We must embrace and improve public education

The following Letter to the Editor was published in The Daily Sun on March 31, 2023. Submit your own letter to the editor by clicking HERE

Horace Mann (1796-1859), the architect of modern public education, believed deeply in the importance, value, and superiority of public education; it became his life’s work. “Public Education is the cornerstone of our community and our democracy.”

Were he alive today he would be appalled how Florida’s public education system is being abused, maligned, gagged, and bullied by our state government and a few disproportionately vocal people. Mann’s insight is rife with wisdom that our government and school boards would be well advised to internalize.

Examples from which you’ll get the gist:

  • “Public Education is the cornerstone of our community and our democracy.”
  • “School is the cheapest police.”
  • “No man has the right to bring up children without surrounding them with books.”
  • “Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself 10 years ago.”

To apply Mann’s wisdom to what is happening to our public education system lays bare the hypocrisy, cruelty, arrogance, and ignorance of those who are dragging it down.

Do not ban books. Read, discuss, form opinions, and learn from them.

Do not dumb down history. Learn from what was wrong lest it be repeated.

Do not establish a private, separate, costly, elite, parallel education system. Fund and improve the jewel that is our public system (abused though it is).

Do not shrink from discomfort. Embrace it, learn from it, and learn how to cope.

Daniel Klein, Port Charlotte

 Image Credits: CD Davidson-Hiers