For the past two weeks I have been in Washington DC with a group of like-minded students learning the ins and outs of politics and our nation’s capital. We were from all over the country, from blue states and red states. One night we decided to have a competition to see whose state was more backwards and down right crazy. Utah won along with Alabama and Oklahoma.
Then the other morning I woke up to a friend I met while at the program who had posted an article on my Facebook wall. He was the kid from Alabama and his comment was “Alright Utah, you win.” His post was the article about State Sen. Aaron Osmond saying that we should end compulsory education in our state.
Osmond argues that “parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system” and that because of this “our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.” For Osmond, parents should choose whether or not to send their child to school because education is an “opportunity rather than a requirement.”
My peers in DC were right when they said Utah was backwards and crazy. Education should be a right, not a privilege. The fact that we have a public school system for children of all backgrounds to attend is something beautiful about this great nation. Education has created a large, stable middle class in the United States. Eliminating it would create an even greater division between the haves and the have-nots.
I am all for homeschooling, but for some kids that isn’t a viable option. Many children need the public schools, and they need to attend them to get an education that will help them in their lives. Not all parents have the resources to educate their children themselves. And the last thing we need is more people who don’t know the difference between then and than and whether to say “he and I” or “he and me”.
Instead, Mr. Osmond, why don’t we work on bettering the education system in Utah. We all know, and I’ve written posts about this before, that our education system is in drastic need of improvement. Lawmakers need to focus on bettering the system, not avoiding it.
Here are a few ideas:
Add sexual education to all public schools to prepare teens and so that we lower our teen pregnancy rates
Improve science education so that we remain competitive with China and India
Make physical education a priority so that we can beat the obesity odds
Stop pulling funding from the arts so students like me can continue to exercise our creative talents
Instead of avoiding the problem by eliminating public education, let’s face it. Man up and fix the problem, Mr. Osmond.