Thoughts for the First Day of School

No, this isn’t a post about zero tolerance policies or reform or even the fact that walking to school is safer than the alternatives.

This post is for everyone who thinks public schools are somebody else’s problem.

Every now and then I run into people who don’t bother to vote on the school board election or don’t really care about whatever reform or local issue is under debate. They argue that they don’t have kids (or their kids are grown), and cede the entire issue to those who do have school-aged children. This line of reasoning is short-sighted.

Nor am I strictly speaking of the impact that school quality can have on property values (and rents, to those who do not own property).

Do you watch the evening news? Chances are that not only the “talking heads” but all the staffers and behind the scenes people were educated in public schools.

Do you buy groceries? The nice clerks and baggers are most likely public school educated — some of them still attending. The stockers and butchers, the people at the deli counter, the managers, all most likely learned to read, write, and do math in a public school. The people at the factories where they make processed foods and where they prep goods like cheese and canned veggies? Probably public school graduates.

Have you ever been to see a doctor, lawyer, or accountant? Many of these people went to public school too. The paralegals, nurses, assistants, file clerks, cleaning staff, and other support staff members in that professional’s office are even more likely to have attended public school.

Ever paid for a haircut? Hired a contractor to do work around your home? Bought a cup of coffee? Your barber, contractor, or barrista learned to read important directions and do enough math to make sure you paid the right amount in public schools.

Do you drive? Every time you get on the road, your safety depends on the fact that every other driver understands the meaning of written signage like “Left Turn on Arrow Only” and “Do Not Enter” and “Main Street Next Exit, 1 Mile” and even “Warning: Roads Slippery When Wet”.

Each and every one of us interacts with people who attended public schools and learned basic skills there. Our continued well being — personally and as a whole — depends on a certain base level of knowledge among our citizens.

In closing: pot forests of America; should we give health insurance reform a rest? particularly since it appears to be a “bonanza” for the insurance companies that are gouging us in the first place? when the only way to make it happen might be to take out (or cripple) the one decent thing?; shockingly enough people without jobs don’t spend a lot of money; target on Harry’s back; architectural fail!; on the intersection of the 1st and 2nd Amendments; it’s a coin toss; and remember to watch for kids today! It’s the first day of school.

One thought on “Thoughts for the First Day of School”

  1. Short One,
    I am a stalwart 2nd amendment defender, but I am of a split mind on the subject of protesters toting guns at town hall meetings.

    On the one hand I must agree with the author of the article you linked, that those guys with guns at the town hall meetings seem a little over the top. On the other hand the D.C. crowd is acting…er, uh… erratically? (Erratic = over the top, nes pas?)
    And as the acts of rendition, torture, and extended confinement without charge or trial is suggested to be routine government practice, is it unreasonable or paranoid for these guys to show their willingness to “water the Tree of Liberty?” or to suspect that their right to dissent without repercussion is threatened?
    Some would say that the Federal Government has so far overstepped it’s bounds and behaved so atrociously, if not illegally, that the severity of these actions (e.g., illegal war(s,) nationalization of companies or industries, blatant crony-ism and other forms of corruption both legal and moral ) may well be to the magnitude which requires revolutionary effort to repair.
    So the level of contempt for the government has reached the stage of open preparations for insurrection?
    And well intentioned commentators (or scurrilous govt agents sowing dissent among the rabble<– I love conjuring good conspiracy theories)) are opining that the general populace, as distinguished from the gun toting- general populace?, is being intimidated.
    Regardless of your opinion regarding the legality of bringing weapons to a town hall meeting, there is the question of the propriety of doing so. Whether it is appropriate response to a degree equal to the allefed affront.
    The pulse of the nation is already racing. And the stimulus is that events of great weight and moment impend. While the people who are making marshal display at the town hall meetings are trying to send this somber message to those that proclaim to lead, their issue may become marginalized by a more myopic perspective and reporting of the subject. That it will become merely a small legislative aside (are weapons to be banned from government held public assemblies?) diminishing the amplitude of the protesters’ message.

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