You know what I think about when I read that one of Ohio's biggest school districts has cut ALL extracurricular activities?
Something is terribly, terribly wrong with the way we Americans handle our public schools. Every reform in my lifetime seems to have made it worse.
Conservatives don't want taxes to fund public education that may include instruction on subjects they disagree with. People who disagree with them are socialists who hate America. Liberals can't figure out if they want to protect ineffective teachers' unions that defend ineffective teachers or advocate for students. People who disagree with them are racists. When they get together in the spirit of "bipartisanism" we end up with No Child Left Behind that focuses on test results at the expense of extracurriculars.
Add to this how much focus the media puts on national dramatics while ignoring local reporting and we get school boards and superintendents who can get away with whatever they want, administrators who don't know what they're doing and state budget monitors who get kickbacks to steer contracts towards whichever educational materials provider can pony up.
Everywhere, if parents knew what was going on inside schools, the situation would not be tolerated. This week's video of the St. Louis boy getting beaten was horrific, but more horrific is that the same kind of thing (and worse) happens every single day (if not more) on school buses, in school yards, and around schools in every region and demographic of this country. But what do we talk about when we talk about schools? Barack Obama's "stay in school" speech.
Tens of thousands march in protest to either the Bush or the Obama administrations, we can get cameras into ACORN's headquarters. But we can't get cameras into our schools. We can't get parents to show up for teacher-student conferences. And we can't seem to find people who can run the schools right.