Education in the United States shouldn’t be a political matter.
Every child in this nation is deserving of a quality education in an institution capable of providing the resources they need to succeed.
And yet, education has become a hot button issue, pitting educators against lawmakers and politicians. Students — and their parents — are caught in the middle.
Some politicians, such as former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush, see educators as the obstacle to quality education. Bush recently told attendees of a national summit on school choice that teachers and the unions that represent them put their own economic interests ahead of school reform customized for students. He asserted that this “monolithic” and “homogenized” system was impeding progress and choice education initiatives.
Such hyperbole doesn’t help anyone.
Most teachers truly want what’s best for students. No one gets into education for the paycheck – or the headaches created by legislators who haven’t set foot in a classroom since grade school.
The teachers unions, including the Indiana State Teachers Association, provide for and protect these teachers in hopes of creating environments where students can thrive. But recent legislation has made it increasingly difficult to do so, whether through setting unattainable testing standards or by directing funds away from public schools through vouchers.
Yes, parents have a right to seek a quality education for their child by utilizing a voucher at a private or charter school. But how do we expect for our public institutions to make any improvements if taxpayer money, always intended for public schools, is being siphoned away? Public education may be free, but in an era of ever-changing technology and burgeoning knowledge, it isn’t cheap.
School-choice advocates and teachers should be able to agree on one thing — it’s paramount each child has a quality education available to them, no matter where they attain it. Perhaps with that ideal in mind, both sides can come together and work on a solution that actually achieves it instead of making the future of our children a political poker chip.