Education for the Masses

Nicole RjerNicole Rejer is a freshman psychology major.

According to a 2-1 decision made by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, California’s pathetic school funding level doesn’t violate students’ constitutional right to a quality education. That’s because no such right exists. The suit that brought on this decision was filed by school boards and administrators, California Teachers Association and State PTA, and nine different school districts (including San Francisco’s) in an effort to improve the current public school system. As of now, California falls behind almost every other state in per-student spending, staffing, and student achievement–47th, according to an SFGate article.

So why does public education in California not include a standard of any particular level of funding or even educational quality? As a strong believer in the public school system, I think that a quality education should be provided; it’s just good public policy. Education is a fundamental right and California’s 6 million public school students deserve an education in order to improve their lives. A quality education that allows a student to develop holistically in an environment where they feel cared for and supported in their academic endeavors can open up a multitude of doors in the student’s future. College becomes an attainable goal, jobs begin to multiply in availability, and the student is educated, informed about global and national policies, while having developed the critical skills necessary in order to communicate effectively with others and solve real-world problems.

As a passionate future educator, I cannot begin to imagine a world where education is not valued, but this seems to be a new reality. Whenever the government needs to make budget cuts, schools suffer the most. The teaching profession has become a joke in our society. I cannot tell you the times I have announced that I want to be an elementary school teacher only to receive questions like “Why?” or “Have you seen the recent salaries?” The worst remark:You better marry rich.” Newsflash: Educators are not in this profession for the money–or lack thereof. Teaching is one of the hardest things to do, and every good teacher chooses this career because he or she values education and sees that it is the next generation will need a culturally relevant, responsive, and authentic educational experience in order to not only survive, but thrive and continue making the world a better place to live in. There should be no such thing as an education that isn’t of the best quality … and if we provide an education that is anything less than top-notch, we are doing our children, and the future of this state, a great disservice.

In a world where college is becoming an increasingly inaccessible option, the California public school system cannot continue to fail its younger students. California is home to some of the most innovative technology, medical centers, higher education institutions, and businesses in the entire nation, and the government and courts need to realize that the only way to keep California this way is by educating the next generation. Every child, no matter where they come from, what their story is, or where they live has the right to a strong education that will prepare them for higher education if they chose, and for the real world. Education has been highly valued by our society since its inception , and I don’t see any reason why we should stop valuing something that can change the world for the better.

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