Trump USD (Un-unified School District)--Privatization Isn't the Answer
Public education is the forum in which every child, regardless of race, color, gender, poverty, wealth, talent, or natural ability, is given the opportunity to become a happy, fulfilled, virtuous American.
While many of my fellow educators feel the government has broken its promise of adequate funding for our children, especially our children of poverty, with drastic cuts to Federal Programs monies that support our most impoverished schools, I implore my fellow educators to understand that our elected and appointed officials work to meet the needs of many interest groups, not just public education—although public education should be everyone’s interest! However, I do believe there are many areas where legislators could take a stand and cut tax credits, vouchers, privatization, and other incentives to divert that money into essential budget areas including education. I also believe legislators should stop allowing non-education initiatives to be run on the backs of our public schools just so corporations can get a fistful of dollars.
Letting corporations take huge tax credits for giving millions of dollars to wealthy families to continue to send their kids to private schools will not fix public education. Opening charter schools that siphon money from public schools, until the for-profit corporations in charge of them dump the charter due to poor-to-mediocre performance and unrealized profit, leaves hundreds to thousands of children stranded in a more challenging, uncertain situation than the locally supported school from which they were enticed. Letting corporations run their schools by different rules and less accountability than our public schools doesn’t create a vacuum of opportunity…if it did, public schools would be invited to play by those rules too.
Each and every day, we educate children from poor, hardworking families who are too tired to help their children with their homework after school. We feed children who get two meals a day, both at school. We encourage the hearts and souls of children who haven’t had a bath in a week because their water and electricity are shut off to stay in school and better their situation. We embrace children who cling to us because they desperately need a hug in return. We listen to children who proudly share their accomplishments because they know we push them to achieve higher out of love and compassion rather than a bottom line. We problem-solve with children who won’t tell us about their home life because they worry we might turn their families in to the authorities. Not every child is a success story, but enough are that I keep showing up to work every day. No shareholder, big-box store, contribution to a political campaign, or tax credit is going to replace the love, high expectations, and hope for the future a public school teacher gives to our nation’s children every day.
Educators must work as a team to protect public education from destructive reform efforts designed to close the only schools our students in poverty can attend, or undermine the small, community centerpieces of our rural heartland.
Mr. President (or any elected or appointed official), you need to understand, if your political alliances cause you to act against the schools in our neighborhoods, which your public loves dearly, your actions will not go unnoticed. When you take a stand for higher standards and stronger achievement in our schools, and support those actions legislatively and fiscally, you are telling rural America, suburban America, urban America, and America’s children of poverty that there is no such thing as a lost cause. You confirm children are valuable to the culture and heritage of these United States of America and we will do what it takes for our public schools to achieve excellence. Despite hardship and pain, we stand together as a nation marching boldly into a future where every youth receives an education designed and maintained in each local community serving diverse needs from sea to shining sea.
Mr. President, these words and ideals may never reach you, but I hope you view our children and their education as civic responsibilities and not capitalistic opportunities. I trust you will wield the power granted to you by the voters to protect our public schools and our greatest natural resource: our children.