I heard yet another story this morning of the mass amounts of cuts to the education system due to the economy. Services being cut, athletic departments shrunk, music programs cut, and teachers being laid off. It seems the story is the same time and time again. The suggestion that caught my ear, one that I’ve heard before. Have parents pay for sports, music, transportation etc. The same issue I’ve heard before, in already flush school districts the parents can pick up this tab, but in already suffering school districts the parents simply can’t afford it.
I feel for this situation. My husband and I bought a great house on a cute street in a lousy school district. One year of our sons attending school was enough for us to pull them out and send them to private school. We pay tuition, there is no transportation, we pay for participation in sports, lunches are more expensive if they don’t bring them from home, and I can’t tell you the endless ways we pay through donations. Required time donations, donate money every other friday and the kids don’t have to wear uniforms and the list goes on and on. We’re lucky, we can afford this. Though I do admit some months it is hard. Some months we question why so much money has to go out the door toward education when we are already paying property taxes. We marvel at how much could be going toward our financial goals if we didn’t pay this. You would think that the property taxes on the billion (this amount is not based in fact) dollar refinery located in our district would make ours a school district flush with money.
The Occupy movement brought to the forefront of conversation the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. Doesn’t cutting education just widen this gap. Kids of parents who can afford it continue to get the sports, the music the special education either because they are in a well to do district or because parents can afford to pick up the slack. Kids in poor districts get it cut to bare bones. Parents who can’t afford it are responsible to get their kids to school, no buses, what will this do to the rate at which kids miss school. Music and sports get taken away, there goes the opportunity to continue their education through scholarships. Class sizes increase and that kid who could be fully engaged with just a little extra push is left behind slowly slipping into the darkness of not understanding.
I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject or really fully understand how all this works, I’m just a parent hoping I’m making the right choices for my children, hoping that their opportunities are not shrunk by the ever-expanding gap.
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