Bake-sales for Bombers–The Annual Spring Pledge for Public Schools

“It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.”

The author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things, Robert Fulghum, is credited with this quote. His quote, however utopian, seem apropos for this time of year.

It’s the beginning of spring, otherwise known as the annual public school pledge drive.

News headline

While news headlines scream that Trump is proposing a 10 percent increase in military spending, school districts across the country are gearing up for the annual fight between proposed funding promises and the realities of their actual budgets. Many school districts are compelled to instruct the public on the disparities in public school funding. Here is a recent press release:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Public education is a complex issue. Each and every day there are new proposals and mandates that will not only impact a student’s education but also every community member when it comes time to pay taxes.

Across New York State, school districts are just starting the annual budget process, and the balance between providing students with the best education while being fiscally responsible to taxpayers continues to be a challenge.

That is why the Liverpool Central School District and the North Syracuse Central School District are co-hosting a Community Legislative Forum on Thursday, March 9, at 7 p.m. in the North Syracuse Junior High Auditorium (5353 West Taft Road, North Syracuse). The topic is “How Equitable Funding Promotes School Success.”

New York State’s highest court has ruled that schools must receive enough state aid to provide a sound basic public education. For the past 10 years, New York has ignored that court ruling, depriving Liverpool and North Syracuse students of almost $300 million….

“How Equitable Funding Promotes School Success.”

And that is the rub, New York does not have equitable funding. No school, district, county, or state has parity. Across the United States, we are facing what author Jonathan Kozol coined as savage inequalities. Since, 2008 and the impact of the Great Recession, these inequalities have only increased.

The consequences of inequality include, but are not limited to:

  1. Larger class sizes.
  2. Less hiring of teachers.
  3. Less hiring of teaching assistants — changing the make-up of certain classes to meet student’s needs.
  4. Canceling of pre-K programs (but not in every district, causing some neighboring districts to provide very different educational journeys).
  5. Fewer BOCES programs, including vocational opportunities.
  6. Canceling of GED programs.
  7. Large and distant bus stops.
  8. Fewer sports and music programs.

Less is less.

If we continue to treat public school funding like a charity it will continue to be underfunded and undervalued. If we allow for inequity in the resources of our public institutions we only bolster the argument for privatization. If we continue to have savage inequalities between rural, suburban, and urban schools we are failing our children.

The conversation needs to change.

Please join me in actively promoting a new dialogue about funding, educational opportunities, and school reform. How? Follow this publication on medium.com, make comments, ask questions, click the like icon, write for Teaching in Trump’s America, and spread the word.

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