Most agree that public education can and should be improved ("Beyond 'Superman,'" by Nicole Baker Fulgham, September-October 2012). If public education were thought of as a house, I would say it is in need of remodeling. However, many of the reforms being promoted by organizations such as Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst, Stand for Children, Democrats for Education Reform, Teach for America, and many others amount to setting the house on fire. Public schools are a pivotal part of communities. Democratic public schools (as opposed to publicly funded but privately controlled charters) are a cornerstone of democracy. Parents, teachers, and citizens will fight for public schools.
I have been involved in public education as a teacher and parent for more than 25 years. Most teachers are effective and accountable and work their behinds off to help their students. Every child should get a rich curriculum, including art and music. Every child should come to school fed, clothed, and healthy. It will not help to standardize-test kids like crazy and use the results to malign good teachers.