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.