In defending budget cuts to public education, some always posit that more money will not fix the problem. Well, that may be true if more money is tried as a solution by itself. For more money to work, strings have to attached. One of those strings is that with higher pay comes higher expectations.
However, there is another factor to consider. Less pay, and less money for today’s electronic teaching aids, can certainly exacerbate the problem.
Parental involvement is an important element in motivating children to achieve educationally, but it is not, in my view, more important than a good teacher. How many parents spend six hours a day with school-age children?
Good, dedicated teachers can have enormous influence in changing lives for the better. It happens over and over, and it happened with me. Going to school did not thrill me at all until the legendary Bob Barr took over the Jordan High band. He really knew how to motivate kids. Not only did he motivate me, but he helped me get started in my broadcasting career. When he found out that was what I wanted to do, he connected me with the late Ed Snyder, then an announcer at WDAK, who mentored me and helped me get my first job in broadcasting.
George Corradino, who headed up the Muscogee County School District’s music program for years, did the same thing when he was the band director at Columbus High for my late nephew Jack Gibson. My sister Betty told me that Jack was about ready to drop out of school until George came along. Not only did Jack excel at percussion in the CHS band, his grades improved in all his subjects, and, inspired by George, he went on to become a school band director himself. He ended up getting his PhD and becoming Vice President of Development at Kennesaw State University, which was what he was doing when cancer took him away from us. I run into people all the time who have similar stories.
When I see state legislators and governors slashing public education budgets year after year after year, it tells me we need a big change at the Georgia State Capitol. Education is essential to the future of Georgia’s citizens. Something has to be done. We need lawmakers who don’t just say they support education, but show it with their actions.