• a woman smiling

      Dr. Sarah Stitzlein

      Why Public Schools? What do we value? What are we trying to accomplish?

      By News Desk

      The Pasadena Unified School District is one of the most important entities in our community, so we must work together to keep it alive. It is sponsoring a dynamic discussion about the PUSD, public schools, and our democracy with Dr. Sarah Stitzlein.

      This virtual conversation will be hosted by the Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent’s Enrollment Committee.

      Composed of 25 community members in the PUSD, the Superintendent’s Enrollment Committee aims to develop a strategic plan that addresses declining enrollment. The committee is passionate about public schools and their value to our communities and society.

      “The demanding work being done by the Enrollment Committee is a testament to our steadfast values, commitment, and unwavering service for public education,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald.

      The talk will be facilitated by Board Member Jennifer Hall Lee who said, “In these times, it is important to refocus our attention on the PUSD and the reasons we have public schools. We are honored to have Dr. Sarah Stizlein as a special guest of the PUSD’s Superintendent’s Enrollment Committee to discuss her work.”

      Stitzlein will answer questions from the committee members and community stakeholders.   Her book, American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens, details how public school systems are central to a flourishing democracy. In public schools, children learn acceptance, understanding and what “liberty and justice for all” truly means. However, those democratic ideals and common values are increasingly at risk as citizen support for public schools steadily declines.

      Sarah Stitzlein is a Professor of Philosophy and Education at the University of Cincinnati. She is Past-President of the John Dewey Society and Co-Editor of the journal, Democracy & Education. Her research considers the important role schools play in developing good citizens and improving democratic life.

      American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens
      Sept. 20, 2022
      4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
      Meeting ID: 899 5774 8725
      Passcode: 426940

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      1. PUSD Dad says:

        Apparently there was a comment/question on this piece implying that the area has the second highest percentage of private schools nationally because of the failure of the public schools.

        The history of the establishment of schools shows that the percentage was always high, about 20% (due to large number of wealthy folks involved in founding of the city) private during the many decades between first schools established (segregated of course) and desegregation times of the 1950’s and 1960’s. More schools were founded at that time in anticipation of forced integration. More were founded after forced busing.

        This is all documented. So the presence of so many private schools is intimately connected to segregation. The high numbers of private school students historically were in segregated schools. With integration, that number at least doubled. Of course there was also high white flight via La Canada seceding, folks moving to surrounding communities, etc. Now today folks will say that private schools aren’t segregated. That is strictly true, but the percentages of minority students are nowhere near what they are in the public schools, and also the percentages of poorer students are nowhere near what they are in the public schools. And the latter, the percentage of economically disadvantaged students, is overwhelmingly the biggest factor in student test scores, in any urban region in the nation. Then factor in the 2-3 times more revenue per student that the private schools receive compared to the public schools, and that explains most of the rest of the difference in private and public test scores. Another factor is privates aren’t unionized, so the teacher pay is generally less, which allows for much smaller class sizes. This also helps students learn without as much distraction.

        In general comparing privates and publics isn’t really a fair comparison for the reasons noted above.

      2. Barbara Ackermann says:

        A veteran teacher once told me: “Public schools are the second gift of democracy. The first one is voting.”

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