J. ROBERTS: Politicians need to get out of education’s way

To the Editor:

Now that Michigan’s public schools have invested three years (and considerable expense) in efforts to get on board with a national “common core” curriculum, I see that our legislators, in their infinite wisdom, are considering withholding further funding from that endeavor.

Gosh, should people really wonder why public school educators are sometimes a bit “reserved” when it comes to embracing each new “latest and greatest” top-down mandate from government?

For some reason, politicians seem to be able to leave “how to coach football” to the football coaches, and “how to train new fast food workers” to fast food outlet managers, but they just can’t leave “how to educate children” alone. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, they can’t even make up their minds, from one election cycle to the next, exactly how to interfere.

They do spend a lot of time waxing poetic about the wonderful days when America had the best education system in the world, when students emerged from our high schools and colleges ready and able to compete with anyone. Yes, those were great days alright, and not just for students. Our schools were, almost universally, fully-funded institutions offering not just “the basics,” but visual arts, vocal and instrumental music, a full range of industrial arts, numerous foreign languages, school social workers, and so on. There was even a nurse in most schools. Most importantly, everybody seemed to know what the mission was.

And how did politicians interact with public education back in those “good old days?” They passed adequate school budget appropriations bills and got out of the way.

J Roberts
Big Rapids

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