On this day, Americans rightfully remember those who fought and died for our freedom. Maybe they will have a barbecue. Perhaps they will make use of the sales and go shopping at the mall.
But when they hang the flag, they will thank those who made our country safe, so we can say what we think, and do almost anything we want.
Probably few will think about our public schools. But it would be nice if they did.
Haven’t the brave men and women who fought for freedom, also fought for public education?
Public schools aren’t perfect. Recent shootings have made them scary. But collectively, Americans can and will make public schools safer and better, for all children, if given the chance.
Horace Mann is called the “Father of Public Education.” He believed in schools where the poor and the elite could learn together. Through this set-up there would be a chance for economic equalization. Even the poorest child would have a chance to rise to prominence in America.
We all benefit by having an educated populace that cares for each other.
I’d like to think that Americans believe public education is worth fighting for.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, one of America’s elite, in her quest to dismantle public education, doesn’t seem to get that. Last Tuesday, she would not commit to protecting children of undocumented immigrants. She said she would leave it up to the school to report their families to ICE.
While there may be disagreements about immigration, teachers are fiercely protective of the children they teach and their families. It doesn’t matter where they come from. If they are children, they deserve care and protection.
It should also not go unnoticed that a few days after DeVos’s comments, Jason Seaman, a teacher at Noblesville West Middle School, was hailed as a hero for tackling a troubled student gunmen. He likely saved lives. Injured in the process, thankfully, he will be fine.
No teacher should be put in Jason’s position. Yet, other teachers have lost their lives protecting their students.
On this Memorial Day, we must think about what’s happening to public education in America. We should ask why our country has permitted the wealthy elite, including those like Betsy DeVos, to dictate to us how public schools should be run, even if they don’t send their children to those schools.
This question goes to the heart of everything, from making schools safe, to continuing to have public education.
Where is the freedom in this for America? Who do we become as a people if public schools are privatized so money can be made? Are we not turning our back on the soldiers who died to ensure our rights?
If we lose our public schools, if we no longer think about caring for children just because they are children, if we become harsh when it comes to the way we educate the youngest members of society, who will we become in the end?
We will have rich and poor, class division, and the meaning behind the freedoms in which our servicemen and women fought for will die.
Our public schools represent the best of a democracy in its finest form. It’s a travesty that those who have made billions are now able to take them over. Their translation of rules, like we saw with Betsy DeVos, changes the way we treat children, and how we think about Memorial Day, those who have died that we may be free, and what America has become.