John Kramer: Public education in Grand County deserves support
To the Editor:
In the aftermath of the defeat of Proposition 103, I feel compelled to respond to those celebrating its demise and to defend public education in Grand County.
It didn’t seem to me that modest increases in the income tax and sales tax rates were unreasonable given that the current system of funding education only leads to further widening of the opportunity gap in our country where wealthy school districts can afford to increase property taxes to provide additional revenue for the best schools and teachers. Of course no one likes to pay more taxes.
However, part of the rationale for the defeat of Proposition 103 seemed to be that our schools don’t deserve any more money because the teachers and administrators are overpaid, underworked, unmotivated and, according to one writer, enjoy spending money on “garbage” that has no educational value. That has not been my experience.
Although my children are grown and my oldest grandchildren are in college, I have tried to become involved in the Grand County schools through the Reading Buddy Program and as a judge at the science fairs. Without exception, what I have encountered are bright, engaged students and dedicated teachers who know their subject matter. I was particularly impressed with the science projects when I was a judge last year at West Grand High School.
I used to judge science fairs when I worked as an engineer at a research laboratory in suburban Chicago and I can attest to the fact that the quality of the education is just as good here. However, academic excellence is only possible if the schools receive our support, not just from the parents who have children enrolled in them, but from the rest of us who will rely on this generation to lead our country someday and, by the way, pay for our Social Security and Medicare. It is ironic that many of the same people who bemoan the fact that we are leaving our children and grandchildren with a huge national debt don’t seem at all worried that we are leaving them with a substandard education in an increasingly competitive world.
The United States currently ranks approximately 20th in the world in science and mathematics literacy by 15-year-olds and we seem to be sinking like a rock as anti-science, experts-always-lie, celebrate superstition and ignorant beliefs become increasingly fashionable.
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.