Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 19, 2013

RAY DAY: Why not public schools?

— As I grow older, I wonder if I am getting wiser or stuck in the stopgap of life.

As a child, I went to a neighborhood school: Willard, on Monroe and Purdum streets. It was for the first-through-sixth grades and a principal by the name of Lee Walters. He was a great man who believed in getting the most out of every student, and not just a favorable few.

We had some great teachers who knew how to do the same, and they are remembered by this old man as those who started me on an educational ride before passing me on to Central Junior High, which was where a school parking lot is now on Union and Superior streets. As we had at Willard, the same was there at Central and the second phase of my educational life was in the process.

Then after junior high came Kokomo High School, where the pride of the Red and Blue runs supreme. Kokomo High also had teachers who worked hard to bring out the best in this youngster. After two years at Kokomo High, we moved out to the Western school district and I attended Western High School in Russiaville. There I met a great group of youngsters who will always be in my bank of memories because of the way they accepted me into their arms.

Friends also blend deep in the learning process of getting an education good enough to allow us to go after any job or position that is there for those who want to take that step in life. What this old man is trying to get across is that our educational process is sufficient to move all of us to that level in life we want to have for ourselves and our families.

But in Indiana, we are being told our public school system isn’t good enough and that certain families require our hard-earned tax money so they can enter their children into private schools. The result: Our public schools will suffer from the lost tax money they would have received to bring about better things for the students and the families of those who attend the public schools.

It is my opinion, and I address this with a lot of emotion, that vouchers are a bad move. They aggravate the misconception that private is better and public is second place in acquiring the education that will give us the leaders and educators that are so much a part of our lives before us.

Again, it is my opinion that public schools should be first in line to get the tax money that you and I are taxed for. We need to let it be known that those leaders who stand before us now were all educated in the public schools, and I would say that we got our money’s worth. It seems to me that the upstarts we are putting in as our representatives seem to have their own agenda, and they have closed the doors that we had opened so many years earlier.

Don’t get me wrong, folks, because I do believe in every student getting the best education possible, but we don’t need to take the money and throw it away on private schools. If you out there want to enroll your child in a private school, do it, but do it at your own expense. I am happy with the schooling I received from good teachers and good public schools.

Why is this happening? I can’t accept it and neither should you.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.

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