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Publicly funded education

May 30, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I am writing in response to a letter last week suggesting that only those people with children in public schools should have to pay to properly fund the schools. This is the principle behind private schools, not public schools, and it may be time to revisit why we have public schools at all.

Today's climate often seems hostile to public education. Many view children's education as a drain on our resources. There are those who see teachers and school administrators as overpaid and under-performing. Even if these same individuals were publicly educated themselves, or had children who were, they do not see the value of adequately funding the system for those who follow. It's easy to forget that our education or that of our children was once publicly funded by those who also had no children in the system at the time.

Our Founding Fathers believed in public education. In 1785, John Adams wrote, "The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expense of it. There should not be a district of one square mile, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the expense of the people themselves."

Early in our nation's history, education advocates saw public education as the means of creating productive citizens, ending poverty and crime and unifying a diverse population. Those societal goals are as relevant today as they were then.

The Quarterly Journal of Economics Studies show that states that adequately fund their public schools generally have good schools; states with poorly performing public schools are usually the states with low per-pupil spending. Better educated individuals are more likely to become future taxpayers as well, and far less likely to experience the expensive social problems that accompany lack of education: crime and imprisonment, chronic unemployment or underemployment, teenage pregnancy, obesity, smoking and poverty related issues.

Susan McGuire,




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