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An obituary for the american education system

Colby Perron, Staff Writer

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     The American education system passed away recently, having survived strong since 1902 when John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie established a system sending students to nine years of elementary education (including kindergarten) followed by four years of high school. The American education system was a flawed system but was still recognized for helping many individuals achieve a higher state of learning, no matter their race, religion, or financial background. It was an unbiased system catering towards every student.

    On February 7th, 2017, The American education system was found dead by the American people. With further research, foul play was the verdict, and a culprit was found. Her name, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education in President Donald Trump’s cabinet. A woman, whose inexperience with education, as well as her platform of reforming public schools to turn them for profit, was found guilty of the death of the school system.

    We, The Roar, condemn the pick of DeVos as the head of such an important department, especially one that impacts us as students and future student loan payers.

    First off, Mrs. DeVos is not, in any way, shape, or form, qualified for the position. Someone who devalues the education provided by public schools, preferring charter schools and other private, profit educational facilities. According to neaToday, “Devos fought for tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of public schools that divert taxpayer funds from public schools to private schools, to allow for-profit charter school corporations to operate with no accountability while being funded by taxpayers.”

    Mrs. Devos has not only attempted to pull funds from public schooling, but has led efforts to privatize them completely. According to neaToday, “Since 2009, DeVos has served as chair of the American Federation of Children (AFC), an organization that has aggressively led efforts to privatize public education through vouchers. Since 2007, AFC has spent nearly $13.5 million on its pro-voucher efforts, with much of that money coming from DeVos.” Not only has she had no experience in any form of education, as far as we are concerned, DeVos is only in the position due to how much she has invested in this initiative. Essentially, she is part of a system known as pay-for-play politics, where she spends enough money to be put into the position.

    Of course, not everything about private schooling is wrong. In fact, two of our own writers completed their pre-high school grades in a private school before moving on. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a grand total of 50.4 million students are currently attending public schools for the 2016-2017 school year. Many of these students come from low-income homes. In fact, according to The Southern Education Foundation, around 51% of students attending public school qualified for the federal free and reduced lunch program, leading to an estimated 25,704,000 students that are living in some form of poverty. What good is it doing by taking this number of students and essentially telling them they are not worth an education if they can’t afford it?

     How are any children not worth an education? Perhaps that’s not the goal of this system of “School Choice, but really, that is the end result. Privatizing public school and turning it for-profit takes over half of the nation’s children out of eligibility for education because they are financially not able to attend. If America’s goal is to be “Made Great Again,” why backpedal by allowing DeVos to cripple and cut the head off of a system that is at least allowing everyone an equal opportunity at an education? We need to fix our public school systems, feature a new curriculum teaching important things such as life skills and environmental protection, but instead, we decide to lay the system to rest.

     This death is a devastating blow to all students, no matter political beliefs, religion, or financial status. Devaluing the importance of public schooling and placing it in the hands of a woman who, herself, destroys the key purpose of public schooling is what put us into this mess. We cannot allow this death to be final, we must fight, cry out and make a statement and perhaps, one day, we will once again see the Public School System walking again, and eventually, perhaps it’ll be stronger than ever, but for now, all we can do is make our voices heard.

     While we mourn the loss of a system that once allowed equality to be present, education does not have to have died in vain. Let your senators know you are not going to stand for this and to continue fighting for the rights of students, and never trust a woman who devalues education any more than you’d trust a grizzly bear entering a school building.

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
An obituary for the american education system