When President George W. Bush was in office, he had an initiative he started nationwide titled “No Child Left Behind”. His wife, Laura, a former teacher herself, was concerned about the fact that the children of this country were falling so far behind in measures compared to that of other countries in areas like math, science, reading, writing, and humanities. That program had mixed reviews because it used standardized testing to reveal whether or not a school system and its instructors were meeting certain goals and it penalized them if they appeared not to have done so. Principals and teachers were outraged at being penalized. Parents were up in arms. Students were stressed.
To my way of thinking, penalizing the schools and teachers were going at the problem in the wrong direction. If they discerned an inadequate pattern of instruction, then instead of penalties, they should have instituted a correction plan and HELPED the schools and teachers improve. You can’t flog a horse into running faster, but you sure can train one to the peak of its ability with a reward system.
Bush’s program didn’t last beyond his administration. The problem was budgeting and, like all Republicans, that administration had the country deeply in the red. The war in Iran was a money pit. Congress reacted by slashing budgets and No Child was among the ones that was severely slashed.
The states had to slash their budgets as well. With elections coming up, Republicans slashed taxes, which meant that revenues came down and that meant more budget slashing. School budgets got hit hard again and again. From 1980 on, school budgets dropped like rocks.
It is little wonder that our school systems in this state are close to the bottom of the heap. Our STATE ranks 35th in the nation. Now in the 35th ranked State, the school systems in District 29 are near the BOTTOM in our State. We are literally scraping the bottom of the barrel here, especially in Meriwether County. Our children deserve better.
I propose two changes:
- Businesses with more than 25 employees should pay a 2% increase in taxes to go to our schools. It’s a very modest increase. They need to be more invested in the future of their employees and their employees’ children.
- A 1 mil increase on property and ad valorem taxes. This is also very, very modest. it allows people who have the means to own property to participate and have a vested interest in the future of our State.
It’s time to start re-funding our children’s futures. We get what we pay for. You can’t get something for nothing. Careful budgeting will yield tremendous dividends.