Two Saturdays ago the following letter of mine appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In the ongoing budget kerfuffle, I worry that the rhetoric of some of my teacher colleagues has crossed the line into irresponsible territory. Frankly, even the insinuation that money is the biggest factor in student achievement is bothersome. Yes, there are things we need funding for, but why haven’t we gotten this fired up over the epidemic of failure in our schools?
Astute readers will recognize that this letter canibalizes part of a post I put up here about a month ago.
As a fellow English teacher, I appreciated Elizabeth Strehl’s Wednesday letter in defense of education spending, but I can’t condone her statement that, “If the proposed budget cuts to education happen, our schools and therefore our children may never recover.”
Perhaps such education advocates are exaggerating to emphasize their point, but can’t these academic Chicken Littles see the danger of their hyperbole? If these budget cuts do pass, what message have we now sent to our students? Might young people pick up on the idea that their fate has been sealed and that further work is pointless? Might the economic situation be used by some as an excuse for failure?
Lobbying for schools is noble, but I hope the fatalism so prominent in this conversation won’t turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To all students out there: The ultimate force in your academic achievement isn’t the money coming from politicians, it’s the effort that comes from you. Don’t take our concern over the budget the wrong way. No matter what happens, we believe in you. Your future will always be yours to control.