Invest in the education of our young people

To the editor:

This week is American Education Week, and that means it is a good time to focus on our public schools’ successes, and recognize the challenges that they – and our students – face.

Public education is an investment – and one that we need to make in order to achieve the future we want for our communities, our state, and our nation.

Unfortunately, the investments the state has made over the past few years have fallen short of what many of our students need. And nearly $1 billion in funding cuts have hit our poorest schools and neediest students the hardest.

Think of it this way.

The average per student funding cut in the state’s 50 poorest school districts is $532, while the average per student cut in the 50 wealthiest school districts is $113.

No school funding cut is fair to anyone. But cutting the schools that most need state funding the deepest is unconscionable. These schools have larger numbers of at-risk students and high levels of poverty, so they need to spend more to educate their students.

For me, American Education Week reminds me just how important our public schools are, and just how important it is for all of us to invest in them.

The students learning in our public schools today are the future governors, senators, scientists, mothers and fathers. Let’s make sure that they have every opportunity to experience the power of a great education.

Dianne Shearer

President, Association of Mifflin County Educators