Let me state at the outset that I am running for Texas State Board of Education, District 5.
Ken Mitchell advocates home schooling as a solution to the kind of problems we have in Texas and around the nation. One of the most infamous members of the Texas SBOE, Cynthia Dunbar, home-schooled her children, and she calls public education a tool of "perversion."
I differ with Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Dunbar in their negative assessment of public schools. While there are indeed numerous problems with public education, it is the best hope we have to maintain a healthy democracy. Most people do not have the means to home school their children, and, although some parents do an excellent job of home-schooling, others do not.
Please see the touching story of Mr. Josaiah Ingalls, who also ran in the primaries for Texas District 5, for an excellent example of someone who was a victim of lax oversight and inattention to the performance of home schools. His parents sat him in front of a television set and he failed to learn to read until he was practically an adult.
All of us must view our public education system--K-12, community colleges, and state universities--as a treasure that we must guard and nurture carefully, whether or not we have children in public school. We must make sure that we're getting our money's worth out of these resources, but we must also view what we spend on public education as out most important investment in the future. My husband and I sent our two daughters to public schools, and we volunteered our time to help improve the quality of education for our daughters and for other people's children as well.
I teach at a public university, and I have witnessed the recent deterioration of my students' preparedness for higher education. They have suffered under a relentless regime of preparing for tests, meanwhile failing to develop critical or creative thinking skills. The Texas State Board of Education can turn this trend around if we elect reasonable people in districts 3, 5, and 10. Texas textbooks may not be adopted wholesale throughout the country anymore, but their influence is still huge. The curriculum and books in Texas must provide the best education we can offer in the twenty-first century.
San Marcos, Texas
Apr 3 2010 - 1:05pm