Monday, March 29, 2010

Public Education

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.


  1. I pretty much agree about almost everything Elizabeth is saying in this blog. First, Georgia is among the top states for lack of good test scores and low graduation rates, and the only thing that can improve this is better education. But how is this achieved with lower government funds due to the economic slump? I agree with Elizabeth that the solution would be outside donors of wealthier families. But this does create a problem, as stated by Elizabeth. It would only serve to widen the education differences between schools in wealthier communities and those with less money because the wealthier counties are the school systems most wealthy families are going to give to, not schools in inner Atlanta and south Georgia. Children, parents, and the government need to all come together to work as one to improve education in Georgia in this time of disparity.

  2. I agree with Elizabeth and liked they way she presented her article. I completely agree with the fact that wealthier areas are able to receive a higher public education because of the donations to the school. Schools then can afford to higher better teachers, build nicer athletic facilities and acquire new technology. FOr the schools that do not have this luxory, the county needs to start putting a spread of the higher ranking teachers across the county no matter what school or area they land in. When teachers choose what school that they want to teach at, usually the schools in south fulton county are left with the newer less experienced teachers. My AP world history teacher last year said that when he started teaching the only available places to teach in fulton county were in south fulton. After a couple of years, he transfered to Chattahoochee. Newer facilities and wealthier areas attract the best teachers. The biggest point of this is reality. Life is not fair.