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Time to rethink public education

Dear Editor,

At the risk of being labeled a heretic, I believe now is the opportune time to turn the page on our antiquated and costly template for public education in this state. When this health crisis ends, we will critique the government’s decision to shutter our public schools in favor of temporary cyberschooling and evaluate the effectiveness of that move. If it is proven in the final analysis that we can accomplish the goal of public education by way of the internet, rather than traditional brick-and-mortar schools, we must have an honest conversation about the establishment of a new, modern, and much less costly model of public education.

The catastrophic events we’ve endured over the past several months have turned life as we know it on its head. It seems nothing is the same as it was. However, one thing has remained constant, and we’ve seen clear evidence of that it in recent days. Despite the fact a large percentage of our population is suddenly out of work and the economy is in shambles, local school board directors are publicly clamoring for massive school property tax hikes so they can resume business as usual when their schools reopen in the fall.

There is no better time than the present to finally put an end to school property taxes as we know them. In spite of their best efforts over the years, our representatives in Harrisburg will never reach the milestone of true and equitable tax reform. But we now have an opportunity to at least reduce school taxes to a small fraction of what they’ve been.

If schoolchildren learn while at home, public schools no longer serve as taxpayer-funded day care centers and taxpayers no longer subsidize the $100K a year executives and “specialists” who never step into a classroom, much less teach. If schoolchildren learn while at home, taxpayers are freed from the costs associated with school transportation. And the long-suffering taxpayers, those who have been carrying the water for the public school system, will finally realize a respite from massive school property taxes and the insatiable appetite of school administrators for even more.

L. Ernie Foucault