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We Need to Give Public Schools More Money, Not Less

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In my senior year of high school, I decided to take an honors English class, one step lower than the Advanced Placement option, simply because I was already feeling the senioritis and didn’t want the extra stress. In this honors English class, I had a somewhat unconventional teacher. When he was in our place in high school, he didn’t like going to class, often skipped, and never even thought about going to college. He was much more focused on working and fixing up cars. He somehow seemed more credible and was able to relate to students on a more personal level. He was immensely popular among his many students, mostly due to his unique lessons and “cool guy” personality. He didn’t teach us the typical book, essay, book, essay, grammar test, book, essay, etc. that we were used to in previous classes. He taught us real world writing that we were never exposed to, but should be. We learned how to write screenplays, reviews, college essays, biographies, and more unique styles.

It was an assignment where I had to write a review of an album that turned my life around. I got to listen to music I liked and got to write about it. And after months of encouragement and work-shopping my writing ability, although far from perfect, I had actually been proud of what I had done. I took that experience with me to college, where I looked to recreate it by writing for the Charger Bulletin. And after that, well, the rest is history.

I was able to have that experience in high school because of a unique teacher that was able to use their own expertise and experiences in life to affect his students. Right now, the traditional public school system is under threat from the new administration. Some people argue that “school choice” is a way to allow parents to get the best education for their kids.

Money needs to be put back into public schools, not taken away. Having the resources to have better equipment, pay teachers higher salaries, and offer more opportunities to students allows the system to have a real impact on students’ lives. Proponents of school choice argue that costs are actually saved by public schools when the voucher program is introduced. However, they fail to realize that although if they’re spending the same amount on less students, costs rise per student, but public schools, especially large ones, will not be able to survive with shrinking sizes, thus reducing the funding given to them by local governments.

As EdChoice.org, a proponent of school choice and vouchers says, “If society were to quickly pivot and replace the existing system of funding public schools with a universal voucher system for all students for the next school year, it is almost certain that the public cost would rise.”

Taking money out of public schools is not the answer. Empowering public schools and public teachers is. I recently went back to my English teacher to tell him that many of the successes and opportunities I’ve had are due to that one assignment, and he told me that he was glad I told him, and that’s all he ever wanted to do for his students.

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We Need to Give Public Schools More Money, Not Less