Public school (and university) is cool

Andrew Justus

I’m proud to say I’ve attended public school all my life.

From kindergarten to my final months here at Grand Valley State University, the government has been the one footing the bill for much of my education. I have had the pleasure of attending class with what some would call the unwashed masses, and kids from the other side of the tracks. There are few Land Rovers or BMW’s in the parking lots and no trust fund babies wandering the hallways of our academic buildings. I would have it no other way.

School is not only about getting in some quality “book learning,” it’s about learning from and interacting with those who are unlike you, who have different beliefs and who have different ideas. Such secondary learning is possible, I feel, only in the public school system and at state colleges and universities. It is so important that even if I somehow become a multi-millionaire when I grow up, I will likely send my children to public school and to a state-run college or university.

One of the things I can especially appreciate about getting a public education is relating with those who overcome adversity in their pursuit of an education. Many students at this school, and I’m sure others like it, work to help put themselves through school, some get by with little if any help from their parents. I am at the same time humbled and inspired by their efforts and achievements.

Since this column requires me to talk about government at some point I will urge vaguely that in the future, after many of us graduate from GVSU, we should work to make sure that the kids who grow up on the wrong side of the tracks and have to work for everything they’ve got have a shot at a decent education. Children of the future should have at the least a noticeably better opportunity than we do to bring themselves up by their bootstraps through a quality public education.

Those reading this column that attended private high school or have somehow stumbled across an edition of the Lanthorn at Albion College, Hamilton College or Duke University, you don’t know what you’re missing. Your high tuition cost and small student bodies rob you of the chance to know the unwashed masses and the unlikely success stories who are poster children for the American Dream.

[email protected]