Public education is an essential component of any country that is governed by the people!
The United States is a country based on the ideals of democracy, the ideal that individuals should be a be a part of their own governance. In the United States we do this through a representational democracy in which we elect our representatives who then have the power to write laws and regulations that control our lives. However, representational democracy does not mean we give our power to our representatives and walk away. We still have the responsibility to ensure our representatives are governing well. It is our responsibility to watch over them and to make sure they are meeting the needs of the people.
This dynamic of individuals participating in the governing process is why we need an educated population. Only when people are taught to think critically about the issues in their community and know how to be involved in the governing process do we have an effective government structure. People need to be taught these skills, they don’t happen on their own. When individuals are unskilled at governance, the governing structure breaks down.
Quality public education that ensures a well-informed, critically thinking population which understands governing structures is essential to a democracy. When parts of the population become uniformed, don’t understand how governance works and don’t know how to think critically about the world around them, they are prey to manipulation. They are easily convinced to take action that goes against their own best interests. The need for an informed, educated population is why it is important for us to support our public schools.
Public schools are the only mechanism to ensure all people receive education. The American educational system is designed to help all students, it does not assume that some students are better than others. Unfortunately, there is one thing that can undermine this system. A deliberate refusal to distribute resource fairly. A person or system that has been starved of nourishment cannot compete with one that hasn’t been. If we are going to have a functional governing system, run by an informed public, we need ensure our public school systems are funded in a way that creates an equal playing field, not one that is rigged for the few.