[Regarding “Changing Classrooms: Buncombe County Schools Enrollment Drops as Nontraditional Options Grow,” Aug. 25, Xpress:] I was a public schoolteacher for 35 years. While I see the need for some children to have an alternative education, I don’t feel that it is the best thing for most children.
Public education is more than a place for academic learning. It is a melting pot of diversity. It may be the only place that children mix with children of other ethnic or racial differences. I speak with experience, as I went to a private school through the sixth grade. Everyone there was from the same upper-income level. It wasn’t until I went to public school that I was around children of different cultures, income levels, race and special needs. It took some getting used to, and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to do so.
Children in public school learn to work with adults who are not their parents or family. They learn to follow rules and learn social skills and coping skills. I would say, as a mother of six kids, that parent participation in the school is the key to ensuring that your children are in a supportive learning environment. Some of the teachers were better than others, but our children learned to cope and achieve in public schools. All six went on to attend major universities and are now contributing members of society with children of their own.
If we take away support from our public schools, it will lead to wide inequity and discrimination. Separate is not equal. It saddens me that it looks like that is where we are headed.
— Lynne Whitmire
Swannanoa and Westminster, S.C.