Fifty Million Students


       Public Schools in the United States educate 50,000,000 students.  Fifty million!  With a population of roughly 322 million people, more than 1 in every 7 U.S. citizens are students in our public school system.  These students are taught by 3.1 million teachers in 17,000 school districts that contain 100,000 schools.

       Add to these numbers the number of parents of these students; the number of non-teacher employees of these schools and school systems; and the number of relatives of these students, teachers, and school employees and you have a school system that touches the lives of a majority of our nation's people.

       That's a big system!  And I believe that big is good.

       It is because we are so big that we have so many diverse opinions of the best way to educate students; the best teaching strategies; the best school structures; and the best content to deliver.  This is a natural occurrence for such a large system and I believe that such debate is a good and healthy aspect of our national school system.


       No single person can know everything and I believe that there is value in hearing the diverse ideas of the many in our efforts to do what is best for our students.  In short, I believe that our large size is a great benefit to our students and to our nation as a whole.  I'm not disappointed by the seeming lack of a national consensus on major issues because I believe that such debate is a strength.

       Teachers constantly feel the push and pull of these diverse voices and in the end they build their beliefs of the best way to educate their students.  This makes our teachers more capable and constantly builds their understanding of the very meaning of education.  And this, I believe, benefits our students.

       We are each (indeed) part of a national fabric and when we each do our part to the best of our abilities, we build a nation of able, reasoned adults that contribute to making our nation great.

       Fifty million students.  One great system.


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