If You Believe Your Public Education Failed You

I’m gathering anecdotes for a blog post I’d like to write. I’m looking for experiences from people who believe they were failed by their education in public schools.

Define “failure” however you’d like.


Did it fail me? Did I fail it? By the time people started really trying to stop me from dropping out, my mind was made up.

I really didn’t know why I was there, I wasn’t clear on what the guidance counselors were for, and I just washed out.

I think there needs to be some kind of class–or better, an explanatory chart on the wall–explaining why, exactly, one is in school, and how the whole thing works. I was a bookish enough kid that I eventually ended up being influenced by the cranks who complain about compulsory education (though I now think the cranks were wrong) and I stopped caring.

Went to Lanphier…the Pleasant Plains.

Class of 78

Does that help??

In 78 I was at Harvard Park [Elementary] trading KISS Trading Cards™ for Jello™, so no.*

*Although if Lanphier was the shithole in 78 that Southeast was in 88, I’m picking up what you’re laying down.

When I was in 8th grade we moved from a town with a new school with young teachers to a more rural town. The school building was very old and dilapidated and the teachers were all nearing retirement. The race differential was also striking; the former school was about 50/50 black/white while the new school was about 25% white to 75% black.

They were teaching things in the 8th grade I had studied in the 6th grade. The only class I ever failed in my scholastic career was there - I failed P.E. because the other white girl in the class and I refused (after several trials) to participate in dodgeball.

The homeroom teacher never looked up from her roster; if someone said “here” when your name was called she recorded you as present.

Due to boredom I started skipping school. Despite only going to school a couple of days a week I had A’s and B’s in every subject other than P.E. .

My mother approached the principal of the school about the problem; his solution was to advance me to the 9th grade. This course would have had me graduating from high school at 16, which my mom didn’t think was a good idea.

I started hanging around with some other school-skippers and wound up in a minor brush with the law. Mom and the Judge decided private school was the best course of action for me. I had to go the first year (9th grade) but I chose to keep going there until graduation.

It was the best thing that could have happened to me.