Education in America is a multifaceted and passionate debate. But it often feels like the voices that are the loudest don’t have a stake in the fight beyond the political implications of it all. We all know that we are a country in massive amounts of debt and that everyone’s reflex is to throw more money at a problem. It’s true, a lot of these things need more money, but at their very heart, need fundamental fixes. Talk though, is indeed cheap and the problem is full of countless layers and nuances. But if there is any issue worth untangling, it’s education. It’s one of those aspects of society that permeates nearly everything, with ever-growing roots that reach the most important parts of society.
There are some incredible public school alternatives and even other options within the public system. From charter and magnet schools to home school networks, many students have a number of choices that weren’t always available. However, there is still a huge segment of students that for a multitude of reasons, don’t have those options readily available to them. I’m a public school product, and like anything else, some schools were great and some, well, were not so great. But is there any reason that this issue couldn’t be solved with a number of solutions?
I certainly don’t claim to have the answers, but am rather suspicious of the people who offer only one answer and are so willing to dismiss all others.
How do you strike the right balance to reach substantive solutions? Is it possible to empower teachers to use their talents and education to get the most out of crucial curriculum instead of teaching to a test and having to be classroom managers? Is it possible to offer students the high-level math and English they need and still be able to offer programs like music and art or even more focused curriculum targeted towards a specific discipline? Is it possible to have the kind of accountability that tax payers seek without stifling the scholastic process and taking creative choices out of a teacher’s hands?
I’m on the precipice of really seeing the importance of all these things as my daughter is a mere year away from kindergarten. And the only thing that I really know is that it’s imperative to get involved and ask a lot of questions. I want to be involved. I want to know who my daughter’s teachers and principals are and work to get to know the other parents. It feels like a good start, but the true crux of the matter feels enormous and demands wide-scale involvement.
We Want to Know:
- Are schools in your community facing budget cuts and challenges?
- Does your city have a successful public school district? Why or why not?
- What are some things that you’ve seen schools do to counter budget challenges?
This post was inspired by the NPR story “Detroit Public Schools Face ‘Draconian’ Cuts,” a piece that discusses how Detroit’s public school district is facing a $327 million budget deficit and a proposal that could put up to 60 children in a classroom.