This is an excerpt from the PTOC (Parent Teacher Organization Council) questionnaire as filled out by West Chester borough resident Joyce Chester, one of the 4 candidates of the bipartisan A Better Direction team.
The purpose of public education is to enable equal access to education for each and every child in a community – education that introduces information to teach and transform their individual potential, encouraging them to grow into successful adulthood. Having traveled to second and third world countries where public education does not exist, I can clearly see the awesome value of using this mechanism to ensure that education is not only made available but is required. This is so important, ensuring the availability of a competitive workforce, not only regionally but nationally and indeed internationally.
Education is a leveling force and making it accessible to the public helps to reinforce our strength as a country not only for today but for our future as well.
I believe that public education should be considered an investment into our communities. To fund and sustain our public school system we need to pay taxes as individuals and corporations. This not to say we should pay more or less than we’re currently paying. We should as taxpayers, however, be mindful and vocal about what our current tax dollars support. More prisons make much less sense than more educational facilities. Educational concerns that do not produce appropriate outcomes make less sense than supporting those that do. Not supporting our public education system is a safety hazard to any community.
Those who cannot afford to pay for private or parochial education depend on this system for increased knowledge, awareness, productiveness, etc. Where knowledge reigns, hopelessness and helplessness is displaced. This should be our focus for every community in this country….
For the rest of Joyce’s thoughts, see the interview here. See the other 7 interviews here. The other 3 Better Direction candidates are Kaliner, McCune, and Swalm.
Excerpt from Robin Kaliner’s statement
My first priority as a WCASD School Board Director is to return transparency and open dialogue to board meetings. A public school board should welcome input from its stakeholders, not try to limit and discourage it. Board and committee meetings should be exchanges of ideas and information, not procedural events where members simply go through the motions in order to fulfill their legal duties. I believe that respectful disagreement and the exchange of dichotomous ideas often results in a better solution. Sitting board members have stated that the current homogeneous nature of the board is an asset, but there is a reason that a board is comprised of 9 individuals and if all members have the same ideology you are doing a disservice to your diverse student body and community.
Excerpt from Chris McCune’s statement
…Public education is a collective community effort where we all benefit either directly or indirectly (property values). There are more constituents that benefit indirectly from the public school district in any given year. There are two keys to maintaining healthy relations with all constituents. Those keys are proactive communications with regular feedback opportunities and simply being a good listener when issues arise.
Excerpt from Ricky Swalm’s statement
…One of the major differences between America and the rest of the world is our education system. While the press loves to demonize our world rankings, they fail to compare apples to apples. In America, everyone is entitled to an education regardless of socioeconomic status or ability to pay. Public education is the great equalizer. If children and families want to escape poverty and improve one’s lot in life, public education is the ticket. I am living proof of that. I grew up in a trailer in my grandmother’s back yard with two sisters and a mother (no father) who worked piece-meal in a sewing factory. She believed in her children going to school and doing well in school and while she wasn’t much help when it came to knowing our school work, she encouraged us and challenged us to be better than she. I now have my Ph.D. and believe I have escaped the poverty we lived in all because of public education.