The November election is fast approaching and the candidates are on the road canvassing for votes. Many school systems have been severely affected by the budget cuts this year causing the loss of teachers, classroom supplies, textbooks, and facility maintenance. The results of this year’s elections are will have a major impact on the future of our public schools. In recent years, many of the public school systems have been plagued by a lack of adequate funding and poor use of the funding received. The lack of adequate funding, lack of national standards, inadequate teacher training, poor physical facilities, and lack of proper textbooks, technology, and classroom supplies all play an important role in the state of public education today. Having taught in both the elementary and high school settings, I have dealt with overcrowded classrooms, a lack of classroom supplies, and lack of interest on the part of parents and students, as well as older buildings with many physical problems. Many times I have had to take money from my pocket to get needed supplies because I felt the needs of the students should come first. Each individual state and the federal government must begin to invest heavily in our public schools if our children are going to compete for jobs in this global economy. The average family cannot afford to send their children to private schools.
Today’s politicians are no longer working for the public; instead, the enticement of special perks provided by the lobbyist of big corporations has become the most prominent factor influencing the decision-making process as budgets are being developed. Many decisions are made based upon the desires of the lobbyists wanting their pet projects (pork) funded before the needs of the public are addressed. The wealthy are using money and perks to gain control over the laws that are passed and enforced by both the Congress, state, and local governments. Privatization of the public schools seems to be the number one goal of these politicians and corporations because of the profit that will be generated. The recent banking and financial industry fiasco involving the CEOs and executives of many large corporations should be a wake-up call for this nation. The tax payers need to become more aware of how their money is being spent and exercise their rights as voters to put into office the candidates who will support their needs.
According to David de la Croix, Professor at the Department of Economics and CORE at the Universite Catholique de Louvain and Matthias Doepke, Associate Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and CEPR Research Associate, the United States is second only to Chile in the number of private schools in the nation. Twenty-eight percent of the schools in the United State are private schools compared to less than two percent in Norway, Turkey, and France. What does this mean in terms of politicians and our public schools? According to the research provided by de la Croix and Doepke, the results of their study indicate that when the rich are in control, less money is directed to the public schools because their children are sent to private schools controlled by their donations and funding.
As a result, less funding is spent on the public schools resulting in a domino effect that is reflected in a lack of skilled and professional labor, high numbers of illiterate adults, high unemployment rates, and the continuing downward spiral of the nation’s economy. How do politicians and lobbyists play into this scenario? The control of money delegated to education is in the hands of our politicians; many of whom are influenced by the lobbyists of the large corporations that currently control our nation. Make no mistake; the large corporations are not interested in the public welfare. Their goal is to make as much profit as they can within the law. Because the children of the CEO’s and other executives attend exclusive private schools, the fate of the public school system is of no concern to them. (Politics and Public Education).
Before you vote in the upcoming elections, you need to consider where a candidate stands on education funding. Browse the Internet for articles on funding in your state, go to the state web site and look at how the politicians in office now have voted on educational issues, read the newspaper, watch the news, and talk to the candidates if you can. Take a good look at how the money in your state and in Congress is being spent and who or what is really getting your hard-earned tax money. If additional tax is being asked for in your area, think about the future of your children and your grandchildren. Voting no for additional education tax will affect you in the future. In the future, a shortage of medical personnel, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, and other service personnel we use every day are going to come from the children educated in the public schools today. A lack of education today will result in a lack of services for you as you grow older.
The Constitution gave the people the right to decide what is best for their state and local community. The only way to turn our public education system around is to investigate, evaluate, and then vote for the candidates who represent what you need for your community. “An education system with a large share of private schooling can work well in a democracy where politicians are responsive to the needs of families using public schools, but can lead to disastrous results in a plutocracy. Thus, education policies should be analyzed jointly with the political system that determines education funding, and policy advice on education systems needs to be conditional on the political setup and the level of democracy of a country.” (Politics and Public Education).
Here are some links that will help you in your search for more information on the topics above to help in making the right choice in candidates in your area to meet the needs of your state and local communities: