Don't use public moneyFrom: Ivan S. ShermanWestminsterThis...

Letters to the editor

June 14, 1992

Don't use public money

From: Ivan S. Sherman


This letter is in response to Sharon Hornberger's column in the June 7 edition.

The bottom line of Ms. Hornberger's comments was that driver's education in our high schools should continue to be financed by public funds.

In defending this conclusion, she said . . . "the main thrust of our education was to prepare us for the 'real world'."

I strongly disagree, philosophically, with that statement.

The concept that public education is to assure our graduates that they can get along in the real world has come into the foreground of policy-makers in the past 25 years.

In my opinion, the main thrust of public education is to EDUCATE our young people . . . to make them informed, well-rounded, educated adults who have the capability to think clearly and logically and who carry forward with them the knowledge that previous generations have decided is necessary to maintain a good society.

In my experience, I have heard far too many young people fussing over some schoolwork with the comment, "I'll never use this when I'm out in the world."

That is a shame. It is not necessary for education to be directly translatable into a tool for getting a job, or writing a check, or the myriad other subjects that are popping up in public school curricula currently.

Public education is necessary to make thinking adults, not good drivers.

Thus, I feel strongly that driver's education is one of many options offered our students that need not be paid for by public money.

I grant Ms. Hornberger that it may be a desirable course, but, particularly in times of decreased public revenues, I see absolutely no problem with charging a voluntary $50 fee for the service.

Those young people who want the course will find a way to pay for it, believe me, or they will find a way to learn the things they need to get their license.

Perhaps the other areas that were mentioned -- extracurricular programs and athletics -- should be thoroughly examined as well to see if they truly fit the concept of publicly financed education.

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