I just, once again, stumbled across this Kurt Vonnegut quote about public schooling, and thought I’d share:
It’s my dream of America with great public schools. I thought we should be the envy of the world with our public schools. And I went to such a public school. So I knew that such a school was possible. Shortridge High School in Indianapolis produced not only me, but the head writer on the I LOVE LUCY show (Madelyn Pugh). And, my God, we had a daily paper, we had a debating team, had a fencing team. We had a chorus, a jazz band, a serious orchestra. And all this with a Great Depression going on. And I wanted everybody to have such a school.
My father, as it happens, is a Shortridge alumnus. So, I suppose, I’m an indirect beneficiary. More directly, however, I graduated from the public schools in Richmond, Indiana and have rarely, if ever, found myself to be less educated than the others I have encountered, including all of the private school kids from Cleveland and Cincinnati I met when I went to Miami.
That’s why I tend to bristle when people beat the drum about how public schools suck. I don’t know the answer to making sure that more of our kids graduate well educated, but I do know that a good education is available at our public schools. And, it’s not like I went to some top-flight exception to the rule. Richmond High School, at least 18 years after my graduation, was designated as one of ten Indiana “drop out factories” in an AP report.