In the early 1990s, the United States Postal Service (USPS) adopted the catchy slogan of “We Deliver for You.”

And deliver they do.

As their long-standing creed says: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Yesterday, the USPS experienced its busiest delivery day of the year, reportedly delivering more than 30 million packages. The Postal Service estimates more than 15.5 billion letters and packages will be delivered this holiday season – a 10 percent increase over last year.

Yet, the government-backed mail carrier is apparently losing boatloads of money. According to the USPS own website, the organization reported a net loss of $586 million for the third quarter of 2015.

The USPS has become a favorite punching bag for fiscal watchdogs. It’s become a deeply ingrained perception that our postal service is the epitome of inefficiency and bad management, the perfect example of a bungling, poorly run government bureaucracy. This view gets reinforced from all kinds of sources – print journalists, editorial cartoonists, free-market economists, politicians, and many others.

To be honest, the Postal Service faces serious problems. With the rise of email and electronic media, the traditional hand-written letter affixed with a stamp is becoming a quaint reminder of a time gone by.

However, in reality the majority of their challenges are a direct result of actions of politicians in Washington D.C., not some imagined incompetence on the part of its managers and executives. In fact, the Postal Service is quite well-managed and operates as efficiently and effectively as we have any right to expect, given the constraints the Congress imposes on it.

Whenever the Postal Service proposes eliminating Saturday delivery or laying off postal workers to reduce operating costs, Congress has repeatedly stepped in to say, “No.”

When they try to shut down costly, inefficient little post offices in remote rural townships, some local congressperson will inevitably rise up in indignation and talk about saving jobs and their “community’s identity.”

Yet, the greatest challenge that Congress has imposed on the Postal Service is something most people don’t even know about.

In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). This next sentence is almost unbelievable! The PAEA requires the USPS to pre-fund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something that no other government or private corporation is required to do.

Without this one Congressional mandate, the USPS would have reported a $1.5 billion surplus today, instead of appearing as a bloated inefficient organization operating in the red.

The facts really do matter, especially when one tries to compare the USPS with its primary competitors–corporate giants FedEx and UPS

Here is another important distinction.

Unlike these competitors, the Postal Service delivers to every residential and business address in the nation. If you live on the north slope of Alaska in Barrow or in the middle of the California desert in Death Valley, you will get mail delivery.

If you live in Magnolia, Alabama with a mailbox along the river, the USPS will deliver your mail by boat. If you are a member of our nation’s military serving in Afghanistan or on a Navy Destroyer in the middle of the ocean, the USPS will make sure you get your mail, one way or the other.

The Postal Service delivers.

It this way, the Postal Service is a good analogy for another USPS–the United States Public School system. Because, you see, the facts really do matter when one tries to compare public schools to its primary competitors–charter and private schools

Unlike our competitors, the public school system delivers to EVERY child residing in a given community who arrives for a free and appropriate public education.

If you are a student with severe learning disabilities, you will get served. If you are a child from Myanmar or Syria who spent much of your early life in a refugee camp; our public schools will take you in, feed you, cloth you, and help you feel safe. If you are a student with limited English proficiency or from a dysfunctional home, our public schools will find a place for you. If you are a child with behavior problems or lack of self-control due to physiological or environmental factors, public schools will do their best to help you overcome your challenges.

You see, similar to the business models of UPS and FedEx, the corporate reformers pushing for additional charters and school choice essentially want to be able to pick and choose the children and families whom they serve. They are not really interested in delivering an education to ALL children.

For this reason, they also really don’t want to kill public education entirely. Just like the Postal Service delivers to places to where it’s not profitable for FedEx or UPS to deliver, the privatizers need public education to take on “those kids” who are not profitable for privatized schools to serve.

Many of these corporate reformers are perfectly fine with the federal and state governments imposing all sorts of mandates and regulations on public schools. So long as their private options do not have to play by the same rules that require that all students be served in accordance with their needs. They just want their hands on the money.

Like the USPS, public schools have some significant challenges to address the rapidly changing needs of its customers (students). The USPS is still around because we need it. Yet, like them, public schools must survive to be able to change, and must change to survive.

This much is true. We are both committed to providing a quality service for the citizens of our communities.

And, neither the bureaucrats nor the corporate cronies nor the oppressive regulations nor the constant disparagement will stay us from the effective completion of our appointed rounds.

We will both continue to deliver!