Public school is a babysitting service

The first news I saw of the Chicago teacher’s strike was a headline on the Chicago Tribune that said, “I’m going to lose my job.”  It was not a quote from a teacher. It was a quote from a parent, who was worried about the time she was taking off from work because she had nowhere to send her kid.

This is not an isolated problem. The New York Post reported that Chicago schools and churches were opening doors during school hours so that kids were not left alone in homes. It’s clear that the main function we lose when teachers strike is not learning, because it was already questionable how much learning goes on in Chicago public schools. The loss is childcare. School provides a safe place for kids to be while parents work.

It’s also clear that public school serves as a safety net for the most at-risk kids. In the face of the strike, Chicago schools made an effort to continue to serve free breakfast and lunch to the kids who might not otherwise eat.

You are telling yourself that your school is not like this. But here’s why your school is the same: Public school is a huge infrastructure set up as a social service program. It is terrible at teaching kids how to be successful adults, but it’s great at providing a safe way to care for kids, no matter what their income level. (The blog Get Rich Slowly enthusiastically estimates that parents save $1000 a month by sending their kids to public school instead of paying for childcare.)

We see this clearly in the Chicago Tribune headline. But also it’s clear when I tell people I homeschool. They say they could never be with their kids all day. School teaches that: schools teach parents learned incompetence that they are not able to be with their kids all day and they require a public babysitting service. But surely, this is not true for you. Or anyone, really.

51 replies
  1. Kristin
    Kristin says:

    I very much agree with you on this one. I clearly remember when I was in high school I actually wrote an entry in my journal about how high school was just a babysitting service. However, now that I have attempted being at home with both my kids for an extended period of time, I can see how extremely difficult and nerve-wracking it is to be with them all day long. One of them is great, but when the two of them are together it seems like all they do is fight and I cannot stand it! What do you do when yours fight? Do you just get used to it? My 6-year-old actually asked to go back to her Montessori school where all of her friends are. I hadn’t actually started “homeschooling” yet and at that time was stuck at home a lot with my newborn. I figured she was bored, or in fact got tired of fighting with her brother. I let her go back — dug into my pockets and pulled out the tuition to let her be with her friends so that she wouldn’t stress me out so much. In essence, I wanted a babysitter. She was very happy to be back, but funny now that she has been there she is talking about homeschooling next year. I am hoping that we can give it another go next year so need to prepare my psyche. You have talked a lot about how your boys fight — how do you handle it?

  2. P Flooers
    P Flooers says:

    I think schools also teach that children are difficult, unwilling, defiant, and dumb. Its much easier to hand them over when its been made clear to society that children are a drag.

    What a scam.

    • CJ
      CJ says:

      Yes! and they also treat engaged caring parents with a condescending, enemy type tactic. We couldn’t possibly know, or care enough about our children as they do. Our incompetence will destroy them. How could WE be proficient at raising our own children? How bazaar the dynamic is.

    • Kristin
      Kristin says:

      Private schools are supposed to provide a better education and don’t demand the same sort of worthless standardized testing. At least, if you choose wisely. I do think my daughter is learning a lot of life skills at her Montessori school. It is Muuuuuuch better than public in my opinion, though yes, it is expensive. Many of the parents there believe they are providing their kids a great education by sending them there, but yes, it doubles as a babysitting service.

    • Avodah
      Avodah says:

      Absolutely not. Of course, it depends on the private school, but many are very,very good.

      The difference between my private high school and my sister’s public high school are astounding.

    • victoria
      victoria says:

      I know the private school my kiddo goes to is qualitatively different from the public schools in our area (the kids work at their own pace in reading and math, science and social studies are taught mostly through experiments, often using problems generated by the students, and they spend one afternoon a week at the park running around plus one morning working in a community garden). I don’t think I could give her a better education at home, although we’re always open to reevaluating if we don’t think that continues to be the case (part of why I read this blog!).

  3. Liz
    Liz says:

    Private schools are also a babysitting service. Public school is actually one of the few services our society offers to everyone. We prefer to homeschool, but a decent education and a bit of a security net should be available to all. Otherwise it’s a stretch to call ourselves a society. Private and public schools also both reinforce the status quo.

  4. Vicious cycle
    Vicious cycle says:

    “I think schools also teach that children are difficult, unwilling, defiant, and dumb. ”

    And they teach the truth – because schools make children become difficult, unwilling, defiant, and dumb.

    My days can be long, staying at home with my 8 year old and my 1 year old (as soon as the baby goes down for a nap, the boy needs help with math, and forget about reseeding the lawn today), but my children are none of those things.

  5. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    NPR’s “This American Life” did a Back-to-School show last weekend. Ira Glass–the host–starts by asking how much can teachers do, really?

    Then he goes on to an interview that indicates soft skills/social skills are the predictor of later “success” — not the test scores. A kid needs an adult on his/her side, someone to demonstrate good character & how to navigate problems.

    Teachers don’t have this kind of latitude in a child’s life. They’re kept on the fringe as far as “values” and personal interaction. They’re less like mentors and more like drones for the state.

    The link is in my blog:

    It’s also free to download this week at the “This American Life” site.

    • redrock
      redrock says:

      There are many teachers who inspired kids and gave them the mentoring and examples they did not get at home. Not all teachers, and not all students need this, but many who come from poor (monetary, or intellectually) homes were inspired by their teachers to go beyond what their family life gave them. One predictor of success in life for kids from disenfranchised backgrounds is having a mentor or role model – often teachers fill this role.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        The problem with talking about how great school is for poor kids is that this does not justify public education for all kids. And, in fact, it hints at the fact that the educational needs of poor kids and ruch kids are so divergent that its impossible for one system to address both effectively.


        • Jenn
          Jenn says:

          Maybe that is the solution, treat schools as a social service program. That would mean the schools could be more focused on addressing the needs of the children and parents that need them, and not a broad spectrum. They could have longer hours to accommodate parents work schedules and the entire day could be tailored to ‘a day in the life of a child’ and not strictly education curriculum. I never thought of public schools this way before reading these comments, but it might be exactly what public schools need, to be turned into public social service centers for whole families.

  6. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    The photo here really says it all.

    “On Strike” and “I Am A Teacher” … Duh.

    Where are the parents? and who’s representing the kid’s interest in their pursuit of an education?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that while school did have its’ inherent problems when I went there many years ago that the trend does not seem to be one of improvement. There’s many reasons for this outcome too numerous to outline here. If our society really has our young people’s education as it’s goal, it has to start with looking through their eyes and minds.

  7. Marie
    Marie says:

    I have been waiting for you to write this post. I had the same thought about the strikes (school is a babysitting service). I can’t wait to call my husband and tell him that “I’m thinking like Penelope!!”

  8. Daniel Baskin
    Daniel Baskin says:

    It’s unfortunate that, regardless of if a public school is offering an above par (compared to other public schools) education, that it still cannot easily be untied from the fact that it is free daycare. Part of it is that employers need to get it together and realize that they can’t assume that everyone (or anyone) is content utilizing this daycare system. Until free education and free daycare are separate services, regardless of how good a public school may become, it will never get respect from society.

  9. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    While public school does function as a babysitting service, I don’t think they necessarily do a good job on the safety front. This year the Dept of Ed and Dept of Justice reported that out of over a million violent crimes in public schools in the 2009-2010 school year, only about 300,000 were reported to the police. Furthermore, it’s more difficult to get rid of violent teachers than it is to take kids away from violent parents.

    • Katy
      Katy says:

      Public school is not a safe place. Not physically and not emotionally. I say that as a former teacher with five years experience in the public system. I worked hard to keep my classroom a haven, but there’s something that happens to high school kids when we treat them like inmates. They start to act like inmates. Of course, it is true that the kids who were skipping school tended to be engaged in more dangerous behavior than those within the school.

    • nicole
      nicole says:

      but duh, schools are safe, lisa! there are no more metal slides and all the playgrounds have shredded tires underneath the play equipment instead of gravel! slap bracelets are not allowed, and neither is running. what more do you want? ;)

  10. Kelsey
    Kelsey says:

    I’m from California, so this may not be true everywhere but the high school exit exam here is eighth grade level math and English.
    If we can pass high school at the end of eighth grade then what are the four years of high school accomplishing?
    As someone that chose to work at an accelerated pace and graduate high school at age fifteen I would say, not much.
    Public school is babysitting.

  11. CJ
    CJ says:

    I am with Holt and Gatto: I don’t think of school as babysitting because children of school age are not babies, they are developing people, and little people should have RIGHTS to freedom too. I know we are discussing childcare here with the term, but I think it’s a very big difference in specificity. Schools (private, public, any) are used/perceived as childcare by working parents, regardless of how “good” or “bad” a school is perceived to be…but ( except for models like The Free Schools/Democratic Schools), all schools really are markedly and definitely prisons for young people that have committed no crime. Their minds are stifled locked in walls day in and day out. We can talk all day on the homeschool boards about how there are good teachers out there that make a difference in children’s lives, and I know many myself, but this deflects attention from the very real, very large, ginormous problem, which is that of the institutional system being completely wrong for all. 40-45 hours locked in rooms, tied to desks, then carted off to daycare accomplishes mind numbing. We must break out!

    I am heartbroken over Mr. Gatto’s health. He suffered multiple strokes the end of 2011, His voice is so desperately needed in the national education debates. I am thankful you are here challenging the institutions Penelope.

  12. nicole
    nicole says:

    i am actually a teacher (not in that “everyone is a teacher, the world is a teacher” way that we know is essentially true; i mean, i’m certified). i’m also a graduate student in education. and i agree with this. it’s hard to get other teachers to agree with it, though, especially knowing how hard we work. it’s hard for us to admit that regardless of how hard we work, we aren’t doing a lot of things right for kids. but if i were teaching elementary school now, as i was three years ago, my day would have been just as exhausting if i were working for the boys & girls club all day (which i also did, before i started teaching). 25 kids in a single room is exhausting, no matter how you spin it (especially on days when recess is rained out and all there is to do is let the kids play in the classroom!). and just to be clear, i never had 25 kids in a single room all on my own when i was working at the boys & girls club. anywhere else in a childcare setting, that ratio is criminal. in school, it’s expected. school can be a wonderful thing for many kids (as you pointed out, it’s the only place many children eat meals–albeit nutritionally bereft, over-processed meals provided by the lowest bidder, but that’s another discussion for another day), but i think we teachers have to get past the idea that because we work really hard at our jobs, school is not more than just a babysitting service that we do our best to “enrich” as much as possible within the confines of a framework that simply doesn’t allow us to individualize learning experiences in a way that is truly beneficial for students, no matter how much we want to.

    • Sam
      Sam says:

      …and you’re pursuing a graduate degree in education why? Do yourself and future students a favor and change careers now, your attitude toward education is appalling, you don’t belong anywhere near children.

      • nicole
        nicole says:

        huh, i didn’t realize it was appalling to have the goal of working toward better educational outcomes and higher regard for children and the unique experiences that help them learn.

        • Sam
          Sam says:

          I was referring to the fact that you seemed to be agreeing with the comment above yours as you posted your comment as a reply. The comment that you seem to be agreeing with was that schools are prisons where children spend “40-45 hours locked in rooms, tied to desks, then carted off to daycare”. If that’s how you view schools, with teachers as jailors, it doesn’t make sense that you’d want to teach unless you see yourself as some sort of Michele Pfieffer in Dangerous Minds character, the only one making a difference.

          Here’s my theory, a good way to encourage children to pursue their interests and individual talents is to teach them to read fluently and love books and have a classroom library and allow them to choose what they want to read. What better way to help each student discover what they love to learn than through books, no matter what topic they’re interested in you can be pretty sure there’s more than a few books on it and if they can read they can pursue it.

          • nicole
            nicole says:

            sam, my comment wasn’t a reply to anyone. you see how your reply to my comment, and all comments below that, are indented and nested below the original comment? mine is none of those things. i think you got confused; the fact that my comment is located below someone else’s is coincidence.

            your theory is great, sam, and it’s actually not your theory; it’s one of the first things preservice teachers learn in college. “a good classroom library is essential to learning.” (which isn’t even true, honestly. it’s an american thing.) the problem is, it’s impossible to just put kids in a room with a good classroom library and let them read for themselves. if a teacher tried that, she’d be run out of town. how would her kids pass state assessments? it also seems incredibly unfair to expect children to just sit in a room and read, when learning encompasses so much more than that, in so many more contexts. some kids learn by reading. some kids learn by doing. some kids learn by listening. some kids learn by watching. most kids learn in lots of different ways, although i happened to be one of them who learns a lot just by reading…which is why i was one of the very few in my graduating class who made it through college, and now grad school…and perhaps also why i’m so interested in education now, although i don’t defend the system just because i was able to navigate it. that’s like saying, “well, i’m better at ice skating than riding a bike. so everyone should have to ice skate to work, and if you’re not good at ice skating, then someone hasn’t held you to a high enough standard.” your theory about classroom libraries sounds a lot like…well, a prison where kids are locked in a room for 40-45 hours a week. even prisoners get to choose their books.

            i don’t see teachers as jailers; i see teachers as people who are mostly very dedicated to the success of their students, much like your teachers at j. r. masterman–although i’ll say again, the difference is that your teachers had students who were preselected on their ability to learn certain things in a certain way. by and large, the public school system can’t support teachers in meeting their students’ needs. my point was not that teachers are jailers. my point was that we teachers have to get beyond the idea that because we work so hard for our students, then the system must be doing something right.

            for some reason, there is no “reply” link to your below comment, so i will also address it here. i got the idea that you would think of my classmates as “lazy, stupid rednecks” because you essentially said that the world would be a better place if there were more teachers and students like the ones at j. r. masterman. thus your comment implied that the rest of my classmates just failed to rise to high expectations.

            i also find it sad that you think that your “academically rigorous” public school experience is what mainly taught you and your classmates to be decent human beings who want to make the world a better place. my graduating classmates mostly may not be social workers or teachers or scientists, but they are parents, daughters, sons, church volunteers, employees. they give of what they have, and they want the best for their children. no one from my town is going to win the nobel peace prize, but i can think of very few who are not essentially good people. perhaps we learned that in public school, perhaps not. but it doesn’t take an academically rigorous public school experience to make you a good person, or to create a group of students who have “genuine affection for each other after all these years.” we are proof of that.

            you also mentioned that you had the chance to have your academic talent nurtured, and that all students deserve the same. do you mean that all students deserve to have their own talents nurtured (which may or may not be the same “academic” talents that you have), or that they just need to be nurtured so that they develop an aptitude the same skills as you? if the former, you’re supporting the idea that public schools don’t currently have the capacity to support students’ varied capabilities, as i am saying; if the former, you’re supporting the idea that other students just haven’t been pushed hard enough to fit into the rigidly prescribed mold that you deem necessary for success just because you happened to be successful in it.

            i’m also bothered by your comment that, “we all agreed that we seemed to have absorbed the idea that we should and can improve the world for those less fortunate.” how, exactly, is everyone who didn’t go to j. r. masterman less fortunate than you? socioeconomically? intellectually? because they didn’t have the chance to be in a school that had their “talents nurtured”? any of the options make your classmates sound like a group of people who are a real barrel of (elitist) monkeys, but if it’s the last one, i’ll say again; you are only “fortunate” because you got to go to a school that supported your own talents, not the talents of every student in america. if you think that students should have educational experiences that allow them to learn by way of their own talents and interests, you are supporting the idea that public school is currently failing at its job, except for students like you. which is why penelope chose to homeschool her children.

    • 1chanc3
      1chanc3 says:

      It’s not a teachers fault that a student fails… Teachers are challenged the entire school year with complications having to do with a students home environment. What ppl fail to realize is that a student isn’t complicated for no good reason… these children act on impulse. They are unfortunately untrained and pushed into an atmosphere that is not designed to train all children at once how to behave in such a manner… That would make it easy to teach/and learn. There’s a lot to go off of Penelope’s article… So many opinions and alternatives. Everyone has a right to their opinion without being attacked (not you)

  13. NM
    NM says:

    Wow! I admire and respect your choice to homeschool well, but do you not see that you are painting the whole education system with a broad stroke. Something, when reversed, can be frustrating to a home-schooling family?

  14. Susan McHugh
    Susan McHugh says:

    Public schools herd kids into artificial learning environments based on age. That right there is stupid. There is much to be said for multi-age and even multi-generational learning environments. I prefer that all parents have access to a voucher so they can decide what school, public or private, or homeschool, their children should attend. This would also lead to unbelievable developments in private school choice. It’s also important to point out individual differences in children’s learning styles and social emotional development and not throw everyone in together.

  15. Sam
    Sam says:

    Ah, where to begin?

    I’ll start with my own experience as a public school student. I attended Philadelphia public schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. High levels of parental involvement in the home and school and dedicated teachers led to a great education during my elementary years. In middle and high school I attended the best public school in the state. The students attending my h.s. were from all over the Philadelphia and represented every socio-economic, racial and religious group in the city. My ten year reunion was a few years ago. Before the reunion one of the classmates compiled a “where they are now” list. 100% of my graduating class finished college, 80% had either completed or were pursuing graduate level degrees.

    While the academic accomplishments are nice, I was most struck by the genuine affection that my classmates and I still had for each other after all these years. The social and cultural education we benefited from as a by-product of our class demographics taught us to be decent, thoughtful human beings committed to making a positive difference in the world. Out of the 83 of us who graduated together 30 of us teachers, social workers or in another social service field. The high percentage of teachers in my class is a direct result of the our positive experience with public education. We believe that it can and does work, we’re living proof and we’re working to pass that gift on.

      • Sam
        Sam says:

        J.R. Masterman H.S. it exists and it’s in Philadelphia. I know it must be hard for someone with your views on education to believe that it’s not a fantasy but guess what? Public education can work for all students but there needs to be far more people like my classmates and far fewer giving up and writing off schools, teachers and students.

        • nicole
          nicole says:

          who is writing off schools, teachers, and students? why would i be a grad student in education if i didn’t believe in education? i have worked with tremendously gifted children who don’t get the time of day from other teachers because they don’t speak english or because the kids are always hungry and the teachers can never get the parents in for a conference. you can argue that your experience has the potential to be everyone’s experience in public schools, but it’s just not the case. the fact of the matter is, the system is broken. i don’t know much about your school, but according to wikipedia, j. s. masterman high school is “a preparatory school for select students of superior ability.” it embodies everything we’re saying is wrong with the system–sure, the outcomes may be great, but that’s probably largely to do with the fact that it’s picking and choosing students who excel at one particular set of skills. i graduated from a poor rural school. my graduating class had 29 kids. 8 of us started college after graduating. four of us finished. two of us now have graduate degrees. i guess my class was just full of lazy, stupid rednecks who never would have cut it at j. s. masterman, eh? (and yet some of them could deconstruct and reconstruct a truck, knew everything about the anatomy of cattle, etc.) the point is, sam, is that the system is set up to reward one particular kind of intelligence and to encourage one particular style of learning. if you have that kind of intelligence and are lucky enough to learn in just the way the system prescribes, you’ll be fine, and perhaps will even grow up singing the idealistic praises of public education. but as einstein said, “if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” by and large, the system is set up to judge fish on their ability to climb trees.

          • Sam
            Sam says:

            I’m not sure why you think that I would think of you and your classmates as “lazy, stupid rednecks who never would have cut it at j. s. masterman”. The point I was trying to make actually was that we can learn a lesson from a school like Masterman that embodies the idea that people rise to the expectations set for them. I think that all students should be given the respect of teachers who believe this and take that approach to educating.

            I’ve had conversations with some of my classmates who are teachers or in the social services field and we all came to the conclusion. We were given the opportunity to have our talent, which happened to be academic, nurtured and believe that all children deserve the same. How better to do that than as the people who spend the most time with children? We all agreed that we seemed to have absorbed the idea that we should and can improve the world for those less fortunate because of how we were treated as students at Masterman.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Sam, I think the high percentage of teachers in your graduating class is a direct result of the fact that you’re in a magnet high school. The school selects for kids who are good at school. If you are really good at school that means that what you are most qualified to do in the real world is (drumroll) school. So the most popular career choice is teaching people. To me this story just emphasizes how myopic the eduction system is.

      Of course people can see any story about education and slice it different ways and come to different conclusions. I’m just saying, I don’t think your conclusion is so clear.


  16. Sam
    Sam says:

    Penelope- I’m sorry but that just doesn’t make sense. The graduates of Masterman who are teachers in Philadelphia public schools are a long way from “doing school”. If it’s true that what we are most qualified for are academic pursuits wouldn’t it make more sense for there to be a majority of graduates pursuing PhDs in fields not necessarily related to education? It’s not as though we performed well academically because we understood education and how to teach, we were simply predisposed to succeed academically and were fortunate enough to attend a school where that talent was nurtured.

    The point of what I was saying is that clearly we learned something other than what was taught in our A.P. classes for so many of us to be involved in civic minded and social service careers. I believe that this is a result of three important factors, a highly diverse student body racially and socio-economically, excellent teachers who taught us how to think, not just how to perform on standardized tests and a school culture that set the bar high, expected the students to rise to expectations and provided the supports necessary to so. Those supports can and did include anything from my math teacher coming in early to help me wrap my head around calculus to helping a student find an after school job to help put food on the table at home.

    I’m not trying to underrepresent the effect that academic success had on our lives. The education we received and our ability to perform meant we had far more options than almost any other public school student in Philadelphia. The point is that it can’t be a coincidence that so many of us chose to go into fields that benefit those less fortunate. It’s certainly not because we didn’t have the option or ability to pursue far more lucrative fields. In my opinion that choice shows that we gained as much of a civic education as an academic one.

    My overall point is this- public education in urban areas has been failing students for decades and class sizes keep getting bigger while enrichment programming and support systems get cut. Rather than viewing a school like Masterman as an example of how “myopic the education system is” maybe we should be going a little deeper into how and why this school succeeds academically while also producing students with the desire and drive to improve the world they live in. There’s more than academics going on there.
    To go back to your original statement, when you make comments like “schools are just childcare” you belittle the work that some teachers, parents and students are putting in everyday to improve their schools and school systems and you are putting forth a broad statement based on your own personal experience and I’d even suggest prejudices, that (as far as I can tell) only serves to flatter your own ego and
    self-perceived brilliance for the superior parenting you provide by home-schooling your children. Is that a clear enough conclusion for you?

    ***I’m only addressing urban education because that’s what I know, I’m not implying that schools in rural and suburban areas don’t also need attention and reform

  17. observer
    observer says:

    Someone has to watch the children while the parents work. Public schools go to far with the “social services,” since there are dental clinics, with free dental care for the students, set up in grade schools.

  18. 1chanc3
    1chanc3 says:

    In my opinion school is a brain washed (some bullying teachers) staff filled asylum… with untrained children from different house holds attending needing a babysitting service to parents that are employed or unemployed. I remember being in elementary a teacher Mrs. Greer she spoke aggressively and she was hella mean… If you were a problem child she was bullying back. Growing up in public school was difficult for me… especially having to be subjected to other children that came from different house holds. I was always teased or bullied by other kids because of my complexion and the clothes I wore. I’m an adult now and I can say this “I HATED SCHOOL THEN AND I HATE SCHOOL NOW”! My son 13 yrs now complained about one teacher this school year… “Mr. Hauseheimer always giving me a stupid lunch detention, it’s like he only sees me…”! I walk my son into the school building… The brain washed staff puts on a “we have everything under control here… you parents just leave it up to us role… these teachers bully kids not all some. And the untrained kids don’t make school any better. Get this the school board of education mailed me a required vaccination document stating that every child entering grd. level 7 must be vaccinated or will not be able to attend school for the school year… This is deep… My son has asthma I’m not vaccinating him they can keep it and their phony public education scam… I’m going to home school him

    • 1chanc3
      1chanc3 says:

      I especially feel sad about every aspect and good endeavors of the teaching staff and student(s). Both want to impress… An instructor wants success for being the educator and the student wants to inherent the and learn that’s should be the motivation. But with kids coming from different home environments (drugs, domestic verbal and mental abuse, child neglect) and all kinds of unhealthy and unwanted behaviors come with the territory of “RUNNING A PUBLIC BABYSITTING SERVICE” How can anyone teach/learn with a huge amount of distractions? The you know who’s didn’t take all this into consideration!

      • 1chanc3
        1chanc3 says:

        It’s not a teachers fault that a student fails… Teachers are challenged the entire school year with complications having to do with a students home environment. What ppl fail to realize is that a student isn’t complicated for no good reason… these children act on impulse. They are unfortunately untrained and pushed into an atmosphere that is not designed to train all children at once how to behave in such a manner… That would make it easy to teach/and learn. There’s a lot to go off of Penelope’s article… So many opinions and alternatives. Everyone has a right to their opinion without being attacked (not you)

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