To the editor:

There is no substitute for knowledge: family, formal education and plain old life experiences. Each venue is essential and deserves equal attention. I have been a public school educator for 25 years. I have worked in both the general education and special education settings. I have seen and experienced much.

A consistent funding source has always been a roadblock to planning the next year. On a personal level, it is hard to manage finances without knowing what your income is. It is particularly difficult when planning funding and spending for thousands of students whose future depends on it. We need to stabilize funding for public school education, from pre-K through grade 12 that is well balanced between the metropolitan and rural schools.

We need diverse and affordable educational opportunities and career training. In the past I have organized Career Day which is always popular. Youth are anxious to “see” what is out there in order to contribute to our communities and become self-sufficient citizens. Future opportunities and direction for students need to be explored and capitalized on. I have watched promising students not pursue any future due to lack of programs and directions from schools and lack of family finances (money). We should work toward statewide public/private partnership programs that allow high school students to apprentice with carpenters, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, manufacturing plants and other critical skill professionals. We need reasonable loans to students attending college and trade schools. These loans should be paid back in full but these loans do not need to be the profit-making usury schemes for the federal government. All this will ensure students can embark on a great career immediately after graduation.

We should focus on knowledge and learning. The money spent to further education will help us in the long run. By educating and training our youth, we ensure a state of residents that strengthens our community.

Elizabeth Brandt


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