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Public Schools Best Fulfill Dr. King’s “Purpose of Education”


Public Schools Best Fulfill Dr. King’s “Purpose of Education”

Steven Singer
If we want to reclaim what it means to be an American, if we want to redefine ourselves as those who celebrate difference and defend civil rights, that begins with understanding the purpose of education.
MLK Public Education


Dear Steve,
Yes and no.
I went to public school in Florida. My kids attended schools in Missouri, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
These experiences include public, private, and magnet. I have worked and volunteered in schools in Alabama and Arkansas and Texas.
Of course for most the first choice is public school. If people leave public school, there is a good reason, because it is free and close by.
Reasons for ditching public school:

  1. It is no longer close by. Funding cuts have closed many local schools.

  2. Before funding cuts there was forced busing, meaning up to half of a school district’s kids were bused across town into an unfamiliar neighborhood. No chance to walk home, and long bus rides.

  3. Level of education. Some people want a tougher curriculum, other want better extracurriculars, and other want lower and lesser. St.Louis met with the forced busing issue by offering magnet schools in the city, each with an attractive specialty which actually enabled voluntary enrollment across the county to meet the required quotas.

  4. Religion. A lot of folks insist that the school be actively involved in teaching their children a religion. In some cases, people leave PUBLIC school because it is teaching religion.

  5. Ethnicity. Some people work very hard to fit their child into a suitable ethnic environment. Steve, all private schools are not white, for gosh sake! Asians, blacks, Jewish, and many others escape public school seeking more protection for their kids along with a higher level of education, and maybe just a smaller school.

  6. Charter. I have no experience with charter except to walk by some. You can do that quickly because um there is nothing there. They were using the city’s library and their playground was um not there. Third worlds can do better than this.


My kids also attended school in India for a bit. And I’ve also worked in schools in China and Thailand. Thailand and India has mostly religious schools. China has few religious schools. They all achieve well in general. Parents choose the school to suit their kid and their values in Asia, too.

There is a reason that kids get better scores on math in Asia - and Europe. They start learning the real stuff earlier. Values are not neglected, but neither are academics.


MLK’s views on the purpose of education are something we can all value. Those are the ideals.

Sadly, public schools have failed for decades to successfully model and instill those ideals for their graduates–and the fact that this eludes you is puzzling–unless you yourself are not interested in the truth but only in an ideological point of view. Which I happen to share, but w/out fantasy.

Steve, our public schools have produced generation after generation of incurious, self-absorbed, narrow, and un-reflective citizens. Don’t take my word for it, just look around you, consider the electorate, consider the low information levels most of our fellow citizens navigate with.

If you really care about education, offer practical ideas as to just how we can improve public schools so that MLK’s (and your) laudable ideals can be realized.


The above reminded me instantly of Duhbya’s torture-justifier John Yoo, who is, SFAIK, still teaching Law – LAW!! – at U.C. Berkeley . . .

You think that it’s bad now?   Just wait until DeVos & Co. and their fellow Funny-Dementalists have substituted voucher-supported “christian” brainwashing centers for what’s left of our once fairly good public schools . . .

Though there are undoubtedly exceptions, most teachers are the incurious, self-absorbed products of the very schools you criticize.  The old adage, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach become Administrators” is all too true.  Our public schools have been in such a steep downward spiral for so long that teachers have become mere babysitters, and as such have the respect of neither the baby-sat nor their parents; and certainly not the rest of adult society. Until the benefits of education and the consequences
of its lack are made more obvious, I haven’t much hope for our public schools — especially when those who
plot against them are so well organized and well-funded.


I imagine “underground” schools, where books have been secreted away before censoring and banning; where kids aren’t brainwashed; where free expression of ideas is encouraged; where cooperation is taught as a means to solve problems. Where kids aren’t brainwashed, repeat…