One of the most important benefactors of a successful public education is proper funding. Public schools rely in state funding to operate and to provide their students with a meaningful and worthwhile education. When schools are not properly funded, complications arise that can stager the effects of education despite the best efforts by teachers and administration to give their students the best. It will take an overall change in attitude toward our nation’s public school system to ensure these schools get the funding they need.
State funding for public education comes from the tax payer. In a time of financial recession, most tax payers want to know that this money is going to good use, but the problem here is that many of those payers don’t think favorably toward funding public education when the tax money they contribute could be used to build bridges, fix roads, and a lot of other uses that seem more convenient to them. There is no doubt however, that the future of our nation, and with its power, our world, depends on the future of public education in America. Every year on local and state levels, voters are asked to support school levees to help the public schools. The levee may mean the difference of fractions of pennies on the dollars, yet very few taxpaying citizens are willing to give that up for the sake of their children’s education and the state of public education overall.
One problem that effects state funding of public schools is the large amount that is used to pay salaries for school officials instead of being used on educational resources, technology, and maintenance. Coming from a smaller school district with about 150 students in my graduating class, I have seen the first hand effects of this funding gone wrong. My school district’s Superintendent for the past two decades had an annually growing six-figure income for the sub-par job he was doing, while the students and staff suffered the effects of budget cuts and cut funding to art and music departments, the need to use old textbooks that were falling apart, and bad heating/cooling conditions. My school’s debt rose year after year and so did the Superintendent’s salary.
The “No Child Left Behind Act” was signed into law in 2002 by President George W. Bush. With this act as law, schools were required to meet adequate scores on standardized tests, and if scores did not improve in the following years, the state was obligated to take control of the school and replace any staff with state hired educators in an attempt to fix the test scores. For many public schools, this did much more harm than help. High test scores were easy to come by for larger suburban schools with high working standards and proper funding, but to the small rural schools like mine and inner-city schools with notoriously bad testing results, this meant almost immediate loss of funding and budget cuts to programs outside of the core subjects that would be tested.
The children of this nation are ultimately the future of this nation, and without proper education, both will fall behind the rest of the rapidly evolving world. Our country is not first in education, and without funding our public schools, we will fall further and further behind, and quickly. We need to change our attitudes on how worthwhile an investment our future is, because it all starts with the funding of public schools which all taxpaying and voting citizens have a say in.