Making the Case to Support Education

February 26, 2013

Our schools are given the greatest responsibility and highest honor of educating our youth.   Yet, despite the enormity of this task, our schools exist in an environment filled with uncertainty.  External influences threaten their existence, yet quality schools play a vital role in our community’s status and the well-being of our youth.

Like so many places around the country, Teton Valley is beginning to recover from economic decline, yet still feeling the effects of it. In such an environment, in which personal budgets are already tight, it becomes even more essential for citizens to support a supplemental levy. A web search brought me to a great article from the Nebraska State Education Association (education.com), “Top 10 Reasons to Support Education” that lays out a simple and straightforward argument that makes it clear public education is a worthy investment for public funds.  To me, this “Top 10 List” demonstrates voting for strong schools, despite tight personal budgets, represents a wise use of tax dollar funds.  A vote for quality education and your support is not only an investment in our community’s future, but in the nation’s.  Your support will ease the financial uncertainty and close the funding gaps that exist and will allow our schools to continue providing quality educational opportunities and programs that may not be otherwise possible.

10. An educated population is the cornerstone of democracy. This nation’s well-being depends on the decisions of its educated and informed citizens.

9. Education reduces costs to taxpayers. For every dollar spent to keep a child in school, the future costs of welfare, prison, and intervention services are reduced. Research shows that it costs less to educate a child now than to support a teenage parent or a repeat offender in the future. Education monies help to secure the future of all citizens.

8. Public schools are the only schools that must meet the needs of all students. They do not turn children or families away. Public schools serve children with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities, those who are extremely gifted and those who are learning challenged, right along with children without special needs.

7. Public schools foster interactions and understanding among people of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

6. “Education is the best provision for old age”– Aristotle. The future support of our aging population depends on strong public schools. In 1954, there were 17 workers to pay the Social Security cost for each retiree. By 1995, there will be only three for each retiree. It is likely that the productivity of these three workers per retiree will depend on the strength of our public school systems.

5. More than 95 percent of our future jobs will require at least a high school education. There is no question about the need for an educated work force.

4. The nation pays a high price for poorly educated workers. When retraining and remediation are needed to prepare a worker to do even simple tasks, the cost is paid by both employers and consumers. This process raises the price of American products and makes it more difficult for this nation to compete in the world marketplace.

3. The cost of dropouts affects us all. This nation loses more than $240 billion per year in earnings and taxes that dropouts would have generated over their lifetimes. Well-supported public schools can engage all students in learning and graduate productive and competent citizens.

2. Children are our nation’s future. Their development affects all of us. Good education is not inexpensive, but ignorance costs far more.

And the Number One reason to support public education. . .

1. Public education is a worthy investment for public funds. We can invest in our community’s youth now, or we can pay later.

Diane Temple is the Teton Valley Education Foundation Executive Director.  Teton Valley Education Foundation is non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to enhancing the educational experience of students in Teton Valley and increasing the opportunity for excellence in our public schools. To find out more about the Teton Valley Education Foundation, visit www.tetoneducation.comor email inquiries to executivedirector@tetoneducation.com.