Jeff Bryant wrote for Campaign for America’s Future 13 October 2011, Starving America’s Public Schools: How Budget Cuts and Policy Mandates Are Hurting Our Nation’s Students
Critics of America’s public schools always seem to start from the premise that the pre-kindergarten-through-12th-grade public education system in this country is failing or in crisis.
This crisis mentality is in stark contrast to years of survey research showing that Americans generally give high marks to their local schools. Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup surveys have found that the populace holds their neighborhood schools in high regard; in fact, this year’s survey found that “Americans, and parents in particular, evaluate their community schools more positively than in any year since” the survey started.
The first factor: New austerity budgets passed by state legislatures are starting to have a huge influence on direct services to children, youth, and families.Well, we don’t have that problem in Valdosta City and Lowndes Schools. For example, graduation rates in Valdosta schools have been improving year over year, and both school systems are solvent.
So what happened instead? Why, they made up a crisis instead!
A local business group convinced enough registered voters to sign a petition to get a referendum on the November 8th ballot to decide whether to abolish the Valdosta City School System, which would force the Lowndes County School System to take it over, and also would result in massively raised taxes, which still wouldn’t be enough, so services would have to be cut. Voila! Forced budget crisis! Fortunately, the two school systems have seen through it, and Continue reading