What is the value of "good public schools" to a community and how do you define them?
I consider good public schools ones where kids can learn a lot both academically and to live with people alike and different from themselves.
good public schools are a keystone to community development and economic growth. if young families don't stay past the starter home stage in a community, we all lose.
maintaining a diverse group of children and families in a school, neighborhood and community make for more meaningful connections and helps breaks down the barriers so often laid down around race, socio economic status and perceived "opportunity".
define them? good public schools provide equal opportunity to excel...and maintain equal expectations...for all students. they serve the whole child, and fan the fire of curiosity and invention...not extinguish it through ridigity and endless standardized testing disguised as 'rigor.' good public schools know the limitations of their given neighborhood or populace, but don't get mired in 'it could never work' thinking when faced with a new or interesting idea. good public schools recognize the benefits and limitations of technology, and recognize that an iPad/laptop/whiz-bing in the hand of every student does not 'innovation' make. instead, good public schools know that teachers are the real innovators and talented administrators will play to those teachers' strengths, freeing them *teach*, doing the delicate work of fanning the flame in each of those students.
idealistic? you bet. and we should settle for no less.