To Fund Or Defund… That is the Question

President Trump and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVoss, are out to defund after-school, and free lunch programs; if their budget proposals are implemented by Congress. Irregardless of your politics, this is flat-out wrong. Education is a cornerstone of our society. Without a decent education, you might as well toss the cell phone in the trash, and go back to using stone tools. Yes, our liberal Western democracy was built on a public school education that allowed everyone an opportunity to be the best they can be. The trouble seems to be that an informed public is a danger to the Conservative agenda. If the goal of Trump and DeVoss is ultimately to dismantle our public school system, this is merely the tip of the iceberg in dumbing down our society to their advantage. DeVoss, in particular, is a big advocate of “school choice.” However, just what kind of choice do most of us have? I am a product of public school education myself. Our educational system may be far from perfect, but where is the path to success without it? Such blatant disregard for the least among us is a warning sign for us all. If you don’t believe it, just check out how DeVoss’s philosophy worked in Michigan, where she was scorned for being totally unqualified to provide any leadership in the field of education. She is not an educator herself. She was a lobbyist for school choice who zealously gave of her time and money to bring education in line with her Biblical worldview. Her efforts have actually contributed to more disarray in the Michigan public school system by advocating for unregulated school choice. This has led to restricting education in under-served urban areas which do not have the means to send their kids to suburban schools with better track records. School busing is an option that ran out more than two decades ago, and the only “charter schools” in the Detroit Metropolitan Area are abysmal. For example, Hope Academy; a charter high school serving the Grand River and Livernois areas for the past 20 years, has some of the lowest test scores in the state. This kind of blatant disregard toward the disadvantaged is reflected in such moves by those who would balance budgets on the back of social programs. Leaving the states to handle education alone will lead to even bigger discrepancies in opportunities for those in economically depressed areas. It is not all black and white, folks, and we know it in our of hearts.                                                                                                                                                  Back to the topic at hand… A member of Congress recently stated: “There is no evidence that feeding hungry children helps them do better in school.” Could it be that an empty belly might make a child work harder to get out of their circumstances?  Reasoning like this will bankrupt us all morally. Of course, these proposed cuts to after-school, and lunch programs, have not been scrutinized by Congress as yet so I am not hear to proclaim the sky is falling. The simple fact that DeVoss and Trump are willing to try getting these cuts approved tells you something. I suppose the money saved can be put to better use. Perhaps it will be shifted over to national defense, or maybe help fund the Border Wall. I don’t know. Either way, what they seem to be saying is these programs are wasteful, and thereby, expendable.                                                                                      Public school education has been under scrutiny, and attack for some time now. Gov. Scott Baker went after the N.E.A. in Wisconsin as part of his “right to work” agenda in that state. Busting unions has been fashionable among Conservative politicians for generations in the name of fiscal restraint. Why? Because unions wield power to leverage businesses and government for concessions they pass along to their members. If education is such an important cornerstone of our society why is it not a priority to support programs that enhance the educational experience for all our citizens? When those who grew up attending the best private schools money can buy are in a position to dictate the future direction of education, perhaps there isn’t the perspective; nor the compassion, to realize how blessed they were.

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