TERRE HAUTE —
There have always been private schools.
Parents who wanted a religious dimension to a child’s education paid taxes for public schools and then tuition for the special emphasis they wanted. The well-to-do opted for “finishing schools” or “prep schools” or “boarding schools,” all of which involved tuition over and above taxes paid to support public schools.
Public schools, by definition, are for the benefit of the public. All children, regardless of parental income, are given the same chance for an education. It is for the benefit of society that some sort of equal opportunity be offered. With an extra dollop of ambition and infinite interest in learning, even the poorest may achieve success.
The difference between the private schools I knew in my youth and the charter schools of today seems to be that government wants to use public money to subsidize private education. They tell us that education should be a matter of choice. Private education has always been a matter of choice and regardless of what name you choose to call them, charter schools are simply another form of private education.
It has been a tradition of democratic societies to support public education for the good of society. Those who have no children of school age — even those who have never had children at all — have pitched in to see that the next generation is educated to the point that they can be gainfully employed and become contributing members in their cities, their states and their country. In a broader sense, they become contributors to the welfare of people the world over.
In the dark ages when I was passing through a teachers college, we were taught that optimum educational advantage for children in our classrooms depended upon a class size of no more than 20 kids — 18 was better, but 20 was acceptable. It is often twice that today.
If class size is the lure of charter schools, why not give the proposed tuition kickback to the public schools so they can reduce class size? If the attraction is providing enrichment classes in music and art and drama, why are we cutting these classes from public schools to reduce costs?
If we know what makes charter schools “better” than public schools, why not mandate those attractions and fund them? Heaven knows government at all levels has raised education mandates to an art form.
And if we are going to subsidize education through charter schools, doesn’t it make sense to use that subsidy in the schools we already have?
Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
There have always been private schools.
- Liz Ciancone
LIZ CIANCONE: Smell of fresh air gave way to dryers
Remember when clean clothes smelled like fresh air and sunshine rather than fabric softener and dryer sheets?
LIZ CIANCONE: Courts see a different appearance than cops
Have you ever noticed the transformation between the arrest of an accused lawbreaker and the first appearance in court?
LIZ CIANCONE: We always want more than we need
Washington seems more preoccupied with the unemployment rate than they are about the constant stalemate. Still with thousands out of work and the unemployment rate hovering somewhere between 7 percent and 9 percent, it does deserve more than a passing nod.
LIZ CIANCONE: Old age is in email of the beholder
My Best Friend isn’t much for writing letters, so email has opened a new world for him. He can dash off a few words to a high school friend or his college roommate — now living in Florida and Washington State,
LIZ CIANCONE: A memory test from the oldtime radio days
For some reason, I seem to be the go-to source for all sorts of obscure information out at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.
LIZ CIANCONE: Friskey no doubt was in favor of gun control
I once owned a gun. Actually, it was Dad’s gun and I was allowed to use it. He bought an air gun which shot BB’s to protect our home — in a way.
LIZ CIANCONE: A robin stops to welcome the spring
I saw a robin the other morning. It was not the first robin of spring, of course. A few of the more daring robins had opted to spend the winter and, although they looked pretty sorry about it on a few occasions, it was a fairly mild winter.
LIZ CIANCONE: The mystery of the small animal mascot
I hope you won’t think I’m picking on small animals, but I’ve been thinking about Easter and the Easter bunny.
LIZ CIANCONE: Rising up to defend the poor groundhog
I read in the newspaper the other morning that Punxsatawney Phil is being hauled into court and charged with falsely predicting an early spring. I am volunteering my services as counsel for the defense.
LIZ CIANCONE: Keeping eye out for signs of spring
The problem with expecting a groundhog to predict the arrival of spring is that there are groundhogs scattered all over the country. The Pennsylvania groundhog may not see the same kind of weather as the groundhog out here in Dobbs Park. In this way, false hopes are roused and the groundhog loses credibility as a meteorologist.
LIZ CIANCONE: Not every other name smells sweet as a rose
It was either Romeo or Juliet who said, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
LIZ CIANCONE: Innocence appreciated when you’re growing up
I grew up rather stupid. I didn’t realize it at the time. Neither did my teachers who seemed to think I had “promise.”
LIZ CIANCONE: Years along rivers make them feel like home
I’ve been following plans for celebrating “The Year of the River” with interest. Rivers have played such a role in my life that I’ve celebrated a good many rivers. The Wabash River is merely the most recent example.
LIZ CIANCONE: There are always cat stories to be told
I was asked the other day why I write about dogs I have known, but never about cats. “What’s the matter?” they asked, “Don’t you like cats?”
LIZ CIANCONE: Sharing the family history
My Grandmother lived with us. Ed and I were eager audiences for her family stories about the Cooks. Mom also shared her memories of growing up with three brothers.
LIZ CIANCONE: Do we want our privacy or not?
We Americans are a strange bunch. We insist upon our right to privacy, yet we neglect few opportunities to parade our personal business in public.
LIZ CIANCONE: The low humor of Mickey Mantis
I’m told that a pun is the lowest form of humor. I guess that typecasts me! I love them, but then, I like any type of word play.
LIZ CIANCONE: For now, justice is served in Bball Hall
News this past week brought justice of a sort. The folks who decide these things have declined to pick anyone to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
LIZ CIANCONE: Well, what would you do with only 1 sock?
Let me ask you something.
LIZ CIANCONE: Movie memories don’t include many of the lengthy variety
There has been lots of reporting lately about how long movies are becoming.
LIZ CIANCONE: Resist that big ‘let down’ on the day after Christmas
Today is the big day. That makes tomorrow a sort of let down — rather like “What have you done for me lately?”
LIZ CIANCONE: No thanks to getting mags delivered via the Internet
I am a creature of habit. I like to know what I’m doing and I need to know how to do it. That’s why I am annoyed when corporate America seems determined to drag me, kicking and screaming into the age of Internet.
LIZ CIANCONE: Everyone has a favorite holiday
I suppose everyone has a favorite holiday. My guess is that, for most of us, that holiday is Christmas. It's a holiday with a miracle no matter how old we get.
LIZ CIANCONE: Christmas season puts time back into focus
It’s a funny thing about time. It can speed along so that you cannot believe that your kids can possibly be old enough to have good sense, or it can drag its heels while you wait for that first grandchild or while you are saving up for something really special.
LIZ CIANCONE: The bottom line is what drives ‘Black Friday’ sales
Why is it called "Black Friday"?
LIZ CIANCONE: Have we lost the meaning of holiday?
I’ve been considering a lost-and-found ad to see if anyone knows what’s happened to Thanksgiving.
LIZ CIANCONE: Magic is always there with live theater
I’m a pushover for live theater. But movies? Not so much. For me it’s like the difference between canned peas and those picked fresh from the garden. Movies even COME in cans.
LIZ CIANCONE: Maybe the Cubs will win it all next year
I was relieved to have the World Series ending before the snow flies. Heck, it didn’t even last into November this year.
LIZ CIANCONE: Holiday decorating better when personal, simple
I fear that I am becoming an old poop!
LIZ CIANCONE: Surprises from mail worth the extra penny
I understand that the cost of pursuing my hobby will be going up by a penny come the year 2013.
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