I compliment MER for its balanced feature, "Are Public Schools Failing?" (Diverse Viewpoints, Fall 1999). My response is "no." In fact, most public schools are not only succeeding, but they now educate more students of all backgrounds at higher levels than ever before.
Now do public schools have an obligation to continue to improve? Yes. Public education is under increased demands for excellence, but our economy is stronger than ever, unemployment is at the lowest level in 30 years, productivity is at an all-time high, and crime rates are declining. These are to a significant degree the effects of a highly educated society.
Dr. Robert O'Brien
Huron Valley Schools
Public schools are not doing the best job at educating our children. Kids graduating from the public school system are often lacking in one major area: thoughtfulness. They have never been made to think on their own.
With my parents' help, I taught myself at home for the last year and a half of my high-school career. I learned more about myself and about life in that last year and a half. I learned discipline and how to figure things out on my own, without the public schools' pressures and time constraints.
The public school system is not completely wrong and failing, but it is falling fast, and it is up to us-parents, teachers, and students-to do something about it.
Jaffrey, New Hampshire