Although the kids may be back in school, the teachers union strike has done little to improve the negative perception of public schools. A recent Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans say that children do not receive an excellent or good education in public schools. Indeed, 78 percent say that private schools provide the best education, followed by parochial or church schools and charter schools. Another Gallup poll found that only 18 percent of Americans believe that high school graduates are adequately prepared for the working world. This is troubling considering that the vast majority of children in America attend public schools.
The irony here is that some of the Chicago teachers who stood in the picket lines would agree; it was reported that approximately 33 percent of Chicago public school teachers send their children to private schools. Just let that sink in for a second. Some of these teachers, who were supposedly doing such an amazing job that they deserved big salaries and pay raises, do not even trust their colleagues to teach their own children!
This does not mean that all public schools do not provide students a good or excellent education, or that all public schools are failing to educate our children. But the Gallup poll results clearly demonstrate that Americans have generally lost faith in the country’s public education system, especially when that system allows a situation like the teachers strike in Chicago.
It is important then that parents have options to get their children out of a system that isn’t working. Obviously not every parent can afford to send their kids to private schools, nor does every parent want to send their children to parochial or church schools. The good news from the Gallup poll though is that many Americans (60 percent) believe that kids who attend public charter schools are receiving a good or excellent education, and one that is affordable because it is free.
Whatever option parents choose, it is important that they actually have a choice so that their kids are able to get the best education and one that suit each kid’s individual needs. After all, if Chicago public school teachers can send their kids to private schools in order to keep them out of failing public schools, shouldn’t all Chicago parents have the same choice?