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The Tentacle


January 30, 2017

Education No Longer ‘For the Children’

Cindy A. Rose

While Frederick Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Alban is asking  taxpayers to spend another $60 million to bring the teachers’ salary pay scale up to speed, she’s also asking students to pay $30 per semester for the use of the brand new Chromebooks.

 

If Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) couldn’t afford to fully fund these Chromebooks, why on earth, did they purchase them in the first place? Isn’t that like buying a car knowing that you can’t afford the gasoline and maintenance?

 

Board of Education President Brad Young confirmed that every dollar being requested for the new budget is going to go to salaries and wages.

 

Whether you are for or against the increase in technology at the expense of human interaction, isn’t my concern in this column. The concern is this: Why is FCPS busy trying to scrape every dollar it can to fund adult needs but asking parents to pay multiple fees for the privilege of their children being able to fully participate in their own education.

 

Since when did “free” public education cease being “free,” at least for the student?

 

Some of the fees students are being asked to pay include: sports, technology Use, Band, Lab, school trips, even calculator rentals.

 

It seems every year, we are asked to fund more and more for our children’s needs, while FCPS fights for funding for the adults. While they are asking students to fund more in some areas, they are removing incentives and enjoyment of education in others.

 

I recently heard, but have not confirmed, that the yearly band trips to Hershey Park, where the students go to play and receive their final grade, has been changed. The students, who pay for this out of their own pockets, can continue to go and play, however, they may no longer stay at the park and enjoy the rides as a reward for a job well done.  Again, this is fully student funded.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily have problem paying a small fee when necessary. I don’t expect FCPS to pay for my daughter to ride the rides at Hershey Park. However, I have a huge problem paying for fees at all when FCPS isn’t even trying to fight for funding for “students.”

 

It’s no wonder Betsy DeVos is the new presidential pick for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. DeVos is for school “choice.” To her, choice means the ability to go to whatever school you desire based on the school’s ability to meet your and your child’s needs.

 

If “choice” means the students will come first, my voice as a parent will be heard, that tuition covers all costs, and that curriculum and standards are locally written, I am all in.

 

Frederick County has seen a 150% increase in homeschooling since 2007. From roughly 1,700 students in 2007, to over 4,000 last year. Frederick County Public Schools receives roughly $13,000 per student in Maintenance of Effort (the state requirement that the county fund at the same level this year as last year on a per student basis). We have $52,000,000 in unobtainable funding that could be going into public education if only it offered a better, more inspiring, more responsive product.

 

The time for school vouchers has come. Public schools have grown arrogant and greedy. What started out as a service to the states’ children to provide them with a valuable education, has turned into an entitlement kept in place for the employment of adults.

 

It’s everything but “for the children.”

 

claudefan@aol.com

 



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