School Board Election: Trend Toward Privatization

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 10/23/2012 - 01:43

There are four candidates running for two open six-year terms on the boards. Smita Nagpal, Diane Friese, Karen Delhey and Paul Hynek will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.  The candidates have paired off to run as teams, with Nagpal and Friese running as one team and Delhey and Hynek running as the other. Voters, however, are free to choose any two they wish.

See the candidates side-to-side when the Saline High School student group Students Reinvesting In a Valuable Education (STRIVE) hosts a candidates forum at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 25 at Saline Middle School.

Here is today's question:

As stewards of the school district, do you believe in taxpayer funded public education? Should districts fight the trend toward privatization? Or embrace it? 

Karen Delhey

I believe in the individual choice of the parent as to what is the best education for their child…whether it’s public, private, charter, or homeschooling. Yes I support public education because 90% of our kids will be educated through the public education system. But I also believe that competition will always breed stronger outcomes.

Paul Hynek

I do believe in taxpayer funded public education. Today, more than ever we need to have highly educated students prepared to meet any challenge of post high school graduation. The bigger issue in the last several years is the allocation and application of tax payer funds. Are the taxpayers receiving the best value for their investment? What are the checks and balances, the review points? Is tight local control better, or do we combine districts? More so, federal and state laws are dictating curriculum, testing standards, etc. The Board and the district need to be fully accountable and completely transparent to the tax payers. Privatization is one option among many that should always be explored when looking at the overall budget. Generally speaking, privatization causes some immediate savings, but history shows that on a long term basis sometimes those savings don’t always hold up. 

Smita Nagpal

The Founding Fathers understood the importance of having an educated public & the history of education in the United States is one of expanding educational opportunity. Moreover, research shows that communities still highly value and support their local schools and in turn, public schools provide a focal point for community growth and pride. Although there is much work to be done, public education is doing some things right. For instance, math, civics, and reading scores, as well as graduation rates have improved over the last decade. Recently, common core standards have been defined and adopted in 46 states. Moreover, there is no evidence that charter schools perform any better than public schools. A 2009 Stanford study showed that while 17% of charter schools outperformed their public school equivalents, 37% of charters performed worse than their regular local schools, and the rest were about the same. 

In my view districts must fight for taxpayer funded public education. It doesn’t make sense to spread the dollars to different types of schools, charter or private, when the public schools we have are showing results and improving. When looking at the trend toward privatization, we must ask the question – why are we doing this and who does it benefit? 

Diane Friese

Public education is at the historical the root of our society. As citizens it is our duty to support strong social programs. We have lost so much local control of our public schools. I understand the advantages and disadvantages of government mandates, but fear we have lost the ability to innovate and to instill a love of learning in our students.

It was quite inspirational to sit in the one room school house and to listen to former students of that very school expound on their experience. We need to hold on to our values with both hands while reaching out to others.

Private education can be exclusionary, and that is not what the American Public School System is about.

Previous Questions

Saline School Board Election: Why Do You Want to Serve?

Saline School Board Election: Guiding Beliefs and Principles

Saline School Board Election: Creation of FSAS Director

Saline School Board Election: Board/Administration Relations

Saline School Board Election: Support for a Bond Proposal?

Saline School Board Election: Class Sizes

Saline School Board Election: Athletics Fees

Saline School Board Election: Run Schools Like a Business?

Saline Board of Education: Online Learning

 

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Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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