Public Education is a touchy topic. Different states perform at different levels and Georgia is consistently ranked very low on the list. Unfortunately, funding is being cut by millions of dollars and it seems unlikely that education performance will improve in the current economic situation. Without adequate government funding schools are incapable of properly serving and preparing their students but if parents step in and provide extra funds the opening of Pandora’s Box can not be avoided. If parents in more wealthy areas are able to supplement the governments funding of the area’s public schools then other districts begin the age old rant that the wealthy are receiving a better education.
And it’s true.
Students in well-to-do areas typically receive newer materials, better programs, and even better learning environments. Why? Because their parents are financially able to give to booster clubs, fundraisers, and other causes that families in poorer areas may not have the extra funds to donate to. Schools in wealthier areas typically have more advanced playing fields, gyms, libraries, and computer labs. The extra funds that allow for these amenities are often donated by parents who want their children to have the best facilities and opportunities possible. But what about parents who want the same things for their children but are unable afford it or simply live in an area where the acquisition of those types of amenities is seemingly impossible? Should that mean that those children can not receive the same level of education of children in wealthier families? It should not.
But it does.
Reality strikes again. Life is not fair. In this nation people are expected to work for what they receive and if more is desired then more work is required. But should this capitalistic mindset determine the fates of thousands of school children who live in districts where the government’s cuts of school funding could be almost fatal to their already precarious school system? Theoretically no, but the only current solution to the problem would be outside donors giving to the underfunded school systems. There may be people who already do this, but in reality people are more likely to give to their own family’s school system than some other system in rural Georgia.
But aside from government funding, or the lack there-of, the Georgia public school system is floundering. With consistently low test scores and graduation rates Georgia is securing itself a position of inadequacy. There are horror stories of grade school children who do not know how to read and of children who simply can not seem to pass even the basic math classes. Is this the child’s fault? The parents? The schools? It is most likely a combination of all three. Without the child’s effort, the parents’ support, and the school’s ability to educate it is extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for the child to succeed. In this time of recession and drastically reduced funding for public schools Georgia needs to focus not on new facilities or better technology but on the improvement of the quality of the teachers and on the quest for a higher standard for public education.