Hoffman’s negative article is far removed from reality

Recently, Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, penned a negative article about public education that is so far removed from reality, it could qualify for its own TV show. 

Public education is the greatest discovery made by modern society. Through the continued investment in public education by our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, millions of children nationwide have been lifted from poverty and developed into intelligent, responsible, civic minded and economically productive citizens. 

Geoff Thomas

Completely opposite as portrayed by Mr. Hoffman, public schools are truly neighborhood schools, where parents are readily welcomed into classrooms. 

Neighborhood schools and the school boards that represent them are the purest form of democracy. Dedicated school board members serve with no pay and (apparently no thanks from Mr. Hoffman) are elected directly by people in their neighborhood areas who know them best.

Public schools are entirely accountable. Teachers are held accountable by principals, who are held accountable by the superintendent who is held responsible by school board members, who are held accountable by the public.

Educators are readily accessible; people frequently stop me to discuss our schools, at the grocery store, in line waiting for a movie and even at church. I (and every Idaho educator) care about our children and the educational experience students are having.

Thus, we work to provide the best educational service possible with very positive results.

Madison enjoys a 99 percent graduation rate. Over 4,000 college credits were earned by students while in high school. More than 30 Madison High students scored over 30 on the ACT, well over $1 million in scholarship money was earned last year.

Madison has won six state academic championships this year alone, and we are ranked in the top two percent of schools nationally in speech and debate.

Several seniors will also attain their associates degree at graduation time. 

Madison vocational students have won state competitions and have placed nationally. A few years prior, the MHS – MJHS Robotics team took home a national championship.

Public education works and works exceedingly well!

In addition to our academic excellence, in our school-based service clubs, thousands of dollars, canned goods, clothing and educational supplies were raised and delivered to local charities by students. 

In public education, every child is welcomed into our schools regardless of race, religion, ethic background, ability to learn, handicapping condition or socio economic status.

Far from being “a virulent form of socialism and indoctrination” Idaho educators hail from diverse political ideological backgrounds and help instill patriotism and civic pride.

Plus, if we were so effective with “indoctrination” we’d probably start by having kids get to class on time!

Instead of just attacking schools, perhaps Mr. Hoffman should actually visit one and see the dedication, care and commitment made by teachers, support staff, administrators and school board members.

In a world of increasing intolerance and segregation, caring, community based, neighborhood public schools continue to be an excellent investment in our academic and economic future and for the strengthening of our state and nation.

Written by Geoff Thomas, superintendent of the Madison School District. 



Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas is the former superintendent of the Madison School District and was a member of the governor's Task Force for Improving Education. He now serves as an assistant professor at Idaho State University.

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