In Defense of Public Schools In North America

2001 John W Friesen and Virginia Lyons Friesen
Detselig Enterprises.

ISBN: 978-1550592245
Generally speaking, the public has great faith in the nation’s schools. People demand education for their children and for themselves, so they set up public schools systems and assign them the responsibility of opening their doors to any and all, who can profit by attendance. They even tax themselves heavily year after year to pay the continually rising costs of education. As a result, they expect their schools to accept responsibility for educating their children. Unfortunately, somewhat disillusioned with educational trends, parents are withdrawing their children on grounds that school services can be offered more effectively elsewhere. Annually in Canada and the United States, thousands of children are removed from public schools by their parents on the grounds that the system is not longer delivering the goods. Private school enrollments are again rising, home schooling is burgeoning and charter schools are being hailed as the innovative solution to the educational ills of the twenty-first century. This book examines the history of public schools, underscoring the tremendous costs at which our public system of education came into being. A series of threatening alternatives to public schooling are examined, showing the deficiencies of each when compared to state-sponsored systems. The authors argue that public schools are not in need of repair; they are not in need of criticism; they do not need to be dismantled. They are simply in need of support. The integration of Indigenous knowledge necessitates a unanimous stance in the First Nations community and requires the shifting of Aboriginal energies from political fronts towards a more fraternal sharing of ideas. The benefits of such an undertaking cannot easily be overemphasized since the very existence of our planet may be at stake.  
This far-ranging book takes the reader on a journey through the development of public education in North America, exploring the innovations of public education in the last half century, identifying basic perspectives and challenges of public education and projecting ahead into the 21st century. The authors conclude that public schools do not need repair or criticism, and do not need to be dismantled. Public schools simply need our support.

–Donna Swiniarski, ATA News, Spring 2001
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