To the editor:
I am a junior in a public high school and I have seen the system. When I see the state attempting to change funding to be based on performance, I laugh. Basing funding on performance does the opposite of improving public schools; it puts many individuals in our future labor force at a great disadvantage.
Public schools do more than just provide an education. They provide social interactions at a young age that no other place can offer: An introduction to the public world and a diverse place to interact with different races, cultures, religions and ideologies.
Due to the large decrease in the amount of state funding under Gov. Snyder, cuts have a much larger impact in low-income areas. In regions with greater wealth, the local funding has stayed much more stable. Thus, areas with greater wealth are able to provide better increased per pupil funding.
A lot of students in the communities that receive less funding do not pursue a career that requires a college education. Thus, cuts to elective courses in areas such as industrial arts hurt more in schools with lower local funding.
By placing the bull's eye on the back of underachieving school districts, it mostly affects poorer folks. They may not have the opportunity to attend a school of their choice because they don't have an available car, or public transportation is unable to get them to that school. It just happens that many of these people are generally on the left side of the political debate. This is simply another back door method to protect schools found in wealthier communities that lean to the right.
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I can say from experience that our educators are not to blame. They work just as hard, if not harder, than any other profession out there: Long days and weekends, with a majority of their time coming unpaid. Do they take their summers off in the Caribbean? No, teaching professionals, being required to have certifications, take many courses in college during the summer. Don't be fooled. That cash is coming out of their wallet, too, just like the hundreds of dollars they spend to make their students successful throughout the year.
To all of you out there who feel otherwise, I'd suggest that you take a closer look at your local public school before you take sides. Your children, your friends, and your neighbors need you.
St. Charles, Mich.