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Gather the facts, get the full story

Posted: April 17, 2014 - 7:33am

For some time now the nature of public education and it’s future has been the subject of much debate and rightfully so. The futures of young people and their parents, Alaskans, Americans and citizens of our world are tied to the decisions we are making today.

As a chemical researcher for 18 years I learned early on to gather all the data I could find before coming to a conclusion and publishing my chemical conclusions. My major professor in graduate school at Kansas State University required the work of a student to be repeated by two other students before publishing their work. The credibility of our work was assured and the embarrassment of some one else reporting your results were not duplicable was avoided. Having your PhD degree revoked did not appear to be a desirable result.

As a product of our public school system, a private college, and several state universities and a science-math teacher for 10 years in Kenai Central High and Soldotna High Schools, I consider myself to be very privileged to have worked with and for the students, teachers, administrators and parents that I came in contact while at both schools. My concern for the well being of our students, other members of our schools and the process is still alive 27 years after I left SoHi.

As I see and listen to the debate on teachers, public schools and the administration of the education of our young people I do not believe we are getting the full story and the stories that we do get are distorted by the biases of the authors of those stories. The direction we are heading gives me great concern.

Peter Dreier, Professor of Politics at Occidental College, in the April 11 Huffington Post raises the question: “Why is Public Television Against Public Schools?” As a supporter of Public Television my attention was grabbed immediately. He goes on to cite the evidence that supports his conclusion “PBS has gotten into bed with the billionaires and conservatives who want to privatize our public schools.” For those of you who are interested I recommend reading his article.

For those of you who are interested in making wise decisions regarding our young people’s futures, Professor Dreier offers hope in the news that PBS has contracted for the rights for a recent documentary film entitled “Go Public.” The film is reported to document many of the good things that are happening for students and teachers in Pasadena, California and is scheduled to be available to all PBS stations on April 28. The film is 90 minutes and covers a day in the life of the Pasadena Unified School District, following 50 people in 28 schools. He recommends we contact our local PBS and tell them it is time for public television to “Go Public.”

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