I just read the commentary by Dene Bustichi (“Yes, Dr. Silver, we do care about our schools,” Feb. 5), and I agree with most of his comments. I don’t have children, but I am a strong believer in public schools, which are the core of this diverse nation’s unity.
Unlike private or charter schools, which tend to have select student enrollment and curriculum, public schools are for everyone. This requires teachers with abilities to be able to teach to a wide range of student abilities. We will not find or retain good teachers if we don’t support these important members of our community.
Mr. Bustichi is correct in his comment, “New classrooms do not teach children, teachers do.” This made me reflect on my high school, a converted warehouse, and the irony — students were dropped off on the loading dock! The rooms and furnishings were spartan, but this had no effect on students or the teaching. Portable classrooms would have been a luxury. I think I got a good education — I made it to college. We are too concerned with structures, and not placing more emphasis on teachers. Don’t get me wrong, I want safe and adequate facilities, but teacher salaries should be our priority right now.
However, I take issue with the constant attempt to impose more taxes on our property. Mr. Bustichi has conveniently forgotten the reason for Proposition 13. Our property tax is loaded with too many added taxes, and another “small” tax is unacceptable; even if it is “targeted,” it all adds up! Most won’t understand this, but adding 2 percent to our income tax would probably bring in enough revenue (included with better management and efficiency by government), because we are paying more through increased sales tax, various public service fees and the ever-increasing parcel taxes.
It is depressing to see the overall state our country is in, but we have only ourselves to blame. We need to take responsibility and clean up our mess — do we have the fortitude to do so?