by Stephen Assenmacher
To the Editor:
High on opinion and very short on facts. That is the best way to describe the March 18, 2021 letters to the editor, both by the same person, that appeared in the Douglas County Herald. The facts are that Public Education has been doing a good job of educating our children. This is especially true in our rural schools and the Ava Public Schools are no exception.
Voucher and “Scholarship Tax Credit Programs” in the states where they have been instituted have not increased students’ test scores. In states where all student are required to take the same standardized test there have been no demonstrable difference in overall test scores. In fact in poorer urban communities, the public schools have out preformed the majority of charter schools in the same communities based on standardized test scores.
The federal government does not control your public schools. Responsibility for education is a state and local effort. Our public schools receive only about 10% of their funding from the federal government. That amount of money does increase for communities that are in need. Most of the federal money is directed to remedial education, for special needs education and school lunch programs.
Yes indeed there are requirements when a district receives federal funds. They must account for how the money is spent through a yearly audit. They are not allowed to discriminate. They must educate all students to the best of that student’s ability regardless of any handicap that the student may have. There are no such requirement for non-public schools. They may accept or reject any student they wish.
The Federal Department of Education does not dictate curriculum. Curriculum is a local and state decision. If you want to see what is being taught in the Ava Schools or in your local public schools please make an appointment and they will be happy to show you. Take the time to attend a Board of Education meeting. All Board of Education meetings are open to the public.
“Scholarship Tax Credit Programs” are just another way to try and sneak in a voucher system. When put to a public vote voucher programs have been routinely rejected time after time. Why? Because they draw much needed money from public schools that by law are required to serve all student. “Scholarship Tax Credit Programs” are just another attempt to redirect public funds to private education where there is no public accountability.
Stephen Assenmacher has been an educator for 36 years.