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Praise public education

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I would like to commend the Deseret News for daring to print the recent politically incorrect My View by Edwin Beus ("Getting past myths of public education," Aug. 16). Nowadays, it is almost unheard of to say something positive about public education. I do not know Mr. Beus, but I admire his clear thinking on a topic about which clear thinking is nearly extinct.

Since I spent a career teaching, preparing teachers, comparing U.S. schools with those of other countries (having taught in several countries), I am considered biased. On the other hand, most of the critics of the schools attended public schools themselves, so they know how bad they are.

Part of what has made America the great country it is has been the unique perspective that everyone is capable of learning and deserves the right to an education, contrary to the concept in our antecedent European schools, which had concluded that schools were too expensive to waste on any but the most "talented" (often defined as being children of rich parents).

Among the many current risks to the "American way of life," the attack on public education is perhaps the most dangerous. Charter schools are merely an attempt to educate those you choose to educate (as do private schools), but to do it with tax dollars. However, the most insidious danger of all is the increasingly self-defeating emphasis on a few examinations. I have seen schools where nothing was done in class for weeks because "The Exam" had been taken.

Ross Allen