Public vs. Private Schools?

I was afraid to read David Batstone'

I was afraid to read David Batstone’s column ("School Without a Prayer," January 2005) - more public school bashing, I thought; more of "prayer in the schools" issues. His article certainly pointed out some problems, but they were more about lack of challenge to his gifted children than about "absence of moral education."

I taught in public and private schools and then spent the last 15 years of my career training teachers at a university. I would like to assure Batstone and others that most young people going into education are highly altruistic and truly concerned with helping all their students and, in a larger sense, making the country and world a better place.They demand honesty and respectful behavior. If public schools do not permit prayer of any particular religion, that does not make the schools value-free; it just makes them nondenominational.

Sending his kids to a private school will not solve the problems Batstone writes about. Some school districts have programs for the gifted and those who need other kinds of help. If his does not, has he considered agitating to get them? Public education is just that, and it must be supported for the sake of those who cannot afford the private schools.

Lucy Fuchs
Salyersville, Kentucky

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Sojourners Magazine March 2005
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