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Cutting school 'extras' will harm students

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, February 29, 2004

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, "If you are planning for a year, sow rice, if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people."

Schools statewide are facing huge budget shortfalls, which, if realized, will have a drastic impact on our ability to educate our children. Proposed cuts will affect class size, and slash vital programs like elementary band and orchestra, reading and math tutoring, counseling, sports and other student activities.

While some of these programs might not seem necessary to a good public education, consider that all students do not arrive at school with the same readiness to learn. Some bring with them the detrimental effects of poverty or other negative life experiences.

Good, well-funded schools can be social equalizers. Music, tutoring, sports, the "extras" that are going to be cut without additional education funding, might be the difference between someone who stays in school and someone who drops out.

What is more precious than our children? They need access to a well-balanced public education system.

Linda Schandelmeier

Fairbanks



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