A special-interest group claims to support Mississippi’s public schools (“Parents Need Freedom to Find the Right School For Their Children,” Dec. 3, 2017), but the private school vouchers it peddles would take money from already underfunded schools and hurt hundreds of thousands of children. That’s a bad idea.
I’ve been a teacher for 29 years, and I have seen the best of what our public schools can offer: well trained, certified educators who teach our children how to learn and grow; counselors who help students make tough choices; and caring staff who welcome families into schools.
Public schools with adequate resources and enough well-trained teachers to support small class sizes are the cornerstones of our communities. They inspire students’ natural curiosity and teach our kids to aspire toward a great future. Every child deserves that.
Instead of taking money out of public schools, we should invest in them to make schools better. We should be reducing class sizes, improving teacher training and recruitment, and increasing parents’ involvement. Private school vouchers take funding away from public schools — where 90 percent of American kids get their education — and put that money into private schools. Those aren’t the values that I teach my kindergarteners.
Mississippi’s public schools were underfunded by $213 million this year. Our kids already have to get by with less than they deserve. Instead of giving public money to private schools, we should use it to make our public schools the best in the country.