Donald Trump has recently spoken about education and though what he said wasn’t unexpected or surprising, like many of his speeches, it had the same coded language and barely masked intentions that made my skin crawl.
I am a retired teacher and have been a member of the Bellefonte Area school board for more than eight years. None of my experience matches Trump’s description of “government” schools run by a large, greedy bureaucracy.
Our district is quite typical for Pennsylvania: 63.8 percent of our revenue comes from our district, 35 percent from the state and 1.2 percent from the federal government. We struggle with the balance between a quality education for our children and property taxes our residents can afford.
Trump’s young son attends a fine school in Manhattan. It costs nearly $40,000 a year to attend, has only 5.7 teachers per student, and claims to have the highest paid teachers in the city. In Bellefonte, we can spend about $16,000 per student. We also provide very small classes for children with severe emotional and developmental needs that few private schools provide. Only public education is for everyone.
Painting our schools as “government schools” run by a distant bureaucracy is yet another effort to discredit public education. We board members are not distant, nor are we lazy employees; we are unpaid volunteers and our schools are community schools. Our school administrations and teachers serve their communities and not those who are truly greedy: profit-making corporate charter school companies.
Hope Boylston, Bellefonte