In two words, The Simpsons was able to sum up the importance of funding education. Not to disparage my favorite show, but this is a concept so easy, even Barney Gumble can grasp it. Why is it then that politicians will pay lip service to the importance of education, and then slash funding? How is it that these politicians can claim to be working for a brighter future and get away with crippling that future by lowering the quality of education available to kids?
Stories of educational malpractice at the highest levels are becoming more frequent this year. Michigan’s new governor, Rick Snyder, is looking at cutting $300 per pupil on top of the $170 per pupil cuts that have already been approved. In some districts, this amounts to multiple millions of dollars in funding gone. In Providence, Rhode Island, the school board voted to send termination letters to every teacher in order to help balance the budget. In Wisconsin, the loss of collective bargaining rights could mean that many teachers will no longer be able to afford to continue teaching.
Maybe I’m a little too young to understand how this all works, but how is pushing thousands of talented, passionate teachers out of jobs supposed to help the country? If we want to set the foundations for future success, then wouldn’t it make sense to create more opportunities for our young people rather than take them away?
When deep cuts are made to education, often the first programs to fall by the wayside are arts and music. That means we are depriving our students of chances to develop the important creative skills to be successful in the modern world. Sounds like a mistake to me.
Look, I understand that things are still bad. But I know that the solution isn’t to continue cutting education. Education is going to be what helps economies rebound. Education is going to help us come back stronger. If we continue to make cuts, we’re just mortgaging our future.