Letter | Our kids deserve better

When I was growing up, my father always said "right or wrong, the teacher is always right." He was an immigrant as a child, coming from Eastern Europe, where there was not always school. He and my mother both did not have the best education, but they understood that education and learning were the keys to a better life. They weren't big readers, but they were always giving me books. And they respected my teachers, even the ones who were a little strange. What my dad meant by his motto was that education was a gift, and that we will not always like everything about a gift, but we will respect it.

Today, we wonder about what we think is "the failure" of education. Is it failing? We see students from our community excelling, locally, statewide and nationally. How are they successful? I would be willing to bet they live in homes where teachers and learning are respected and supported. Families who expect their children to be responsible for their own behavior, not push blame on others, bully, or not do their work. Kids learn from what they see you do – not what you say.

The world is changing – good jobs are more and more depending on education and skills. Those who do not have an education and skills will fall behind. That is true. And beyond that, education opens so many doors of opportunity for just the enjoyment of life as well. Our parents understood that, and theirs did, but they could not always afford it. Every industrialized country on the planet invests in education. They know they have to have learning to compete in the world. Simple. Some of the financial shortfalls of our state are not because of dollars spent on education. But some think we should take money from education to fix the problem. Or privatize education with a voucher system, a dangerous idea. Education takes big hits in state budgets. But our kids, our communities, deserve better.Our teachers are not just fighting for more money, they are fighting for more for your kids. Better for your kids. All the kids – lets keep public education public please.

I am hoping this community stands behind its teachers and schools and shows its respect for the education their kids deserve, and lets its state representatives know it. The people to whom you entrust your most precious gift, your children, should not be understaffed, underfunded, and not respected.