Public schools are overcrowded. Florida’s public schools are routinely rated among the bottom 10 states in the nation in performance.
Why is this a problem? Children, as the cliché accurately says, are the future. This is a fact. Providing them with a solid foundation with which to begin their lives is critical, no matter what that path may be. Currently, we have not been giving them the opportunities for learning and growth that are needed.
The Solution: More choices, period. There are multitudes of private and charter schools available. These can be freer to innovate and mold students as well as being better funded than the 100 percent public schools. Charter schools have been growing and becoming more and more popular, and they can sometimes obtain alternative funding, depending on the group operating the school. Private schools, however, are completely independent from the government and can cost quite a bit of money to attend. Studies should be done on the idea of utilizing the existing Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (funded by the Florida Lottery) to help subsidize families who have high performing children but cannot afford to choose an option other than public schools, similar to the current Bright Futures Scholarship program, but on a secondary-school level in lieu of only higher education. This is one example, not necessarily the only option.
On top of giving families additional choices without overburdening them, the public-school system should receive a larger portion of funds from the available tax revenue. On a broader level, the administrative waste seen in tax spending needs to be culled and money needs to be spent more wisely, not wasted in the broken system of maintaining budgets for next year (see “Government Budgets,” above). Once we can straighten out that system and reward frugality in the government, then we can provide the required funding to the schools for equipment, educator salaries, maintenance, and overall new facilities to combat the ever-growing population in the state of Florida. Once the waste within spending on all levels is realized, additional funds become available without increasing taxation, and even potentially while decreasing taxation.
Quick Takeaway: More choices are needed in our school systems. This will help to lessen the burden on the public option and will allow for better-funded schools and programs.