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[Susan notes: Look at the published response this letter provoked:

Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.

Last Modified: Friday, October 15, 2010 at 7:04 p.m.

Flip Jones was spot-on with his letter last Tuesday. Public schools are required by law to educate, well ... the public. During this season of political rhetoric, if you hear a candidate saying schools should compete -- run away from that candidate!

Schools don’t get to pick their players like a professional baseball team. They have to do the best with what is given to them. These "competition theorists" are the same ones who allowed our jobs to be shipped offshore, shouting, “Become competitive in a global market.” As we pass the locked gates and dilapidated buildings of closed mills, we realize we can’t compete with those who have no regard for human life, child labor laws, safety or their own environment.

There is no level playing field for public schools, either. Children come from many backgrounds, from great to horrible, from two parents to no parents, from a two-income family to a no-income family, from a huge home to homeless. And yes, in the greatest nation in the world, from well-stocked refrigerators to child hunger.

God bless our public educators. A special gated community in heaven awaits you.

Joel Pack]

Published in Spartanburg Herald-Journal

To the editor

Public and Private Schools

In dealing with two entities, private schools and public schools, you are dealing with apples and oranges.

Almost without exception, public schools must by law take in, deal with and do their best to educate, according to the state standards, almost anyone who walks through the door. These young people can be from almost any background, including homelessness, and with almost any home life. They may be at any educational level regardless of the grade level where they are supposed to be placed. They may have well-documented behavioral problems; they may have learning disabilities.

Private schools have the luxury of taking only students they feel they are prepared to deal with successfully. If any student falls out of favor for any reason, he or she can be sent home. Also, students usually don’t go to a private school unless they have full family support and backing. Their parents have decided that this course of education is what they want for their child, and they are willing to do what is necessary to ensure that their child gets this education.

I am not in any way trying to belittle wonderful institutions such as our private schools. I think they accomplish a valuable purpose in our community and in our world and are quite good at it. Judging from a recent letter to the editor, it is evident that they care about their students and that the faculty and parents of private school kids comprise a very supportive and loving family that isn’t limited to rich white kids.

Public school teachers, after dealing with discipline problems, severe educational deficiencies, learning problems and mountains of paperwork, would really look forward to enjoying visiting with their children and their families, but they often have nothing left. They have given their all.

Flip Jones and Joel Pack

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