It is a bit odd having to write out the benefits of public education, for a mere twenty years ago it was unquestionable. In this writer’s mind it is a primary right which must be upheld by the state itself at all costs. And although at first it seemed a simple and fundamental task, the more the matter was delved into, the more complicated it seemed to become. One should first carefully consider the benefits and then view the delicacy of the matter of education in the United States which at times seems as if walking on the edge of a precipice.
Free education for all
While it may seem obvious, many have lost sight of the gain in public education. The world over, it is well understood that an educated nation is one which progresses, maintains a balance and secures a promising future. For the majority of the nation’s populous, it means not having to pay for a fundamental right; one not mentioned in this nation’s constitution.
‘Why should the citizens of a nation not pay,’, one may wonder, ‘since it would ensure that it is received?’ The answer is that public education is paid for through taxes. If the taxes received by the heads of a state are not allotted in a manner which guarantees high quality education for all, is a different matter.
When the citizens feel equal, it empowers them to do their best. A sense of fairness is necessary in the mentality of a society so that each individual pulls his weight in and feels a part of that community. It instills morality and strengthens ethics, which are vital for a psychologically healthy population.
Learning to be a part of a community
It is in school that children begin to learn how to be a member of a larger community. They not only learn to be one among many, but they also learn to cope in different situations and come close with other members of their society who are of different socioeconomic classes and backgrounds. In short, it is in school that they learn the necessity of cooperation and the art of negotiation.
Learning about differences
It is in this first microscopic version of the world that a child will learn about the different abilities or disabilities of others and with the guidance of a caring educator will learn to properly accept them and deal with them.
Opportunity for a well rounded education
Private education as well as homeschooling have indeed been successful. However, do they provide equal opportunity for a well rounded education? While in Homeschooling, parents will do anything and everything possible for the benefit of their children, there is a limit to what they can do.
In a public school due to the number of students, funding from the state makes it possible to have facilities that otherwise would be impossible in a home and much too expensive for many parents to provide for their children through private schools. Sports facilities, science labs for experiments, new technology, wood works, art and many others are examples of these.
Along this idea, one should seriously consider the fact that in a public school the child is exposed to a variety of teachers; each a special individual with a unique approach. In home schooling the child is limited to a specific educator and oftentimes he/she may not be fully qualified.
Last but not least, public schools make available a vast range of extracurricular activities, varying from sports to clubs and other opportunities.
Dangers of limiting further or even doing away with public education
Should public education become obsolete, what are the dangers? The dangers are great. First and foremost, education will cease to be a prospect for all. It will be one only for those who can either afford it or are lucky enough to have a parent or relative who is qualified to teach them. Consequently, larger groups of people will be further outcast raising the percentage of illiterates, the unemployed and crime. The nation will drift even further apart. For there to be a harmonious unified society in which law abiding individuals do their best for their country, there needs to be public education—so that it can continue to be “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”