From the Editor (May 2018)

Stillwater Junior High Students rally with their parents and teachers at the capital for increased funding for public education.

By Ammie Bryant, Editor

As we finish and send the May issue to print, teachers and students are heading back to school after two inspiring, yet frustrating, weeks of advocacy for increased funding for education. The “increase” teachers are asking for is, in reality, a restoration of the funding that has been cut over the last ten years. These cuts have continued while student enrollment has gone up.

I have three teenagers who have never experienced a well-funded classroom. My children have not had textbooks to bring home to do their homework and study. In many schools, class sizes are too large for one teacher to effectively manage. Resources are either spread thin, donated from private sources (ie. teachers and parents pay for them), or non-existent. Meanwhile, standards keep being raised demanding teachers do increasingly more with far, far less.

The current status of public education is not acceptable. We should all want to fund public education to its fullest potential. Our founding fathers understood that free access to a good quality education was absolutely essential to the success of the young republic, and history has proven that education is the root of freedom itself. As Mark Twain said, “Out of the public school grows the greatness of a nation.”

A well-educated citizenry is capable of critical thinking. They are able to evaluate sources of information and understand the issues at stake. Educated people are equipped to make better, healthier choices in their personal lives, which lowers the economic costs of criminal justice and healthcare.

Why wouldn’t we want to do what it takes to make sure that our children get the best possible education? To quote an ‘80s hit, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” Aren’t they worth it? Isn’t our future worth it?  

Until next month, onward!