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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Public Education and Knowledge or the Lack Thereof

As it is with many people, public education is one of my interests. I greatly appreciate the positive and constructive contributions that are made by many people on behalf of public education here in the United States of America. On the other hand, I am also very concerned about the apparent lack of knowledge and lack of understanding of many Americans in the area of public education.

Many Americans tend to believe that the "federal" government is responsible for the provision of primary and secondary public education; however, that belief is incorrect. As the MSN Encarta article "Public Education in the United States points out, the primary responsibility for the provision of public education In the United States of America lies not with the national government but with the individual state governments and individual school districts."
(April 27, 2010 update
NOTE: I have removed the previously embedded link to the cited MSN Encarta article, because upon clicking it I received this message: "The MSN Encarta page you are trying to visit has been discontinued. If you are looking for dictionary content, please visit MSN Encarta Dictionary in US English, World English, or French." - BUMMER!!!)
I am constantly amazed at the number of people who are not aware that the United States Government is not responsible for the American public education system, and that so many people mistakenly hold to the belief that somehow the President of the United States is responsible for public education and can do something about it in our country.

Oftentimes, I come across people who do not realize that the educational system varies from state to state. That's amazing. Okay, the fact is that many people are unaware of the system, period.

What I find even most amazing is the number of people who do not even understand their own local public education system. For example, many people who live in the City of Toledo think that all schools in the city are part of the Toledo city public school system. Well, I got news for them. There is more than one school system in the City of Toledo. While I live in the City of Toledo, I do not live in the Toledo Public School District; I live in the Washington Local School District. Incidentally, there are more than just two school districts that have jurisdictional boundaries that come within the City of Toledo. Usually, those same people who do not understand the fact that there is more than one school system in Toledo also do not understand the difference in the roles and responsibilities of City of Toledo Government and Lucas County Government.

Gee, I wonder how many people who live in Lucas County, especially those who think they are an informed electorate, know that there are eleven (11) school districts that lie within Lucas County. They are:
Anthony Wayne Local School District
Evergreen Local School District
Maumee City School District
Ottawa Hills Village School District
Oregon City School District
Otsego Local School District
Springfield Local School District
Swanton Local School District
Sylvania City School District
Toledo City School District
Washington Local School District

Go on over here to see the school district maps with their boundaries.

I sure wish the many people who make misinformed and ill-informed opinionated comments about public schools would do their homework and learn the facts about the system of American public education before they open mouth and insert foot. If more people would take the time to understand the role, responsibilities, funding and finances, and the limitations of our present American public education system, then perhaps we might be able to really make the improvements and changes that are necessary in our schools to bring them in line with the century in which we currently live.


Judy said...

"The primary function of the Department of Education is to formulate federal funding programs involving education and to enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights." From Wikipedia

Tim Higgins said...


Perhaps some of the error that many of our citizens make is because of the all of the discussion at the federal level about what they are going to "do" about education. The implication in these almost never ending bits of rhetoric is to create such a false impression of federal control.

The truth of the matter is that local government does enough damage to education, state government appears to ignore the law while burying educators under a ponderous bureaucracy, and the federal government simply adds to the confusion.

Few if any seem to understand what the questions are, but more money appears to be the only answer.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Blame the lack of the "informed" electorate on the electorate themselves...

Most haven't the slightest interest; otherwise, they would teach their children the basics before sending them to school for formal education.

Things like their (proper) name and how to spell it, their address, and their phone number.

Oh yes, and how to act civilly with/to each other. . .

But, what am I saying, the parents could stand to learn the very same lessons themselves, ass well as how to talk, listen and respond to the teachers/administration, whom they often have to deal with.

Stupid. uneducated and uninformed breeds stupid, etc...

Roland Hansen said...

Tim and Hooda Thunkit,
I could not agree with you both any less. You are both right (as in correct, and maybe even as in political leaning - I guess there is no 'maybe' in that one though).