Educator responds to comments by Smoots
April 20, 2005 - To the editor:
As an educator for 40-plus years both in high school and junior college level teaching, I must respond to the comments made by the Smoot family in their efforts to de-feat the recent tax levy.
It disturbs me to see and hear people who expend so much energy and initiative into working against a tax increase that will ultimately make the area and the school system better.
Lindbergh gets high marks in the county as a well-managed, educationally sound dis-trict.
I have recently moved to south county from another county area, and I am greatly impressed by the support that Lindbergh schools generally get from the community.
My question to the Smoots and the group they head is: "How would you pay for education?"
Thus far, taxation is the method that has been chosen by all districts to support the school systems. In 1958, when I began teaching in north county, there was great talk about making one county district and distributing the funds equally among the districts.
That hasn't happened, but it is still on the table as an option after 40 years. Districts that do not have a large commercial base or industrial tax will find that the homeowner has to shoulder the burden.
However, we shouldn't consider a good education a burden.
What are we thinking when we think it is more important to protect our children from a few dollars in taxes vs. an education that will allow them to pursue careers that will help them pay the taxes.
I would rather see a group such as the Cit-izens' Association for Responsible Educa-tion use its energies to design and promote another method of paying for a child's education.
I agree that some districts have a top-heavy administration which could be re-duced. I cannot say whether that is necessarily true in Lindbergh's situation.
However, beyond that, we must remember that in order to get and keep quality teachers, we have to pay a competitive salary.
Weigh in also the cost of buses, gasoline, drivers, etc. Add in as well the beefed-up security needed in the world in which we live today.
Most of our schools are struggling today to provide a good education. Increased pressures from the federal government with the No Child Left Behind bill make meeting and keeping high standards more costly.
Specialized tutoring costs have risen for all districts so that children can come up to their grade levels.
My take is that unless you have walked in the shoes of an educator — and I know nothing about the members of the above-mentioned group — be realistic in the comments and the criticism hurled at those who are doing the best they can with the resources they have to meet the extraordinary needs of our children. We are in a fast-paced environment today educationally, and we are struggling to keep up on a daily basis.
Let's work together to find ways to im-prove our schools and their finances in-stead of working to diminish the good system that already exists.