Dear Editor:

Regarding the July 15, 2011 article, "Public Education Key for Our Nation," I agree with the Erie Times-News article to point out the importance and long history of public education in the United States. It was revolutionary when pioneers like Horace Mann and Thaddeus Stevens instituted public school systems in the 1830s.

Through the 1800s and 20th Century, public education served the American people well, Americanizing immigrants and preparing generations for productive lives in our Industrial Revolution. In those times, the American public school system was the envy of the world.

But the energy and confidence of those years seems to have dissipated now. No longer does the world gaze on our schools as an example. Instead, they see our achievement levels beneath other industrialized nations and a once unified community has given way to social divisions.

Writing as a former Pennsylvania school principal, presently a resident of Penn Forest Township, I am concerned especially about achievement levels among our five county school districts. Not one of the high schools' achievement levels on the 2010 PSSA test was above the Pennsylvania state average. Such scores are open for the public to see on internet websites such as schooldigger.com.

Why should we care who reads such websites? Because ambitious families do research to find the best school systems before buying a home. Because businesses and manufacturers do research to find an educated workforce in a location before building a factory or opening an office. Because we ought to care about the future of Carbon County's young people who are capable of higher achievement.

I support public education and call for higher standards for the sake of Carbon County and our children.

Bill Allison

Penn Forest Township