Our Children Deserve Fully Funded Schools

Access to High-Quality Schools, School Funding | 07/29/2019

Kari Percival
Malden, Massachusetts

At my child's school, the librarians were all laid off several years ago. I worked as a parent volunteer and the books were all scattered around the room. It was so sad. They hired one back for all five schools, so there is a librarian one day a week, but my child's class has never yet been to the school library to pick out books and sit down and read for joy, or be read to. The shortness of staff means the library is closed off to middle schoolers. My child is in kindergarten. 

In former years there was a cap of 15 students and a teacher/para for kindergarten, but now his class is up to 23 students, and the para often gets called away to substitute, and what's more, the teacher has left for the rest of the year and the para is now the only teacher.

The first grades in our school system are up to 30 students. The school buildings are fairly new, built in the 1990s, but they were built for a smaller number of students, so students are crammed in rooms technically too small for that number of occupants. There are no plans to build a new school or alleviate overcrowding. This limits the ability to do stations or other enriching activities.

The research shows that small class sizes, more staff, a stable staff, more counselors, and enrichments like the arts, home ec., shop and physical education are so important.

At the high school there are not enough teachers to offer enough class sessions for the students. There are students who have multiple study halls a day, and college-bound students who want to take a foreign language but there aren't enough spots. These are just some examples of the hurdles students are facing.

I am sad for our children. People looking for an affordable place to live and raise a family, they ask me, how are the schools in your town? I tell them, our schools are good – it’s the budgets that are bad. How can you run a functioning program on cuts, cuts, cuts? Why do we treat our kids and our school system like paupers on the dole, when all these luxury high-rises are going up everywhere and businesses are booming? Why do we get new state-of-the-art police stations and new police staff, new fire trucks and a new city hall, but when it comes to schools, they say there is no money? We shall be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable amount us.

Our children will grow up to be tomorrow's leaders. Why do we not fully fund their opportunity to succeed? This causes a competitive, scarcity mindset among parents, who look to private education they can't afford and shouldn't have to even consider. Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy. We owe it to our children and to the future of our civilization to fund it fully.

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