[Regarding “Changing Classrooms: Buncombe County Schools Enrollment Drops as Nontraditional Options Grow,” Aug. 25, Xpress:] The public school system in the United States is what has made it possible for this nation of immigrants to learn about the lives of others and to learn about the foundations of our republic.
Most parents themselves do not have the knowledge or interest in American history, ethics or philosophy to enhance their children’s lives. All they do is pass on their own misconceptions of what they think they learned 10 or more years before and the limited horizons of their daily life, earning a living and residing among people just like themselves. How will their children learn about their peer group — the differences in the cultural life of their community or of people who have had different life experiences?
Schools, like military service, put a person into an environment in which differences of beliefs, history and experience become part of their knowledge. How else can a democracy work if we are all only in our pods, neighborhood, religious institution, club? If we don’t understand each other, how can we become a community and work together, united and working for the common good?
Without knowing each other, how will this nation survive — each group seeing everyone else as other and therefore a threat to one’s life? The schools may need help, better-educated teachers, more money for students in every district, not just one’s own, but without some commonly accepted knowledge, how will our nation survive?
— Frances Myers