Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Kipp Armstrong: We must work together to improve school funding

EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is responding to a second guest column by Deborah Keisch Polin and Tim Scott (“Let’s improve all public schools,” May 31) that challenged aspects of the charter school and school choice systems.

To the editor:

I disagree with the notion that charters and school choice are the reason for funding problems in public schools. The problem stems from woefully low funding of public schools. Until voters decide to reallocate resources and prioritize public school funding, we should look for solutions, rather than fight over the precious few dollars.

Parental choice in public school is law, and I believe it is parents would argue to reduce or eliminate options regarding the education of their children.

To return to the primary point of the guest column I co-authored with Susannah Howe: Instead of tearing down successful schools and fantasizing about making choice illegal, how about we come together with ideas to solve problems?

The lottery system is attacked by Polin and Scott as well as in several letters to the editor. How about we lift the 9 percent cap, which would eliminate the need for a lottery? (State law caps the number of charters that can operate in individual districts by limiting the amount a given district can spend on charter school tuition to 9 percent of the district’s annual net school spending.)

Letters and columns point to statistics regarding diversity. How about making transportation to any school guaranteed? This would allow any family to send children to any school.

How about we mandate dissemination of best practices among all public schools in a district? Certainly cost-saving, education-enhancing ideas are happening at every school.

Sharing resources rather than hostile competition can only help the students, and our community. There are many excellent examples of dissemination of practices and sharing resources happening locally and nationally. We should build on these examples.

Perhaps the most obvious answer: increased public school funding locally and nationally. I will support this notion by voting yes on the override proposal this month.

The outpouring of letters in the Gazette, as well as the front page reporting on this issue, speaks to its level of importance within our community.

We owe it to ourselves to take this discussion to the level of problem solving. I urge others more experienced and articulate than myself to add to this list of ideas.

Kipp Armstrong

Northampton

Legacy Comments1

Bravo, Kipp, for getting to the heart of the matter.

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