Public Schools Welcome All, Serve All, Love All.
Dreaming the Dreams of Our Children
Public schools welcome all, serve all, and love all.
July 12, 2018 by Tom Deighan
Emma Lazarus may not be familiar to everyone, but most of us know of her poem, “The New Colossus.” In the ancient city of Rhodes, a giant warrior statue loomed over the harbor. Over one-hundred feet high, The Colossus of Rhodes warned everyone who entered the harbor not to attack. Emma Lazarus, however, chose another route for her “New Colossus”. Instead of warning away potential enemies, her colossus welcomes everyone to enter safe harbor. Her poem is permanently affixed at the base of The Statue of Liberty, indelibly shaping our American character. No matter who you are or where you come from, this is the land of opportunity. And within this great land of opportunity, no institution models Ms. Lazarus’ sentiments better than public schools.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .public schools serve all students without question. Virtually all other schools select which students or how many they will serve, but public schools welcome all. Whether it be a handful of students in a rural school house or thousands of children in an inner city, we serve all students, loving them to the best of our abilities.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore . . . The Statue of Liberty beckons those who were considered cast-offs in their homelands, but she never sees the refuse in a person, only the potential. Likewise, our public schools value the hungry and poor as much as the wealthy. The orphan receives the same opportunities as the privileged. The illiterate parent as much regard as the professor. Public educators look past people’s limits into the hearts and minds.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me! Public educators agree, “Yes, send them! All races. All backgrounds. All religions. More than serve them, we want them as we stitch communities together, one child at a time. The Statue of Liberty invited those without countries, but some of our students truly have no homes. In many cases, the school is the only home they know. It is comfortable, inviting, and safe. They are fed, provided for, and nurtured. No matter how tempest-tossed their lives, we provide safe harbor. Whether students have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or mental disabilities, public schools proclaim, Send these!
I lift my lamp beside the golden door . . . the light of public schools does not discriminate. It does not pick and choose; it illuminates all. The children of the uneducated may climb as high as the children of scholars, and they all work side-by-side, unfettered by their differences. They play together, grow together, compete together. Public schools do not merely light a community; they are the community.
Emma Lazarus refers to The Statue of Liberty as the “Mother of Exiles,” and that is exactly what she has become, the worldwide standard-bearer for liberty and freedom. A symbol of hope to all peoples, not just to Americans. Nevertheless, the nation which she represents is not perfect, and neither do public schools promise perfection. We both, however, promise opportunity. None who passed under her torch could expect hand-outs, only hard work and personal responsibility. Likewise, our public schools are stepping stones that our students may imbed in their own paths to a trade, to a profession, or to a calling. Students may arrange these building blocks to build any dream they can imagine. Millions upon millions successfully do this every single day.
Public educators and those who support them should see themselves in The Statue of Liberty. We all have a great responsibility and a grand calling to welcome all, to serve all, and to love all to the best of our abilities. There is no greater calling for our nation or our community, so please support your public educators, and please pray for the safety of our schools this second Sunday of the month.
For more articles by Tom, please visit www.tomdeighan.com