We need better schools not more spending

Strong schools, strong community. I doubt anyone can argue schools are an integral part of the strength of a community. The argument arises from how to achieve such a worthy goal.

The United States already spends more per student than any other industrialized country on the planet, yet we barely rank in the top 20 as far as the academic achievement.

Our schools are always asking for more money yet they never tell us how that additional money is going to improve the results. Why do all the other countries seem to get more for their education dollar?

Why do our schools graduate students who do not possess the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic? I have been in higher education for over thirty years and all we ask of an incoming freshman is that they understand what they read; can speak and write the English language correctly; and do basic math. Too often, incoming students are required to sit in remedial non-credit classes to teach them what they didn’t learn in public school and prepare them for college level course work.

To prove my point, have you ever thrown a young cashier a curveball and watch them melt down? For example, they owe you 12 cents in change and you give them an additional 13 cents. They cannot do the basic math to calculate they now owe you a quarter. The product of our schools never acquired the basic math, logic — and problem solving skills to simply make change. No student should graduate grade school, much less high school, without these basic skills. Yet they walk among us.

Recently, West Branch invested in iPads for some students. Students don’t need to become even more dependent on electronics. Students get plenty of exposure to technology outside of school. Our schools need to teach them how to navigate life using their brains.

For decades, schools got along just fine without all of these fancy teaching aids and technology. The students coming out of that environment were better prepared to be contributing members of society than today’s students and seem to have no trouble adapting to the technological world we live in.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the impact of the teachers’ unions. How do you feel about your tax dollars helping to finance the very forces that are attempting to destroy the fabric of our country? Over 95 percent of the teachers’ unions contributions go to progressive socialists causes. They have become little more than a money laundering operation channeling taxpayer dollars — your dollars — to the left. Education has not gotten better with the ascent of teachers’ union power. It has gotten worse.

The schools don’t need more money to teach the students the skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. We must end this mindset that throwing more money at a problem is the only way to fix it. Stronger schools yes! But there are many improvements that can be implemented that do not require additional funding and getting back to teaching the basics is a good start.

Area resident Jack Loesch is a longtime teacher at the University of Akron whose columns appear periodically in the Salem News. Read his website at www.TorchnFork.info. He may be reached at: TorchNFork@frontier.com

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