Every child deserves a free, appropriate public education


Two Girls Raising Their Hands in a Classroom

  • Public schools should get our kids ready for a life well-lived, not a life well-tested.
  • College isn’t the right choice for everyone. Our schools should offer a wide range of options, including Career Technical Education and Arts classes so kids can learn what they love before choosing a career path.
  • Today’s workplace demands workers who have more than just a high-school diploma. We are leaving the job of educating our children just half done unless we provide an additional two years of community college education to make them work-ready.

Children may be 24% of our population, but they are 100% of our future. Today’s children will build the bridges, create the businesses, and bring home the paychecks that power tomorrow’s economy. When our children and our children’s schools succeed, we all benefit. Money spent on education is not wasted. It is an investment in the future of our country and our own well-being.

Well-tested is not the same as well-educated. Testing will always have a place in education, but its proper place is in the back-seat, behind a balanced education that prepares students for a life well-lived.

A college degree is not the right path for every student. I support offering Career Technical Education (CTE) classes in our middle and high schools because there are well-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree and many people are not suited to a job where they sit behind a desk with a computer on it. Offering CTE classes in our schools allows our children to explore different career alternatives so they can figure out what they want to do “when they grow up.”

My personal experience has taught me that art, music, and drama, and other classes foster creative, “thinking outside the box” skills that are vital to problem solving in the modern world. I support including them in our school curriculum.

Student success starts with arriving at school ready to learn. Students who suffer from food and housing insecurity cannot do that¹, and schools with high numbers of students receiving a free or reduced cost lunch (an indicator of poverty) tend to perform poorly compared to schools where that is not the case². We cannot address school performance issues without addressing poverty as well.

Students who used vouchers to transfer into private schools, “experienced significant losses in achievement,³” compared to those who remained in a public school. Voucher programs do not help our students or our country succeed, and are a bad deal for American taxpayers.

Finally, I have great respect for the many professionals who work in our schools. My first job after college was working as a Computer Programmer at the Glendale Unified School District in California and I volunteered many hours at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) as a science and chemistry educator. My mother-in-law, my wife’s siblings and most of their spouses are school teachers, administrators, or counselors here in Southwest Washington, and my mother was a classroom assistant who worked with children with learning disabilities. The people who work at our schools are hard-working professionals who give their all to help our children succeed. They deserve our support and our respect.



Related: America’s workers are the backbone of our economy.

Footnotes:
1) American Psychological Association, Education and Socioeconomic Status, http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/education.aspx
2) Scientific American, Poverty Disturbs Children’s Brain Development and Academic Performance, July 22 2015, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/poverty-disturbs-children-s-brain-development-and-academic-performance/
3) New York Times, Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins, Feb 13 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/upshot/dismal-results-from-vouchers-surprise-researchers-as-devos-era-begins.html
Photo Credit: Anissa Thompson, Who’s Turn Is It, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/who-s-turn-is-it-94-1436101
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