Drop some kids in a troubled school district, and they will still get a good education. A lot of factors are involved – parents’ education levels, a desire to know, access to books, life experiences. Even health is involved.
A child who takes music lessons will probably excel in math, even if it’s not his or her favorite subject. One whose parents or older siblings read with them learns to love books. A child who reads knows things.
Travel is an educator, but not all children spend the summers exploring national parks or visiting museums. This isn’t because their parents don’t value education. If one or both parents work full time at minimum wage, there is neither time nor money left for educational experiences. Even trips to the public library become a luxury. For these students, a good public education is essential.
When the state shortchanges education, it hurts the very students who need quality public education the most. But they aren’t the only ones who lose.
Education affects all of us. Do you want your prosperous, well-educated children to live in a city with high poverty rates? Crime and poverty feed each other. Poverty makes us all less safe.
Income inequality affects the taxes that are collected, which in turn affects the public services that are offered. Education isn’t a horse race. In the ideal world, education belongs to everyone. Unless we strive to educate every child, to make every student a winner, we all lose.
Cutting taxes won’t make us more prosperous. In fact, higher tax states also have a higher median income. The more money a state puts into public education and health, the higher the standard of living. Taxing citizens and returning the taxes as public services is a loop, and Oklahoma’s loop is strangling public education, the very foundation of democracy.
Democracy doesn’t promise success to everyone. What it does promise is equal access to the tools for success. This isn’t socialism, and it certainly isn’t a handout.
A handout is when tax dollars are given to the governor’s donors and cronies, when private school corporations misuse public money. It’s also called corruption.
If our governor wants Oklahoma to be a real Top 10 state, he’s going to have to promote public education instead of trying to kill it. He won’t change his ways unless citizens demand that he does with their voices and their votes.