Last weekend I attended my alma mater’s homecoming football game and celebrated my 40 years in education since graduating from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). It was great to be back on campus, to walk across the Diag, visit Couzens Hall (where I first met my wife), and enter the Big House with 100,000+ fans. I told myself it was time to start writing that blog I’ve been talking about for the past 2 years.
Where does one start a blog? Why does one start a blog? I suppose there is a blog out there that answers those questions. For me, I feel a need to defend public education. Public education is under attack and nobody seems to care. The criticism of schools and education are so prevalent that we don’t seem to even notice them anymore. And who is out there defending public education? I don’t see myself as a superhero defender, but one who wants to engage others in a conversation about how to defend public education.
I’ll finish this first post with a quote from A Nation At Risk (1983). Here we are 31 years later and its message is even more compelling:
Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur–others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.
Let’s begin a conversation about the attacks on public education. You have to know how you’re being attacked in order to create an effective defense. I live in Illinois and will report on attacks happening here. Please share news of attacks from where you live.