My Turn: Public education reflects the world we live and work in |

My Turn: Public education reflects the world we live and work in

It’s senior farewell at Truckee High School. All of the graduates are seated on the gymnasium floor, momentarily dazed by the incredible slide show they have just witnessed.

First-grade costumes, the fifth-grade field trip, eighth-grade graduation ” as their life flashes before their eyes, many are astounded to realize they have grown up together.

As if that’s not enough, there’s roll call. “Please come forward if you came to Truckee High in 12th grade.” A couple of kids jump up to the front. “11th grade,” again a few more. By the time the kindergarten call comes, many of the kids are still seated. As they proceed to the front, the tears start to flow. They have been together their whole school lives. Together, they have been a part of the incredible community we call Truckee.

Together, they have passed and failed classes. Together they figured out what they wanted to do after high school. Collectively, they are a success. Individually, they reaped the rewards of a public education.

The good news about public education is that our doors are open to everyone. Financial status doesn’t matter. Neither does religion, sexual preference, ethnicity or the political party you belong to.

In fact, public education is a reflection of the world we all live and work in.

Does public education fit every student? Absolutely not.

The beauty of a free world is that students and their families have the choice to find a place that suits their individualized needs. Religious beliefs truly run deep in some veins, as does the need for a specialized education plan.

Some folks may choose to leave our school community and go elsewhere. For some students, it may be just what the doctor ordered. For others, you can run, but you can’t hide. Bad parenting exists everywhere, even in private schools.

I always find it ironic that even though kids spend the majority of their time at home, schools get blamed for all of their misgivings. As much as I try to incorporate respect, honesty and integrity into my math lessons, either kids show up with it at the door or they don’t.

The interesting thing about education is that everyone has experienced it. Just start talking about sixth grade and a room full of very diverse individuals suddenly has something in common.

Yet, how many are truly educated about education? Very few. Go spend some time with some people who have made education their profession. You’ll be surprised what you’ll learn.

For me, it would be like spending the day with professional chef. I cook all the time, but it’s not my day job.

I am the product of the public school system. So are my children. Their academics are very important. So is the community in which they are being raised.

In a few years, I’ll be back at senior farewell at Truckee High School, along with the graduates, reminiscing about first-grade costumes, the fifth-grade field trip, and eighth-grade graduation. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

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