Opinion

Time to pay the price for poverty, education | Editorial

A reader, Paul Sutton, commented on our Aug. 22 editorial. He doesn’t like that we tagged the Legislature and the state teachers union for causing our state to lose a federal waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act. As a result, almost all the school districts in our state have to send a letter to parents saying that their kids’ schools are failing.

The schools aren’t failing, but that’s not the real issue here and the article’s author, Paul Sutton, makes some excellent points.

He’s right that the real issue isn’t failing schools, but poverty. When people are stuck in poverty, too often they don’t have the means or the hope to help their children find a better future.

We agree with him that the best, long-term solution would be solving the poverty issue. However, doing that won’t necessarily help kids struggling in schools today. Too many of them have been stuck too long in what looks like a bleak future without a clear way to do better.

That’s why we said that one answer — short-term, if you like — is to pour more resources into schools and target students who, for whatever reasons, need more time and help to move ahead and achieve the knowledge that will be so valuable to them in the future.

Resources, of course, really means money. We need to pay for more teachers to provide more hours per day of instruction for more days per year to help those students who need this extra help to succeed.

Yes, working to solve poverty’s root issues is necessary, but curing poverty today won’t wave a magic wand over students at the fifth, eighth or high school grade level and make the past disappear.

The issue, as always, comes down to money. If we’re serious about improving the lives of everyone in our country, then we must commit to paying the price.

It will be costly, but it’s a cost we need to face – and pay.

 

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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