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Denene Millner - In Defense of Poor Public Schools

Nick Chiles

Today on The Parenting Post, Denene Millner speaks out in defense of poor public schools.  Moving to a new area with schools of questionable reputation and test scores, Denene sent her girls to a private Montessori school to save them from educational mediocrity, only to discover that her neighborhood school was a better fit:

Are there crappy public schools? Of course there are. But not all of them are broken. Not every test is horrible. Not every teacher is phoning it in. Not every rich district is better than the not-so-rich districts. And, despite the prevailing notion of people who gentrify the 'hoods with their mini vans and Starbucks lattes, not every family who doesn’t look like, speak like or come from the same background and circumstances as yours is educationally-challenged and blissfully ignorant about their kids' grades, test scores and ability to achieve. The non-snob in me knows this deep down in my gut. 

Public schools are what we parents make them.

And I’m glad we opened our eyes to this.

I love her honest exploration of the biases behind choosing a school and her conclusion that parents have a role in helping a school be what it needs to be for their kids.  With my two kids attending two different schools, one “better” on paper than another, I’m a big believer in choosing a school based on more than the numbers. 

Kathryn Thompson is a mom to two school-aged kids, a toddler and a deceased betta fish. She can also be found at The Parenting Post, and occasionally the gym.