A Product of Public Schools

Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Michael Winerip offered a piece looking at the nation’s leading education reformers and where they themselves went to school.  It should come as no surprise to those in the education space that many of the names closely associated with either the ed reform community or politicians with a keen eye toward education are products of a non-public school education.  In a suspenseful follow-up, we may also learn that many ed reformers — particularly those in urban settings — are sending their kids to private schools.

So Eduflack wants to set the record straight.  I am not, nor have I ever been, a student at a private institution of learning.  In fact, I attended six public schools in four different states during my K-12 run, including: Cottage Street Elementary School (Sharon, MA); Linden Avenue School (Glen Ridge, NJ); Ridgewood Avenue School (Glen Ridge, NJ); Capshaw Junior High (Santa Fe, NM); Santa Fe HIgh School (Santa Fe, NM); and Jefferson High School (Shenandoah Junction, WV). 
For good measure, I even slummed it at a little public university called the University of Virginia.
And yes, my kids will be attending public schools, with the edu-son starting kindergarten in September.  I even went old school, choosing my current residence because of the quality of the public schools.  Go figure.
So what does this mean?  I have no idea, just as I have no idea what to take from the NYT piece.  Am I more or less qualified to talk ed reform because I went to several mediocre public schools?  Does that diploma from a consolidated county high school in West Virginia give me some added gravitas?  Or should we just be looking at the substance of ideas to the school improvement debate?  Anyone?    

7 thoughts on “A Product of Public Schools

  1. More relevant question: What are the PARENTING values, qualities, behaviors which inspire and encourage individuals to CARE ENOUGH to become ed reformers. Children have little say, themselves, about where they attend school, no?

  2. I think it’s curious that many of the ed-reformers of public education come from private schools. What does it mean? It means that their views and opinions come from the outside looking in, and reform would benefit more from people like Patrick, who would be looking at public education from the inside out. I wonder if I was, hypothetically, an ed-reformer for private and parochial schools, how effective my commentary would be for them without going through their education systems? And, would the private school establishment allow an “outside agitator” in to see what needs improvement and change?

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