing, physics, advanced biology, and a program strictly for academically-gifted students. I was encouraged to express my individuality.

(But a lack of funding is eliminating many of these very courses!)

Yes. I'll admit it. Alice Tucker's grandkids are VERY pro-public education. But not because we were fed a line about how great they were. We watched the effort that our moms and grandma put into their jobs and the impact they had on every child they taught, and it's very hard not to be influenced by that. I'll also admit that we had more than just your average educational experiences. We too, were home-schooled. But we were sent to public schools in order to form relationships outside of the family. I think Strother put it well by saying that although we had a great teacher at home, I wouldn't have wanted to be limited to just one person's interpretation of every subject! And even she had her limitations when it came to advanced math. (Don't tell her I said that!)

My point is that all children should have a similar educational experiences. It is negligent of parents to assume that school will take care of all their child's needs. A teacher can only give you so much information, and let's face it, not all teachers are worthy of their title and that goes for public and private schools. I don't know why you think bad instruction and administration is soley a public school problem!

The learning experience should start way before kindergarten and doesn't just end after high-school graduation. I think you'll find that children whose parents take an interest in their studies, help with homework and get to know teachers will fare far better. BUT, a parent also has limitations. They can't possibly teach every subject and often can't see their child objectively. And that is where the teacher comes in.

And are you inferring that guidance and grief counselors aren't needed in schools? Just because your children didn't need them doesn't mean that others don't. And in many cases, school may be the only place a child will be able to receive emotional counsel and support. That's one of the main problems in public schools right now. Lack of funding is causing these types of positions to be eliminated which in turn puts the responsibility on the teacher. How can a teacher instruct a classroom when at the same time, they are trying to console a troubled child?


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