Letters to the Editor

School priorities

June 24, 2009


To the editor:

Loading social programs onto our schools has become critically burdensome to the goals of academic education. In Baldwin City, the school board should be commended for cutting the school resource officer while saving the jobs of several teachers. Instead, they’ve been criticized in a Baldwin City Signal editorial. While valid points were made in defending the need for an SRO, the question is whether the goals of crime prevention should be handled within the scope of our schools, or within the scope of city-provided protection.

While we clamor for “Change!” in the throes of an economic meltdown, let’s begin by appropriately aligning public expenditures. What expenditures are legitimate for schools? That which advances children’s abilities to communicate effectively, calculate accurately, think critically and apply thought processes to problem-solving. The purpose of an SRO is to aid crime prevention and law enforcement. No doubt, SROs are effective, but the line should be clearly drawn that an SRO is an adjunct of the police department, not an educator. That line should be drawn by whose budget funds the position.

It’s easy to see why we’ve allowed our public schools to stretch far outside the boundaries of true education. Social programs have more difficulty gaining taxpayers’ approval. As we talk about sustainability, how sustainable is it to continue watering down real education by allocating scarce resources to pseudo-educational social agendas? The cost in global competitiveness is already clearly seen as U.S. citizens fall behind while we focus on social conditioning over academics.


notajayhawk 9 years ago

Just out of curiosity, Nancy, how do you feel about a significant amount of the recently passed bond issue being spent on athletic fields for the Baldwin schools?

mom_of_three 9 years ago

And if the students feel safer studying in an environment where the SRO is available during school hours means nothing because he doesn't provide for their "education?"

Music_Girl 9 years ago

Though I value physical education in school, in a time of economic downturn and "tight budgets", I think sports should be the first place to cut expenses. Is it really going to hurt to cut out a few basketball games per season per team? I understand that sports has it's benefits such as exercise and team work, etc but doing a group project in English class also promotes team work and physical education classes such as weight lifting are exercise. I don't think schools should be pouring money into football fields and sports equipment when teachers are underpaid, textbooks are outdated and lab equipment is falling apart. Seems our priorities have gotten messed up.

mom_of_three 9 years ago

Arts are usually the first thing to be cut in schools. And kids in Lawrence pay to play anyway, which obviously does not cover all expenses.
And I don't think kids learn the same type of teamwork doing an english project as they would on a sports team.

imastinker 9 years ago

Momofthree - I have three kids too - all young. I can't agree with you on this though. Sports do have good benefits, but fees do not cover all the expenses. Kids now even get out of school to play sports. Enrolling them in sports and giving time to study are our responsibilities, not the schools.

dandelion 9 years ago

And I don't think kids learn the same type of teamwork doing an english project as they would on a sports team.

The problem is, especially in a large school, there is only a small percentage of students who are involved in sports. Of course, for someplace like Baldwin, more students have to be involved. So a team project in English or art would be very beneficial to students. I don't agree that the social service agencies shouldn't be in school. They provide a good service, but I do agree that they shouldn't come out of the school budget. The community and families are responsible for the well being of the children, and schools should be only for learning, but parents have abdicated a lot of things. They want to be their children's buddies, not parents. So the schools have to teach them how to behave. I use to think I'd rather have my friends parents who never set a curfew, and didn't care about his grades. I thought my parent's were mean. But my parents were always there to help with homework and teach me how to behave. Teachers appreciated the fact that I already knew how to behave, they didn't have to teach me. I thank my parents all the time now, and plan on raising my kids the same way, when I finally have some (good sex education was a good strong point in my family too, including contraceptive info).

Bob Hechlor 8 years, 11 months ago

Ms Rinehart is guilty of what many have done over the last number of years. She lumps things into categories and then dismisses them without actually thinking. Clearly in this case, her thought is that "social programs" are all bad and therefore not necessary. I would assume she is a republican. This is typical of republican think. It is simple minded and lacks careful analysis. She uses "social programs" as a perjorative. In fact, some social programs can make learning possible. Some can actually save money. Therefore, wholesale elimination of programs have often proved to be misguided and only thrust us back into the same problems we had before the programs. Social programs have mostly developed to fill a need that was not being addressed. While you may want these needs addressed in some other way, it has already been demonstrated that other ways did not materialize. As far as what budget money comes from, nowadays, all budgets are requiring life support and will until jobs and the economy are reinvigorated.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.