“A Slice of Life” by Sean Strange
I believe in the power of pizza. I also strongly believe in the value of public education. At first, I had difficulty marrying these two passions in my life into a single essay, but ultimately, I found a way: the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet.
A good public education, like a good pizza, share many qualities. First, a good education lays the foundation for all future endeavors in life just as the crust of a pizza forms the shell upon which the rest of the pie will rest. No matter what end product you wish to have, thin or thick, New York or Chicago, cracker crisp or thick and chewy, all pizza starts with a base. A solid public education system provides all students the foundation of common experiences and knowledge from which to rise. Some students come in heavy with knowledge. Others come in as a blank slate. The job of the school is to add layer upon layer of knowledge until both types of students can reach their potential. No matter Sicilian or Neapolitan, both are deliciously improved through the addition of sauce, cheeses, and assorted toppings.
This brings me to my next point. The varieties of toppings available at a good pizza buffet are far more than just cheese and pepperoni. The cultural influences of immigrants from around the world have shaped the American pizza just as people from a variety of backgrounds shaped the American culture. The public schools educate everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, economic or cultural background. It is in schools where many of these cultures meet. In fact, it is the rich blending of these diverse elements that help prepare students to interact in the world outside the classroom. A good buffet offers you the chance to be exposed to a variety of toppings beyond your own boundaries. So too does the public school. Students get the opportunity to experience the myriad of cultures and peoples that continually blend together to form this great country.
Variety can also be seen in the amount of education a person receives. At the buffet, you can take as much pizza as you want. You are only limited by the size of your plate or the amount of effort you wish to put into making that trip to the buffet. Some are happy with a few slices; others may wish to try everything. Ultimately, it is each person’s decision on how much to have, but everyone comes away with something.
In the end, the public education system of which I have been a part for 25 years (13 as a student and 12 as a teacher) is exactly like the all you can eat buffet. Students are offered a wide selection of knowledge and experiences from which they can take as much as they want. Whether you are interested in plain cheese or the super deluxe, public schools have the ability to satisfy all. With students, parents, and the school staffs all working together, there is no reason than anyone should go away unsatisfied or unfulfilled. Bon Appetite.
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