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My Turn: Schools can’t do it all on their own

By Gordon Correll

I always had a soft spot in my heart for special needs children in public school.  The article in the Post concerning the administrator being placed on leave speaks loudly to one of the huge problems in public education today.

Public education today is in serious trouble, and there are many reasons for this. The main reason, in my opinion, and it comes by way of 30 years of service in public education as a teacher and administrator, is that public education, under its present form, is required to be all things to all people.

Our public schools are required to educate all children. Does the general public really grasp what it takes to educate all children in the same building? Just attempting to educate the special needs children is a monumental task, with so many different types of conditions they may have. Few schools really have the trained professional staff necessary to handle such a task, not to mention the facility that is necessary to meet the many needs of these children.

Fewer and fewer young people want to be teachers because being a teacher today can be almost an impossible task with the demands of trying to be all things to all people. Taxpayers cannot or will not support public education in its present form due to its increased cost and inadequate performance as measured by current standards.

Finding qualified people to staff our schools for the money they are paid, the lack of respect they receive, and the impossible task of being all things to all people spells doom for our public schools.

The public schools today do not even resemble the public schools of yesterday. Being all things to all people is just an impossible task in the current political and social environment. If public education is going to survive, a change in the public’s attitude, funding, personnel and organization must take place.

Unfortunately, that means more and more funding or more sweat equity from parents and the community. Is the general public willing to pay this price? I don’t think so because the general public is more concerned about their child and the children like their child than the other children in the school.

Can we really be all things to all children? I am not sure we can unless a large change in attitude takes place among all people.

Gordon Correll lives in Salisbury.

My Turn submissions should be 500-700 words. Send to elizabeth.cook@salisburypost.com with “My Turn” in the subject line. Please include name, address, phone number and a digital photo of yourself, if possible.

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