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EDUCATION: Of dollars and sense

| December 17, 2010 6:37 AM

It is always a privilege to read letters by Mike Ruskovich and to see his smiling face. And I do appreciate his perception. It is just that I come from a little different perspective.

First off, I hold a master's degree. The time I spent in college was beneficial because there I learned the mechanics of a system essentially controlled by the left.

But, the things that generally put food on my table were learned in a different school, one that did not require a classroom.

I think there is some truth to what Mr. Ruskovich says about the local folk not appreciating public education. But that does not mean they do not value education, because they do.

We value good solid quality education because education is the cornerstone of our Republic and the progress that we have made as a nation. Since education is the process whereby one generation passes on its culture to the next it is obvious that quality education is essential.

However, it is difficult to equate dollars spent on education with quality. In fact a serious Google search will demonstrate that in most cases the more money spent on education the lower the quality.

One has to reflect on the fact that in Idaho we spend about 2/3 of our budget on education, and of that budget most of it goes for teacher's salaries. So, rather than simply saying: "It's for the children" we ought to say: "It's for the teachers."

Now, I taught and I believe there is nothing more valuable than an exceptional teacher who loves her profession and who loves children. But, there is simply no way that you can balance a budget without cutting education, since it is the biggest item in that budget.

Now, a "... general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools" can take many forms. All that is required for a quality education is a gifted teacher, a safe learning environment, quality learning materials and a motivated student. Most teachers will tell you that they spent several years taking education courses many of which were simply redundant. I have personally taught motivated mothers a system of education in just one week and placed them in a classroom where their students excelled.

Actually if we spent a little more time thinking about quality and less about cost, our educational system would improve greatly. I would even suggest taking time to talk to folk in private schools, or even home schools, since our public schools and teacher's colleges are very resistant to change.

I personally believe that if we were to cut education to the bone then we would figure out what was really essential and thereby improve the education. Comments: jimhollingsworth@frontier.com

JIM HOLLINGSWORTH

Coeur d'Alene

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