Overcoming Obstacles to Consolidate Schools

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Running Head: CONSOLIDATING SCHOOLS

Overcoming Obstacles to Consolidate Schools
Lisa Ballerini
University of Michigan – Flint

Overcoming Obstacles to Consolidate Schools
If America's Schools are to meet the needs of the twenty first century, they must be reinvented. It is not enough to try to fix the schools; they must be reconstructed in both fundamental and radical ways. The school system must be restructured. The future of the American public school system is significant because the maintenance of an informed and productive citizenry is vital to the future of this country. Historically, Americans have strongly asserted the importance of public schools in a democracy and despite growing disdain for the perceived value of the school system, public schools remain central to democracy in the United States. History of Public Education

For more than a century, America's public schools have been an indispensable source of the country's strength. Public education has allowed citizens to become productive members of society by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary for the labor force. Schools prepare students to be literate, informed and reasoning citizens. According to Philip Schlechty, author of Schools for the twenty-first century, “Public schools are the ties that bind this pluralistic society into a nation” (Schlechty, 1990).

With the education system in serious trouble, education is becoming a more and more important political issue in this country. It seems that in every election no matter how big or small, education is always an important issue. Presidents claim to be the “the education president.” Politicians often promise more educational programs and more funding for schools, but in unfortunate contrast to their promises, policymakers seem to view spending money on schools as an irritating cost rather than an important investment.

Public School Funding
There is an undeniable gap between rich and poor schools in the United States. Why do such vast differences exist? Mostly because funding for public schools is tied to local property taxes ("How Schools Are Funded," 2006). If a school is in an affluent area with a lot of money, the local property taxes will be high. Higher property taxes translate into more funding for the school. States also give money to all public schools, so the rich schools get sizable funds from multiple places. A public school in a low socioeconomic status area will not be as lucky. Is the system fair? The answer you get depends on who you ask. Ask students of a poor district, and they will likely say that it is not. Distributing funds for education by state and not by county would help reduce some of these inequalities. But suburban taxpayers say it would be unfair to take their tax dollars and send them to students outside of the county. Some argue that if a county isn't willing to pay top dollar for their schools, they shouldn't expect another county to do so for them. Of course, this argument is misleading. It's not that taxpayers in poor areas are not willing to pay for schools; it's that they just don't have the money that rich suburban taxpayers do. This is especially true when schools in one county are significantly poorer than in another. Good schools are a high priority now more than ever. Affluent people know education is the key to continued success and poor people see it as a way to climb out of poverty. Competition for school funding is also at an all-time high. Poor schools know they need the money but find the richer schools unwilling to sacrifice their own funding. As David Heath of the well-funded Williamson County School District said, "If someone gives it to you, what incentive is there for you to find ways to increase your local effort? If you always provide the benefits without asking the person to help themselves, then that makes it hard to break” (Klausnitzer, 2004). Unfortunately, this line of thinking...
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