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Frank Swift: Cut students to cut budget gap?

To the editor:

In light of the budget gap afflicting our beloved city, I propose a simple, moderate solution to provide the city with the money to maintain all public services to their current extent.

Our school system is filled with students upon students in an attempt to educate all of them. But the proposed cuts of teachers to balance the budget damage the level and scope of material that can be taught to our students. Furthermore, these cuts bump up class sizes, making it harder for teachers to teach effectively. Luckily, there is an easy solution to save our educational standards and ensure that no material is underserved: cut students.

Our school system has more students than it can afford to teach well; why try to teach all of them?

Why not limit admission to our schools to, say, three-quarters of the current student body? With that downsizing, we could cut an entire elementary school and its staff with no ill effects, allowing us to keep all of our current programming: from the arts to our rigorous academics.

Perhaps we could conduct admission with a lottery, or with a system that judges students on their potential to determine whether or not they “make the cut.” Either system could work to narrow down the student body to a group small enough that we can afford to teach them well without putting any additional strain on our own pocketbooks.

After all, isn’t it better to teach some students well than to teach all of them poorly? If we believe that teaching all of our students well isn’t worth additional taxation, then the solution is not to teach them all poorly, but to maintain our current standard of education, even if that means not teaching everyone.

Frank Swift


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