Public schools should be open to the public, writes Bob Maranto, a Villanova professor, in Opinion Journal.
“Hi, I’m Bob Maranto. I’m a parent who lives in [your school’s] attendance zone. My son will be old enough for kindergarten next fall. He’s actually right on the edge, so he could go next fall or the following fall, and I was wondering if I could come visit the school sometime.”
“We don’t have any visiting this year,” the administrator replied. “We’re doing construction and a lot of things are going on.”
“Could I watch a class in session?”
“No, even when there’s no construction you could not watch a class.”
“Well, could I meet my son’s teacher?”
“No, the teachers are busy teaching all day and then they go home.”
This is a school that spends $20,000 per student, Maranto writes.
Is this typical? My ex-husband and I were allowed to observe both kindergarten classes at the local public school before deciding to enroll our daughter. The teachers chatted with us for a few minutes during recess. Then we talked to the principal, who said he could give our daughter the teacher we preferred. (Both teachers were popular with parents, so the requests balanced out.) Not coincidentally, the school had tons of parent volunteers in the classroom.