In a March 19 op-ed supporting expanding access to private education options, Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, makes the underlying assumption that “the traditional K-12 system was designed to serve those who could afford to move to the best neighborhoods, leaving generations of students in lower-income areas stuck in schools that failed to meet their needs.”
Really? The initial intent of our school system was to foster economic and class competition among neighborhoods and intentionally leave behind young citizens?
The West Virginia Constitution obligates the Legislature to provide for a “thorough and efficient system of free schools.” Our schools began as community schools, often offering only grades one through eight, which served all in the community.
To the extent that we now experience lower-income areas with failing schools is the result not of “schools that failed to meet their needs” but of legislators who failed to promulgate economic and educational policies that would address the needs of the community rather than of the privileged and the “best neighborhoods.”
Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary