Every child deserves a world class education. Their zip code shouldn’t prevent that.
I come from a family of public school teachers. Elementary Schools. High Schools. Alternative Schools. Title One Schools. You name it, they’ve taught it. And the two universal truths I’ve come to know are this: 1) teachers are tirelessly dedicated to helping their students succeed, and 2) our educational system all too often works directly against this goal.
From overcrowded classrooms where students too easily fall behind to underpaid teachers who too often dig into their own pockets for basic school supplies, it’s clear that something is very wrong with our K-12 educational system. Things are even worse in rural areas where lower property taxes lead to even fewer resources. There, counselors and computers aren’t just luxuries, they’re often unheard of. A child’s geography should not determine their destiny.
As for secondary education, the news isn’t much better. College costs are skyrocketing, burying students in an avalanche of debt. And vocational and technical schools are being squeezed at the margins at a time when the challenges of science, technology, and climate change suggest we need them now more than ever. Something’s got to change.
Georgia Can’t Wait Solution: Schools are the cornerstones of our communities and we should treat them as such. The federal government should partner with states to ensure that all schools have adequate funding, regardless of their location. Restrictions on grants should be eased so rural schools have the freedom to spend the money on what they actually need, not what the government tells them they need.
In addition, the federal government should commit to providing every child in public school with breakfast and lunch — for free. One in six children in America don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Schools go through more food on Monday than any other day of the week. Think about that for a second. Are you angry? Good. Georgia. Can’t. Wait.
As for secondary education, college should be free and student loan debt should be forgiven. The next generation will have to solve issues of automation stealing jobs and climate change stealing lives, all while trying to rebuild a country wrecked by corruption. The least we can do is make sure they’re not buried under a mountain of student debt. We need them to pursue work that benefits the public good, not chase down paychecks to pay off predatory lenders.