Don't watch silently as public education is diminishedWeigh in before it is too late
We would like to thank Dr. Bill Nolte, associate superintendent of Haywood County Schools, for his recent column regarding public education.
Nolte laid out in simple terms how the state has continued to cut funding to public education while also undermining the entire system. Not only are state lawmakers cutting funds from schools each year, but Nolte explained how facts are being distorted when talking about education funding increases.
Additional funding, Nolte pointed out, is the result of more children in the system, not an increased committment to public education. When looking closely, Haywood County Schools have lost more than $5 million in funding since 2008-09.
Aside from the budget cuts, legislators are trying to siphon taxpayer money to private schools through vouchers and public charter schools, which have more freedom from regulatory requirements than traditional public schools. If more freedom from state regulations is beneficial for charter and private schools, why are traditional public schools not afforded the same luxury?
Some may argue the state legislators have no clue what they are doing, but others say it appears the legislators know exactly what they are doing — dismantling public education as we know it. Offering $4,000 vouchers to students is not enough to help poor families pay for a private school education, but it will divert already limited funding away from public education.
Yes, charter schools are public, but they can be exclusionary just by not being required to offer public transportation or free and reduced lunch plans for students. Our Constitution states that all students have the right to a free public education and that education should be equal no matter what the child’s economic status.
Is the public education system so broken that legislators are trying to move away from it instead of repairing it? We aren’t convinced that is the case, and if it is, it is not as apparent in Haywood County Schools where our students and teachers have not only been recognized statewide, but at the national level.
If legislators keep heading down this road, it will mean a bleak future for all in our state, not just students and educators. If you want to see public education improved instead of crippled, we encourage you to write your state representatives and senators to tell them what you think about their decisions and how it impacts your family.
If there is no evidence you are being heard, make your voice known at the ballot box in November.