Funding our future

The flaws of putting private education first.

Funding our future

As a child of two public school educators, it pains me to see the prioritization of private schools in current legislation. We go to a school with an enormous and diverse student population. As the public school sizes continue to balloon up, this is the worst time to minimize their funding. Public schools face many challenges like increased class sizes and decreased ability for services. The bigger the class, the harder it is for teachers to fulfill every student’s need. People need to understand why funding them is so important, furthermore communicate that importance to local and state governments.

Public schools in Iowa continue to grow, thus making new ones form very often. Recently we’ve seen significant ones like Liberty or Waukee Northwest already host 1000 or more students with that number still increasing. Neither of these schools has even been open for a decade yet. Some schools in Iowa desperately need a split because of a sky-high student population of often 2,000. These schools will not be able to split for the benefit of students and teachers alike because they aren’t being properly funded. These schools will often have a class size of 30 students or more with very little one-on-one time with teachers; students’ academic advancement can be greatly hindered. These schools need funding to help students learn the way they deserve and teachers earn the money they deserve.

I’ve grown up with two public educator parents and in public schools, consequently my whole life I’ve been able to see and hear how important they can be. My dad, an administrator, is tasked with hiring new teachers. With less funding, he is forced to hire newer, less expensive teachers, who are inexperienced. Older, more accomplished teachers can be overlooked simply because they are too expensive. Not being able to hire master teachers will hurt students now as well as the school overall. Novice teachers might not be as qualified as older ones; therefore, they are no longer getting hired because of skill but because of the price tag alone. As teachers get more expensive and budgets get cut, districts try to offer increasingly enticing retirement packages to force older ones to replace with young cheap alternatives as well, once again hurting the quality of education for students.

Public schools are usually more diverse than alternative private ones. Students with more experiences with different people will be more prepared to go into a real-world setting where the people aren’t all the same and believe the same things. Public schools also have a great swirl of opinions which can lead to productive class discussions. Important discussions at a younger age are good preparation for real experiences when you will run into people and have to cooperate with people who might not necessarily agree with everything you say.

Many private school parents don’t like the idea of paying for public schools their kids are not a part of and might promote things they might not believe. This is a valid belief, but Iowa legislation just pushed a bill through that will use almost a billion dollars of taxpayer money for private schools and institutions according to Financial specifics from the Daily Iowan. Why should public school parents be forced to cough up this money for 10 percent of the students in Iowa? Meaning that 485,630 students in 357 public schools are robbed of up to $53,590,000 if all the vouchers are used for new private schools and students. The overall population of students in private schools is still measly at 46,407 students enrolled in 240 private schools. No change can be made without your help and your opinions being voiced. As the minority of students continues to be prioritized I encourage you to write to local and state government letting them know how important a good education is to you.