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Opinion Letters The death of public schools

The trend is clear. Republicans at all levels want to privatize our public schools. Why would they want to do this, and how is it being done?

A tuition-free basic education for all, publicly accountable and locally run, is a basic American right. Our public school system is the great leveler. Anyone, no matter the circumstances of their birth, may have a shot at the American Dream. To do this, a public school system must accept all who live in its jurisdiction and teach a core curriculum which prepares each student for life in our diverse society.

The very nature of tax funded, “public” schools requires that we must teach all who come including the disabled, minorities, and foreign language students. They can't be run at a profit. They are not businesses. Their purpose is to educate students, not to make money. As are fire departments or the military, they are unique government functions. And, this is the reason conservatives hate them.

Of course, it is possible to make a profit educating primary students. If one is very selective in who is taught, and then limit the curriculum, the system becomes profitable. This is especially the case if we pay teachers less.

A prominent Tea Party leader recently said that public schools are "funded with wealth taken coercively, in a manner more like Nazis, communists and Islamists.” In other words, don't take my money to educate your child.

Many conservatives believe that "Christian Values” should be part of every curriculum. Because public schools, by law, can't promote one religion over another, they want their own schools to indoctrinate their children in their own peculiar beliefs.

Teacher unions are particularly evil, and they exist in great numbers in public schools. Personally I don't know a single teacher who went into teaching to make money, but just the thought of any organized work force is enough to make most conservatives red with rage.

The easiest way to destroy public schools it to starve them to death. The current N.C. Republican budget has cut 10,807 education jobs. Additionally, last week a bill was filed in the Legislature that would allow a corporation to get a tax credit for their entire tax debt if they make an equivalent donation to a private school of their choice. This, in effect, would be to drain $137 million from N.C. public schools.

Just this year in Macon County, our schools have to give money back to the State according to the Republican smoke and mirrors education budget. It looks like next year’s Republican budget is even worse for our schools.

No matter what the stated reason for cutting education budgets, adding funding for charter schools, promoting private schools, or attacking teacher unions, these are simply covers for the real goal of Conservative Republicans. Get rid of those evil public schools that have been a pillar of American Society and the envy of the world.

Louis Vitale — Franklin, N.C.


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