O, Public School, how I loved thee much more,
Before my first-born in his youthful sap trotted through thine kindergarten door.
Ten autumns, Public School, of promise and betrayal,
This year a teacher of genius, the next one beyond the pale,
Of budgets fickle as mercury and policies that bind
Teachers to scripts and standards that numb minds.
You hath dwelt, Public Ed, on No Child Left Behind, but what of Ahead,
When teaching to the test earns a sweet ransom from the feds?
Estimable Science, chide with me the teachers in elementary
Who claimed you little more than the egg drop test in grades five, four and three.
And Apollo cheer the maestro who conducts music class before school day’s dawn,
And fundraises for festivals and instruments the summer long.
Hate be too strong a word for the teacher who cost me dear in Styrofoam and twine,
When he bade my son build a scale model of the solar system, though it be five miles by nine,
Likewise, Love says too much for she who called the Teacher Certification Committee to task,
so an uncertified college professor couldst teach foreign language class,
But this civil war of gratitude and despair you inspire in me, Public Ed,
Results when our youth line the rafters in classes too big,
And when some insult as elitist those who ask for more challenge,
And when we’re told, “Home school” to get students’ needs met.
A lifetime of asking for money in the space of short years–Local Options, candy sales,
meat sticks, fun runs, cookie dough, galas, auctions, car washes, ad sales, golf tourneys,
jump-ropes, bingo–more coming, me fears.
Public Education, my progeny are your products, like it or naught,
Pray, find you world enough and treasure until they graduate.
By Merry Ann Moore, with apologies to Wm. Shakespeare