Discovery Education is proud to join Learning First Alliance members, educators, parents, business and community leaders, and many others across the country to show the strength—and potential—of our nation’s public schools and our students’ futures during Public Schools Week, which this year will be observed February 27-March 3, 2023.
I am personally invested in America’s public schools, in part, because they have played a significant role in my life. My mother had a lengthy career in public education as a math teacher in the same school district from which my two brothers and I graduated. I am a proud graduate of Bloomsburg University, which is a part of Pennsylvania’s system of public higher education. Early in my career I served as a Tech Coordinator and a Tech Director in two separate Pennsylvania public school districts. And last, but not least, my wife is a former public school administrator and my children are all graduates of their local public schools.
However, public schools’ vital role in American life is the primary reason I am so invested in highlighting the strength and potential of the nation’s public education system. Simply put, our way of life is dependent on successful public education.
The architects of our nation understood this. According to Thomas Jefferson we must, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people . . . They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” In a letter to a friend, Samuel Adams suggested that systems of education should be created to teach the sciences and, “implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.” Finally, Benjamin Franklin believed that among the items needed to support virtue, morality, and civil liberty in our new nation was, “a good school in every district”.
However, over the last few years, I believe we have seen just how fragile our democracy truly is, and the important role our educators play in developing a knowledgeable citizenry who are so critical to protecting democracy. As Franklin Roosevelt would say, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” By helping today’s students develop the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to be well informed and make sound decisions and instilling in students an appreciation for the benefits of democracy and the rule of law, today’s educators are helping ensure the American way of life.
But preparing students to participate in civic society is not the only role of today’s public school educator. In addition to the critical role educators play in developing citizens, each day America’s public school teachers serve the nation and its children in a variety of other ways— as nurses, coaches, artists, musicians, scientists, conflict mediators, friends, life coaches, and so much more. Beyond parents, I can think of very few individuals as important and as impactful on a young person as a teacher.
At Discovery Education, we believe today’s public school teachers and administrators are indeed worthy of our utmost respect, admiration, and support. That is why we provide them with state-of-the-art, simple-to-use tools and resources that not only save educators time and energy, but also extend their ability to implement what we know are the best educational practices. As public school teachers go about their day, we want to be with them every step of the way, supporting their work as they shape tomorrow’s citizens and develop and nurture our greatest natural resource: our children.
I hope you will stand with me and the rest of the Discovery Education team as well as Learning First Alliance’s members, educators, parents, business, and community leaders in celebrating Public Schools Week, February 27 to March 3, 2023. Our public school teachers have done so much for our nation—let us show them our thanks and appreciation.
-Scott Kinney, CEO, Discovery Education