Why take away from education?

The first thing I thought of when I read the letter “Stop raising Avon Grove school taxes” last week was that if we need to voice concerns about the “financial ruin of the country”, wouldn’t it make sense to voice those concerns to the folks running things in Washington, D.C.? If we feel the state of Pennsylvania is rife with corruption and waste, as the letter stated, shouldn’t we look to Harrisburg for reform? And if we feel that all of Chester County is a mess, shouldn’t we touch base with our local representatives? Why go on to lambaste a school board and a school district that has been focused on providing a quality and well-rounded education to thousands of children?

My family’s experience with the Avon Grove school district has been fantastic. The teachers give so much more than 100 percent, and our children are receiving a strong education. An education rich in the fundamentals mentioned in last week’s letter, with nothing “superfluous” in sight. (I’m not sure if the superfluous comment was aimed at art and music programs, or perhaps sports programs at FEMS and AGHS?)

Last week’s letter also called into question teacher salaries and benefits. If the teaching profession offers so many more benefits and financial advantages than every other profession, why aren’t there lines of applicants wrapped around the building every time there’s an opening? If you truly get so much for so little, why aren’t college undergrads flocking to earn teaching degrees? Why is the attrition rate for new teachers so shockingly high? Because the truth is, the job can too often be brutal and thankless. We increasingly look to our teachers and administrators to be stand-in parents to our children. We blame the schools for everything from obesity to bullying. Too many children arrive at school hungry and/or tired, in no way ready to learn and many receive zero parental support or encouragement. Additionally, with the inclusion of all children in the classroom, there are many with behavioral, psychological and physical special needs. There are children that don’t speak English. The truth is, not many of us would last five minutes in a classroom, let alone be able to teach anyone the first thing about anything.

If we feel the school board is financially irresponsible, we can attend their finance meetings and gain more insight as to where our tax money is going. From what I’ve seen in the past six years, getting them to spend money is akin to getting blood from a stone. We have the lowest student spending and the lowest tax increases around. And when you look at the highest property values in the country, they always correspond with the best school districts in the country.

With all the places that our tax dollars go, why would anyone target our children’s education as the place to slash and burn? I urge all of the school board members to support education. Some of the newer board members appear to have little interest in supporting quality education. Shouldn’t we look to our board of education to actually stand for education, or has it suddenly morphed into some sort of board of tax reform for the whole country? The future of “We the People” rests firmly on the shoulders of our children, and their education.

“Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.” - Sir Claus Moser

Think about it.

Madelyn Farina

New London Township