Educating for Jeopardy

Letter From the Countryside

In 1986, I enrolled my oldest daughter in the same public school that my husband and I had attended.  I knew from my experience in public education that there were problems, but I was hopeful that, with our participation in her schooling, she would be fine.  During the next few years, I went from being an interested, excited parent and taxpayer to a disillusioned and, finally, angry parent and taxpayer.

Our daughter, Katie, went all the way through public school and is now a sophomore in a small, independent liberal-arts college, finally out of the system.  Our second daughter, Virginia, is 16.  She finished the second grade in public school and is now homeschooled.  Tanya, who is 11, has never attended public school.  The idea of, and faith in, public education is hard to give up, but we’ve come to the conclusion that there is no choice for us but to get out.

How long can a failed bureaucracy continue?  It is clear to me that the educational system in Kentucky exists to serve itself and the marketplace.  And, because our educational system has become so heavily vocational, it now serves corporations by supplying them with workers.  Our public-education system has become as dishonest as our land-grant universities, by serving the people they are mandated to serve last—or not at all.  Because, I suppose, we need some kind of public education,...

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