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December 10, 2018

10/16/2018 9:20:00 AM
Do we value our children?

Dear Editor;
I have often expressed and heard from others that our most valuable assets are our children. They are our future, our hope and our pride. But do we really value our children? Do our actions and behaviors match this expressed feeling? I believe as a nation and a state the evidence shows the contrary.
School shootings have not stopped. FBI records tally 50 mass murders or attempted mass murders at a school since Columbine in 1999. There has been little political will to even begin to address this issue.
School funding on a national scale has been for nearly a decade in a downward trend. Wisconsin has cut state general funding for K-12 schools by 12.7% between 2008 and 2016 after adjusting for inflation*. The Wisconsin K-12, 2017-19 education budget provides an increase in funding. However, it is negated by a property tax cut and does not raise the state-imposed revenue cap. The result is that most school districts will be forced to cut taxes by the same amount of the increase they receive in general state aid**. This makes it very difficult to improve teacher quality, provide professional teacher training, teacher mentoring, develop and improve a curriculum, and keep class sizes small.
In my opinion if we really valued our children we would provide safe environments, improve pre-K programming along with access to it, put a priority on training and mentoring our teachers, and make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible to more. In short, we would make our public schools a top priority!
Jeff Wright is uniquely qualified to advocate for public schools, serving as Assistant Superintendent in the Sauk Prairie public schools. Kriss Marion has built her campaign around providing rural areas the support they need to prosper. And Tony Evers as State Superintendent of Schools has fully endorsed a fairer approach to funding rural schools. These are candidates who will respect our most valuable assets -- our children.
* Source: Center on Budget and Policy Analysis; Wisconsin Budget Project
** Source: A Summary of the Final 2017-19 Budget for K-12 Education, Wisconsin Budget Project

Marcia Jewell

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