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Large Public Schools are the Answer


DP Veteran
Feb 7, 2005
Reaction score
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
I get so tired of hearing that the thing that wrong with education in this country is public education. The notion is ridiculous on its face, as public education presided over the rise of this country to the great, prosperous, powerful nation it is today. It has done the most to equalize opportunity out of any one factor. The success of this 4100 student unionized school in a minority, very culturally diverse area in a Liberal state is shining example of what public education can still do in this country.

Two of the things that conservatives repeatedly say are needed are things that were adopted by this school: Focus on basics, Focus on good teaching. Some 'new' ideas were also adopted: Set high expectations and perseverance. There was also an emphasis on looking to reaching for college entrance as each instructor was encouraged to say at least once every class "When you get to college..." A seemingly overly simple part of the solution, but actually potentially quite effective when you consider how it changes what teachers and students both think about.

This was accomplished without mass firings. People stepped up and began insisting on eradicating apathy. Success begat more success. Mediocre teachers became great teachers. Although the article does not state it, this all seems to have been accomplished with no additional funding.

I was overjoyed for the kids in this school, whose students collectively now outperform 90% of Massachusetts high schools.

There are many lessons to be taken away from this story. I'd like to hear what people have to say about it.


One last comment to my fellow Liberals: We must insist on greatness. Liberal policies and paradigms will ultimately fail if we don't do so. It should be a moral imperative fostered by everyone that we are obligated to do our best. I believe that when this is coupled with the 'hand up' policies we believe in, it is a powerful, unstoppable brew.
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