Solution for underachieving public schools begins at home

March 4, 2017 at 8:27 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

I pay my school taxes with little complaint because I recognize the importance of educating our children. I expect my tax dollars to help support public schools. But I strongly object to using tax dollars to support private schools. Every dollar the state puts into vouchers is a dollar removed from public school funding.

Peggy Venable, of the Center for Education Freedom, says the money should fund learning, not schools. But the fact is - learning takes place in schools. Yes, some public schools are not as good as some private schools regarding graduation rates, college admissions and academic achievement. Many public schools have infestations of gangs, which hinders the atmosphere of learning. Private schools usually don't have this problem. Because they're private, they can expel disruptive, unruly kids who interfere with teachers and students who do wish to learn. Private schools don't have that luxury. Taking money from public schools does not help with this problem.

Many parents would like their children to attend private schools for the academic advantages they are perceived to provide, but many cannot afford the tuition and want the state to subsidize their kid's education. I would like to have a Lexus, but I cannot afford it. Perhaps I could convince taxpayers to purchase one for me? Understand - I do know the difference between a luxury car and a child's education, but the funding aspect is the same. Fair or not, people with greater incomes can afford better, nicer things for their families than those of modest means.

The solution for the problem of underachieving public schools begins in the homes of the students. So long as parents do not emphasize the importance of education to their kids, until parents make sure their kids do their homework, until parents support schools in their efforts to enforce discipline, public schools will continue to lag behind private schools. Look at the successes of public schools instead of the failures. They turn out graduates who took advantage of opportunities offered and thrived. They have excellent SAT scores, attend college and graduate because of the foundation they received in public schools.

Carl Bankston, Victoria



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